2013logo en 480 This is the week in the year when all of the myriad of organisations that focus on tackling water and sanitation issues, especially those that affect the world’s poorest, come together. The big focus is Friday – World Water Day – a UN-backed global event that aims to highlight the issues the world faces in relation to water. Since the earliest days of Akvo we’ve always done something connected to World Water Day. There was the unique matchmaking event in 2008 in Rotterdam that secured us our second stage funding. There was an epic week of Walking for Water in 2010 (here’s the blog before, and the blog after). And in 2011 Luuk and I led a WaterCube video studio at the lead event in Cape Town. This year Akvo is doing three things: Walking for Water Lissy wrote last week about our involvement once again this year with Walking for Water, led by Aqua for All. There’ll be more promotion around the walks this year, with a team of child ambassadors reaching out to the suits (politicians, NGO people, scientists, etc). It’s always really inspiring spending time with the kids and teachers involved, and I’m looking forward to seeing the whole concept brought to life even more. This is our fifth year of involvement in Walking for Water. WaterCouch.tv One of the ways I hope to bring everything to life myself is via the WaterCouch. This is our latest video collaboration with IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. It’s based on the popular WaterCube – we ran a Cube down in Cape Town two years ago when UN-Habitat hosted World Water Day’s lead event there. We had a brilliant time there – it was really successful. This time we’ve developed a leaner concept. It’s like the WaterCube but without the Cube. Instead, it’s a Couch and a Curtain. We do the same short 3 minute video interviews using mobile phones and simple video cameras, edit them on the spot and push them online. I’m hoping we can really get to grips with the people and issues at play in 2013. The WaterCouch will be live for two days – on Thursday 21st, we’re on the floor at a major event that aims discuss what comes next after the Millennium Development Goals (so after 2015), at the Peace Palace in the Hague. And then on Friday 22nd, we’re at the World Forum in the Hague, for the international celebration of World Water Day. We’ll be going live from Thursday at www.watercouch.tv and I’ll blog more about how the whole thing looks and works later this week. I’m excited about being reunited with IRC’s Petra Brussée, who did such great work in Cape Town with us, along with Dick de Jong and Vera de Grift of IRC. There’ll be a variety of staff from Akvo working as reporters over the two days, including Charlotte Soedjak, Lissy van Noort and Josje Spierings, along with special guest star Madelief Oosterink. Meanwhile, here’s the PR copy if you need it for anything:
WaterCouch.tv This month, the first WaterCouch lands at the 2013 World Water Day celebrations in the Netherlands. This is the latest concept from Akvo and IRC, the team behind the popular Stockholm World Water Cube, which has brought online more than 500 interviews with people working to solve the world’s water and sanitation problems. WaterCouch is a video interview spot that’s open to all. It’s designed to bring to life over the web the people and issues at stake, sharing insights and engaging a new, more connected generation. The dynamic, independent team of video reporters uses simple video cameras or mobile phones to profile the people attending. Each rapid-fire interview is edited and shared online right away, and is easy to feature on any website. The WaterCouch is a joint venture between Akvo, IRC and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Watch content throughout the event at www.watercouch.tv
Akvopedia Finance Portal We will be launching a new finance portal that has been developed with IRC. More on that in an upcoming blog. We’re aiming to keep in contact with other World Water Day events around the world and I’m grateful for the interest shown by Anna Norén and the social media team at the United Nations. We hope to generate nice content that they can share with others across their network. Mark Charmer is co-founder and communications director at Akvo.