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Above: The Greener Side of Port-au-Prince. Photo credit: Kendra Terry.

I traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti with colleague Charlotte Soedjak to give an Akvo RSR training to a group of Cordaid staff, along with representatives from a few of their partner organizations. For those who were familiar with RSR, the presentation focused mostly on how to provide updates to already existing projects. Everyone who attended seemed excited to use the tool in a new way.

With Akvo RSR, partners can upload new projects with “static” information: a summary, background, project plan, goals, and sustainability.Once a project is given a dashboard – or has integrated RSR into their site, in the case of Cordaid – users can update projects with new information and progress. This way a given project is accompanied by a story, with information about activities, problems, solutions, needs, reactions and benefits.

* Training tip: preload any web pages you may use during the training in case of slow or no Internet connection.

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Above: Practicing video updates. Photo credit: Charlotte Soedjak

Cordaid is involved in many projects in Haiti across several topics – housing, health, agriculture, disaster risk reduction, and security and justice. The participants partnered up and many came prepared with some text and a photo to use for an update. They talked about rebuilding a school – Codrington College – that was damaged in the 2010 earthquake, reviving coffee growing in Haiti’s northeast neighborhood, and peacebuilding programs. In one project, Cordaid is developing agricultural value chains by planting beans and peanuts with improved seeds, better storage and processing facilities to increase income and food security.

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Above: Reconstruction in Villa Rosa. Photo credit: Kendra Terry.

People seemed empowered at the prospect of writing status updates. One participant added a photo and text update to show progress on a building that was being constructed to use as an open-air food market. As of now, many people line the streets outside the building selling candy and small food items. We walked through Villa Rosa, a neighborhood that Cordaid helped to rebuild after the earthquake in 2010. With its curvy side streets and tucked away enclaves it was bustling with families – children fetching water from a local pump and mothers braiding daughters’ hair. The families welcomed the Cordaid staff, smiling, and thus us too, traveling a few steps behind them.

Kendra Terry is a project manager for Akvo Foundation USA. She is based in New York City.