Something which is useful to have, to understand the progress of an organisation, is a historical timeline. What happened when? We are putting a timeline permanently on the Akvo website, but I thought I would share this first cut with you.

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Pratap Nagar, Delhi. A field visit to urban slum by Akvo, hosted by FODRA and the local community leaders. Photo: Mark Charmer.

Akvo Timeline

In August 2006 the Akvo idea was conceived at Stockholm World Water Week, in a meeting between me and Jeroen van der Sommen, the managing director of Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP).

In September 2006 the Akvo project was initiated. The initial partners were Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), GreenOcean, UNESCO-IHE, IRC International Resource Centre for Water and Sanitation (IRC) and the Movement Design Bureau (MDB). NWP funded the initial work with €20,000.

In February 2007 a comprehensive business plan was completed, which was used to raise further funds and approach further partners. Writing the business plan also allowed us to flesh out many of the aspects of the idea which we hadn’t thought about initially.

In April 2007 Partners for Water and NWP each funded Akvo with about €100,000. These funds were used to build the Akvo prototype, raise more funds, identify pilot projects and find more partners. Which funded more or less the rest of progress in this timeline.

In August 2007 a prototype web site was completed. The Akvopedia is operational and we are working with partners to populate it with content.

The same month, Akvo was enthusiastically received a Stockholm World Water Week. Akvo was introduced to hundreds of people at, both at the Akvo stand and at the side event “Can a Wikipedia of Water quicken the pace of development?”. We were contacted by nearly 200 conference attendees who want to work with Akvo. Several organizations expressed interest in funding Akvo, including UN-Habitat. The paperwork is in progress. You can read about and listen to the conference event on the Akvo blog. The Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, The Prince of Orange, said during a personal briefing that the effort was “fantastic” and he invited Akvo to join him during the Royal state visit to India in October.

In September 2006, the Dutch development bank FMO expressed interest in funding Akvo in relation to their Water and Microfinance project “Flows – Filling the base of the pyramid”, which is a partnership project between FMO, Goodwell and Intellecap . The negotiations are still progressing.

Manju George, Intellecap

Manju George, Intellecap, who is working on the project “Flows – Filling the base of the pyramid”, a microfinance and water project which is a collaboration between FMO, Intellecap and Goodwell.

During the same month we spent time forging new connections on the US west coast. We met a range of people pioneering new social entrepreneurial ventures in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as WiserEarth and Kiva.org, and forged invaluable connections with potential technology partners who can collaborate in later project stages.

In October 2007 Akvo performed two field visits in India investigating potential pilot projects, one to a slum area of north-east Delhi and one to Kongarahalli, near Bangalore. The visits were facilitated by our Indian partner organizations FODRA and Arghyam. You can read more about the field visits on the Akvo blog. FODRA in cooperation with WASTE wants to use the Akvo matchmaking, reporting and monitoring system to raise money for water and sanitation installations for schools in Delhi. There are hundreds of schools that need it. Arghyam asked if they could use the Akvo SMS Reporting module in reporting from large rainwater harvesting projects in schools in Karnataka, India.

On 25 October 2007 Akvo attended the Water and Microfinance seminar in Delhi, which was part of the Dutch Royal state visit. You can read the Prince of Orange’s speech here. I was one of the coordinators on the subject “Information tools, Water and Microfinance”. Akvo was highlighted by the NWP Chairman, Arie Kraaijeveld, in his speech during the seminar.

On 27 October 2007 an interview with Akvo was published in the Dutch weekly magazine Vrij Nederlands. We have an English translation of the article.

During November and December 2007 Akvo has been discussing further funding and partnerships with partners such as: ICCO, SNS Bank, ASN Bank, SNV and Triodos Bank. The response has been very positive.

Thomas Bjelkeman is the founder of Akvo.

Edit: Correct amount for funding from NWP and PvW.