Last week, Kathelyne and I gave a workshop on Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) for the Dutch WASH Alliance (DWA) partners in Tamale, Ghana. This is part of the Dutch government’s MFS II international development funding programme for 2011-2016. In addition to WASH Alliance partners from eight organisations working on water, sanitation and hygiene projects around Tamale, we also hosted six participants from organisations representing Connect4Change.

This was my first field visit for Akvo. Before we went to Ghana, many things needed to be arranged. I’d like to thank Prosper Sapathy, country lead for ICCO, and especially Eric Chimsi, country coordinator, for helping with the arrangements. The Modern City Hotel “where life is beautiful” was chosen by Eric and proved ideal – we had all the facilities needed for the workshop, such as internet connectivity, a projector and sound system, and it was a serene environment where we could focus on making great progress.

At the workshop, participants learned how to edit and update the projects they are working on via the Akvo RSR platform. I also introduced them to Akvopedia, where they can find relevant information about water and hygiene and where they can share their knowledge with others. Kathelyne shared tips and tricks about creating video interviews, as another way of sharing updates. Everyone practiced interviewing each other with Flip Video cameras or their own digital cameras.

Here’s a playlist of the videos shot, on the WASH Alliance YouTube page, include some practice sessions. Why not click “Play all” and sit back with a coffee?

On day two, we held a short recap of what we had learned the day before and continued practicing making videos.

After lunch we went to visit the community in Yong Dakpeme, south from Tamale. They have been working with Intagrad (supported by ICCO) for more than a year, building a rain water harvesting tank, which you can see in the picture below, handwashing facilities and community toilets. The community members are very grateful for the support they receive.

In the video below, I talk with the headmaster.

Rain water harvesting tank, built with support from Intagrad

We got to meet the chief, at the Chief’s Palace. He didn’t know we were coming (otherwise I was told they would have slaughtered a goat or a chicken for us!). A group of women, the heads of the households, were gathered together and danced for us, which was really great to see.

At the end of day two we all had dinner together at the Rooftop Restaurant in Tamale. Norbert Apentibadek from ACDEP, one of the Connect4Change partners, gave a wonderful speech. He highlighted how much the participants learned during those two days and the workshop has proven that partners of both Consortia could work perfectly together and learn from each other, sharing their knowledge and best practice.

For me, and Kathelyne, it was a great experience. We look forward to seeing how the projects related to the Ghana WASH Alliance and Connect4Change develop from here.

Here you can find some photos from Kathelyne (via Flickr) and myself (via Picasa).

Laura Roverts is a project officer at Akvo, based in Amsterdam.