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Akvo’s now incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation, called Stichting Akvo. It’s been a two year journey, but we passed the important milestone recently in a signing session in The Hague, Netherlands.

The new not-for-profit foundation was incorporated on 26 September 2008 and gives Akvo the autonomy everyone felt was needed to extend our partnerships, manage our base of grant funds, and begin to generate revenues from partner operations.

Initial board members are Jeroen van der Sommen and Fon Koemans. Fon brings to Akvo exceptional experience in financing water development programmes. Having studied law in Utrecht, he worked for ten years at ABN Bank, before becoming in 1981 a board member, and in 1991 chairman, of The Nederlandse Waterschapsbank N.V. (NWB or Dutch Bank for Water Boards). Today, he is also a member of the Task Force on Financing Water for All.

Photos: Above – Jeroen van der Sommen, chairman of the Akvo board (left) and Peter van der Linde, director of partnerships at Akvo (right), sign the documents incorporating Stitching Akvo. Below – Stichting Akvo incorporation documents.

We made the decision to set up a foundation because the approach has been highly successful for other international open source software projects, such as the Mozilla Foundation, Plone and the Wikimedia Foundation.

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Becoming an independent foundation is a significant step but we remain close to our initial incubating partners, the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and Partners for Water. This environment has been crucial in helping us develop our business plan, establish a core partner network, and achieve the crucial high-level support needed in international development. We’ll be moving along with NWP and our partner IRC to a new office in December in The Hague, directly across the road from the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

You’re all most welcome to visit us there when you’re passing through the Netherlands.

Mark Charmer is a co-founder of Akvo.