One of the activities of the Akvo partner team is training local field partners on how they can use the Akvo RSR tools. Last week it was my first Akvo RSR workshop in the field. Together with Ousseni Zongo of IICD, I went to Mali to give two workshops: one for local partners of the Connect4Change consortium and one for local partners of the WASH Alliance. My partner in crime, Romain Tohouri, helped me with giving the Akvo RSR workshop in French. I’d like to thank Romain for his hard work during this week and the great interactive presentations he held during both workshops, in name of Akvo.

Above: Participants receive the new Akvo RSR user manual. Photo credit: Lissy van Noort.

 Akvo RSR workshops are meant to train partners in using the Akvo RSR platform to bring their projects online. Once these projects are visible online, project partners should be able to update their projects with nice and informative updates. We try to make the Akvo RSR workshops interactive and very practical. The participants spend most of the time learning by doing -practicing Really Simple Video, editing their projects and making updates to their projects.

The first workshop we did was on 30 & 31 October 2012, for partners of the Connect4Change consortium. During these two days, we briefly presented what Akvo is about and our role in the Connect4Change consortium. The rest of the time, the participants spent interviewing each other by using a flipcam and practicing how to edit and update their online projects. You can view the video interviews they made here.

The second day ended with a short presentation about Akvo FLOW and bringing this knowledge into practice. We also conducted an evaluation of our new workshop style on a smartphone, using Akvo FLOW. Thanks to the two great facilitators of the workshop, Ousseni Zongo of IICD and Fousseyni Sanogo of Mali-ntic.org, the two days were very fruitful, looking back on all the project updates that came in afterwards.

 Practicing Akvo FLOW. Photo credit: Lissy van Noort.

Before the workshop for the Dutch WASH Alliance started on the 1st of November, the participants chose a so called “Chef du Village,” who took care of the rules they had set up together in order to let the workshop run smoothly. For example, if somebody’s phone rang, this person had to offer all other participants a box of chocolate. Unfortunately everybody took this rule to heart, so there was no chocolate for us! Besides this small disappointment, the workshop went really well and I appreciated the enthusiasm of all of the participants in order to understand Akvo RSR.

With special thanks to Bourama Traore, country coordinator Mali WASH Alliance, we were able to hold the workshop in the office of Helvetas where they provided us with a very fast internet connection. This made it possible for the participants to immediately edit and update their projects. Find the video interviews they made here.

This was the second time we gave these Akvo RSR workshops using our new style, following the first one Laura did in Nepal. Although the mother tongue of all of the participants was French, they were all very pleased with receiving the new (English) Akvo RSR manual and the training kit, including a USB key. It turned out that all of the participants were really eager to receive their self-made video interviews on their USB sticks, to train themselves. Great to see!

With many thanks to Romain, Ousseni, Bourama and Fousseyni, we managed to make the participants enthusiastic about the Akvo RSR tools and I can’t wait to see their project updates coming in.

You can find more photos of the workshops on my flickr.

 Lissy van Noort is a project officer at Akvo.