We in the comms team at Akvo wanted to share some information with our colleagues about how to write blogs for the new Akvo website (the formats have changed since we switched over to our new site), as well as our thoughts on writing blogs in general. And whenever we want to share information online so that it’s easy for colleagues to find, we generally head to the company blog.
At Akvo, our goal is to have as many people in the team as possible playing an active role in the organisation’s communications. This is in contrast to lots of places we’ve worked in the past – where only “spokespeople” would be allowed to have an external voice. Akvo has just over 40 staff, and of those 22 people have blogged. So more than 50%. We know some people would like to blog, but feel unsure how to do it or what to say and are maybe a little nervous to have their writing published. Read More »
From 15 to 19 November, ONE DROP staged its fourth international gathering on the theme of educational materials. The conference, called Think Tank for Change, was held in Suchitoto, El Salvador.
I first met some people from ONE DROP during an Akvo FLOW training workshop that Henry and I ran in Honduras for the Millennium Water Alliance earlier this year. We kept in touch and I was invited to this event because they were so enthusiastic about FLOW.
Read More »
Our mission to bring the people and issues involved in sorting out the world’s water and sanitation infrastructure takes another step this week. Myself and Luuk are running our fifth WaterCube.tv event.
Photo: UN-Habitat’s Taeko Yokota peers in as the fifth WaterCube takes shape. We go live on Wednesday morning. Hospital de Sant Pau complex. Barcelona, Tuesday 26 November 2013.
You’ll be able to watch our videos as we upload them, here.
This time we’re in Barcelona, at the GWOPA Global Congress. GWOPA is part of UN Habitat, the UN agency focused on improving human settlements.
Read More »
This week we’ve been nominated for De Partnership Verkiezing 2013, a Dutch government award. It’s based completely on a public internet vote.
We want you to vote for us. Below we’ll be adding comments from our team, over the coming days, explaining exactly why. And we’d love to get comments from others who admire our work and progress too. If you think we’re doing a great job, you can vote by clicking through to this link here selecting Akvo and pressing the vote button. It’s a Dutch site, but the rest of you will get the drift and press the right button too, I’m sure.
And for those of you who think we’re really amazing, ask your colleagues and friends to vote for us too. We really want to win. So come on, give us your vote.
We’ve been working on a whole lot of improvements and extensions to Akvopedia lately.
An all-new Sustainability portal
Akvopedia has for some years contained a large, detailed section on technologies related to water (226 article pages) and sanitation (57 article pages). From composting latrines to sand dam construction, and surface level rainwater harvesting tanks to activated sludge techniques, with new article pages being put up all the time. Add this to our Finance portal (28 article pages), and project implementation is a well-prepared plan.
However, with the addition of the new Sustainability Portal (52 article pages), a project’s long-term success can now get a helping hand. Built in cooperation with IRC, who have contributed their Triple-S building blocks framework, the portal follows the sustainability structure of the F.I.E.T.S. model (created by Dutch WASH Alliance), which covers financial, institutional, environmental, technological, and social sustainability considerations. It’s not enough to secure funding for a project and know how to build it – designing projects so water access can be sustained for many years is key. From reliable operation and maintenance to socially sustainable projects that a whole community can get behind – it’s all covered in the new portal. There are also lots of institutional decisions and methods that can make or break how successful a project might be, such as Transparency & Accountability or Monitoring. And let’s not forget the environment. When partners build and use new water and sanitation systems, we want them to be compatible with the environmental limitations and local resources to avoid waste problems or ecological damage down the line. We also include sustainable financing methods and set out why they matter.
Read More »
Sometimes it’s really annoying when you can’t be in a few places at once. This definitely came up last week, as I began following from London a very lively Twitter stream from the United Nations Development Programme aka UNDP’s #inno2013 event, in Montenegro. I’m not even sure if that’s its official name – but #inno2013 was a great hashtag to follow for a few days. The event was attended by my Twitter pal and expert on government innovation @dominiccampbell, along with numerous other people I follow through Twitter such as @gquaggiotto and @marclepage. So I got good insights as things unfurled.
Read More »
What is the difference between a mobile app and a toilet?
Not much actually. In the developing world, governments and international aid agencies are tripping over each other in order to provide toilets to the poor. Given that not all the poor are that keen on toilets, backyards are filling up with defunct ones from different donors.
Similarly, every donor agency is offering data collection apps to their implementing NGOs, who are at a loss trying to figure out what to do with this sudden influx. Their offices are now getting filled up with smartphones from different donors.
While donors rain toilets on the poor and apps on their hapless NGO partners, the latter are having a hard time. Unlike a toiletless poor household, they do not have the luxury of saying no, as their existence depends on keeping their donors happy. I recently got a call from one of our FLOW users in Nepal. He has been using FLOW and RSR for some time now. All of a sudden a donor supporting his organisation’s water projects in Nepal approached him. They too have come up with their “own” mobile data collection and management tool and want our friend to start using it.
Read More »
Red TIC Bolivia is a network of 25 organisations from around Bolivia who all use information and communications technology (known as “ICT”) for sustainable human development in the fields of education, governance, gender and agriculture. A member of the Connect4Change consortium, it aims to improve the lives of Bolivian people, reduce poverty and bridge the digital gap by promoting the embrace of computers, mobile phones and information systems to solve problems.
One of Red Tic Bolivia’s local partners is PROINPA, an organisation that aims to improve agricultural practices and food security by promoting the sustainable use of resources, competitiveness of agricultural products and ICT innovations.
Above and below: Gladys Mamani (left) and Arminda Cargas, agricultural promotors for Red TIC Bolivia affiliate PROINPA, in front of Arminda’s house in Romer Kota community, close to Lahuachaca, Bolivia.They have been trained to make and edit short videos detailing successful agricultural techniques and technical innovations which they show to local farmers in community cinemas as one in a range of teaching tools they use to spread information. Photo by Jaime Cisneros.
Knowledge exchange is actively encouraged by Red TIC Bolivia. Within the Connect4Change programme it is working to strengthen, integrate and expand the use of ICT to improve the flow of information about technological and commercial innovations to farmers. It uses Akvo RSR on its website in the form of Akvo Pages to share knowledge and content from its partners across its network and with other organisations.
Read More »
Above: Women getting water in the pipeline, Monrovia. Photo credit: Josje Spierings
From the 5 - 15 of October I gave my first Akvo FLOW field training. Working with my colleague Jeroen van der Sommen, we provided Akvo FLOW training to the Liberia WASH Consortium, and a refresher FLOW & RSR training to the Government of Liberia and its partner NGOs. For the latter we had great help from Abdul and Watara from the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Committee (NWSHPC), who will be taking over Akvo FLOW & RSR training in Liberia.
Read More »
Last week during a Football for Water (F4W) workshop that I attended in the Mozambique capital Maputo, we summarised one of the sessions very nicely: “Football for Water is a laboratory”. We constantly need to remind each other about the innovation and learning element of this ground-breaking programme. We’re not only developing a new approach for expansion within Mozambique (and Kenya & Ghana), but we’re also seeking to set an example for new funding and other countries as well.
Football for Water is bridging the worlds of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and football. It’s a new approach whereby water, sanitation and sports facilities are implemented in combination with educational activities involving football role models like former Mozambique national team player Tomás Inguane. The aim is to bring education about behavioral change among pupils at primary schools in Mozambique. Akvo is supporting the process of sharing information between F4W partners and countries by helping those involved to make frequent updates direct from the field (Manica region).
Read More »