Luuk Diphoorn, Akvo’s partner coordinator, opens the champagne. The Hague, 1 November 2010.

Akvo will help bring almost €100 million of development aid projects online between now and late 2015, following a massive allocation of Dutch government development aid yesterday.

Known as MFS II, this five year funding process has shaken up how civil society organisations channel Dutch development assistance to the poorest countries in the world. Dutch NGOs were asked to assemble into consortia and choose themes with a 2-stage evaluation process, which saw an initial 43 consortia reduced to just 19.

Akvo was part of two consortia – the WASH Alliance and Connect4Change – and both applications were successful. The WASH Alliance has been granted 51 million Euro for the period 2011 to 2015, and Connect4Change will receive 46 million Euro during the same period. Both consortia focus on exciting areas – WASH builds on our existing expertise in water, sanitation and hygiene and Connect4Change will help poor rural and urban communities harness IT and communications technologies to transform health, education and their local economies.

Both have ambitious goals to help lift a combined total of more than 5.5 million people out of poverty and are committed to bring into the open the impact of their work for all to see.

Akvo RSR – software as a service for NGOs
There’s fine detail to still work out but broadly Akvo will be funded for five years to operate and enhance Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) as an online service for each consortium and provide training and consultancy related to grassroots project reporting from field through to donor. I’m also anticipating that the Akvo Marketplace will make it much easier for private-sector funders, such as corporates and foundations, to get involved in funding many of the projects involved. The result should be that everyone – from the Dutch taxpayer to the corporate CSR chief – can see their impact online.

As a non-profit foundation with an entrepreneurial bias – a social enterprise – this deal is a major step for Akvo. It means we are now being paid to operate our system as a service on a large scale for NGOs. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of our original investors, having put more than €1 million behind the development of our online tools and network through the Schokland Fund. This fund was dedicated to accelerate implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, so it’s great to feel we’re moving to the next stage – doing just that.

For Akvo, these deals underpin our growth in the water sector – and a gradual extension into related areas, such as economic development, education and health.

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A happy moment during Akvo’s EVO-powered weekly team meeting – spread across four countries

WASH Alliance

The Dutch WASH Alliance (Simavi, ICCO, WASTE, AMREF, Rain, Akvo) aims to empower communities and realise sustainable water and sanitation solutions for two million people in 11 developing countries. Akvo’s activities in this consortium are focused on supporting the 132 local consortium partners to use our tools optimally. This includes providing training in internet and SMS reporting, helping local partners to use film as a reporting tool and stimulating knowledge-sharing through Akvopedia and other knowledge-sharing tools.

The WASH Alliance has been granted 51 million Euro for the period 2011 – 2015.

Connect4Change

Connect4Change (IICD, Cordaid, ICCO, Edukans, Text2Change, Akvo) aims to strengthen 136 partner organisations in Africa and South America through the sustainable use of information and communications technology in health, economic development and education programmes. Our share of the funding will be used to expand the current platform to include these new sectors, and to develop new software features.

The Connect4Change alliance has been granted 46 million Euro for the period 2011 – 2015.

We are all very excited about the new partnerships and the chance we’ll have to help those we work with bring projects to life in new ways.

You can read the government announcement here and here. It’s in Dutch, but it also reads pretty well if you put it through Google Translate, too.

Peter van der Linde is the partner – director of Akvo.