I remember when I just started working for Akvo, I was in the Amsterdam office with Peter, Kathelyne, Luuk and Mark Westra. Once or twice a week someone asked, “Have you seen we’ve got a new update on our homepage?” Meaning that one of our partner organisations posted an update to one of the few projects then hosted on Akvo RSR. Now, almost four years later, the amount of RSR projects and updates has increased enormously to well over 10,000, with projects valued at over €1.4 billion in total featuring on the platform, compared to €12 million at the end of 2011.

New lighter way to upload and edit projects

However, until now, in order to get a project online, a partner needed to complete a PDF form and send it back to Akvo. We then manually copied and pasted all the information to the backend of the RSR platform. Four years ago, this was actually doable, because our network was a lot smaller than it is now. But over time the process has become really time consuming and actually is out-of-date. (The RSR API already allows organisations to connect RSR to their own information systems and upload large numbers of projects to RSR that way, but this only helps when the information is already stored digitally somewhere.) 

Therefore we have been working on a new project editor, launching today, which can be found when you log into MyRSR. Depending on your user role, the project editor allows you to add, edit and/or publish project information directly, without the need to fill in a PDF form and send it to Akvo. 

The project editor is divided into different sections and includes clear help texts that make it easier to fill in all the information. Each section has a progress bar that indicates if no information has been filled out yet (red), some progress has been made (orange) or if all mandatory fields have been filled out and the project can be published in Akvo RSR (green).

The new project editor also now makes it possible to complete project information according to IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative) requirements as publishing via the IATI standard is becoming more and more important to our partners.

Below you can find an explanatory video that runs you quickly through the project editor. It’s very easy to use, but if you need help, please email us.

We will keep improving Akvo RSR. A significant improvement that will be made in the next couple of months will be the visualisation of a results framework on each project page. This framework shows how an organisation or programme contributes to a specific goal. In the future, we will also make it possible to report on the indicators that are displayed in the framework, so that you can see progress and how this relates to the overall goal of the project. We will keep you updated on our plans and new features. 

Laura Roverts is project & product manager, based in Amsterdam. You can follow her on Twitter @lauraroverts.

(Edited 4 September 2015 to mention Akvo RSR API.)