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Peter and I are in New York City this week meeting with a range of people and organisations who are interested in understanding more about Akvo and how our partners use our tools. It’s already proving intensive and interesting.

Monday was Columbus day here in the states, which gave us some time to get into the US rhythm. In the afternoon we met with Ahava Zarembski of the Yesod Strategic Consulting Group. Ahava specialises in US stakeholder engagement and has a really interesting network. She would like to help introduce us to new US foundations and organisations.

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Ahava Zarembski and Peter van der Linde. New York. Monday 10th October 2011.

Our first full day of meetings started with the Foundation Center, which is managing a database of 20,000 US foundation grants details. Jeffrey, Laurence, Jake and Seema shared their new online database of water and sanitation (WASH) funders: www.washfunders.org. This is really impressive and Akvo.org is nicely positioned. Of course this is just the beginning and soon the dialogue turned to collaboration about sharing and making the most of each other’s data and partnerships. The approach so far is different but very complementary. Akvo’s approach is really from the field bottom-up, and Washfunders approach is to start with opening up financial data, to improve coordination between funders.

The afternoon we spent at the UN plaza 1 and 3, meeting UNICEF and UNDP. On the 11th floor Paul and Edward of UNICEF WASH welcomed us and we had a really constructive meeting. We focused on the opportunity to really get a transparency movement started, that has structure and balance. The idea is on the table to find a UN programme that has the right mind-set to start using Akvo’s services. Mozambique might to be a logical fit.

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Peter van der Linde demos Akvo to an audience at UNDP. New York City. Tuesday 11 October 2011.

Just across the street at UN Plaza 1, Akvo was asked to give a follow up to Peter’s UNDP presentation in Bratislava two weeks ago. The meeting ended with an open question of “What will the world look like in ten years time?”

It’s food for thought as we head by train to Washington DC. Today we’re meeting with USAID and the World Bank, discussing developments in water and IT.

Frodo van Oostveen is a programme manager at Akvo.