We’ve just published our 2009 annual report. It’s in pdf format, and you can download and view or print it here.

Read on, for an extract, covering “What Akvo did in 2009”. To make it more interactive, I’ve added links to relevant blog posts, so you can learn more about each step.

Akvo opened 2009 by releasing its source code for the first time. This was an important milestone – as an open source foundation a central goal is to make what we create – the software code – available under an open license to others, so they can build on, adapt and feed improvements back to the central code repository. At the same time we moved into the new International Water House in The Hague, leaving our previous home at the UNESCO-IHE campus in Delft.

During spring, we began charging customers who use Akvo tools, adding many new features at the same time. Partners could add their own projects online, more easily solicit donations and embed ‘widgets’ – a way to easily serve project information dynamically across many different websites at the same time, with minimal effort. We also got involved with our first Twestival event – sealing our hard- earned place at the forefront of innovation in the use of social media in the water and sanitation sector.

In March the prestigious World Water Council invited us to showcase our work in its pavilion at World Water Forum 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey. We hosted an event titled “Thinking outside the water box”, which brought together leading technology innovators such as Google and IBM alongside a new wave of pioneers such as Africa Interactive and charity:water. Late that month, 18,000 Dutch school- children participated in Walking for Water, raising over a million Euro for water projects, some of which were visible online for the first time because of Akvo.

In May, we were in New York City, announcing a new strategic partnership with the global campaigning team at Live Earth. This was a major break into the US market, and meant we could refine our product for the needs of our first global sponsor partner.

In June we announced a strategic partnership with Rabobank, to provide Akvo with a €500,000 soft loan, unlocking further grant funds. The deal promised wider collaboration, opening the way to connect Akvo’s aspirations with Rabobank’s roots in helping develop the livelihoods of the rural poor.

During summer we extended our work with product and events teams. Our second year supporting bottled water company Earth Water raised money from people going to the toilet at the De Parade festival, to fund water projects profiled through Akvo. For our fourth summer at Stockholm World Water Week, we developed a dazzling new concept to front our presence. In close partnership with SIWI and IRC, our Stockholm World Water Cube in August was a sensation, putting the power of online video onto the congress floor, and capturing and posting online over 100 video interviews from the event.

Throughout the summer we helped Live Earth’s Los Angeles- based team assemble a wide range of project partners that could run water and sanitation projects for a new, still secret, campaign. In October the wraps finally came off the Dow Live Earth Run for Water, an ambitious series of runs and concerts scheduled for April 2010 and intended to raise awareness about the global water crisis. At the same moment, all the projects to be supported went live online, through a dedicated website powered by Akvo.

Our partnership with Live Earth included a significant knowledge-sharing component and we began publishing regular insight articles on the various kinds of technologies and techniques that can lead to rapid introduction of better water and sanitation infrastructure. Our team saw at first-hand the work of the pioneering EMAS college in rural Bolivia and Live Earth helped us promote these best practice insights to
a wider global audience.

In November we concluded several months of negotiations to enter two key consortia in the MFSII process that will allocate several billion Euro of Dutch development aid during the five years from 2011. In both groups Akvo has been welcomed as the member that can drive the introduction of internet and mobile phone technology to accelerate poverty reduction and help taxpayers see where their aid has gone.

The full annual report can be found here.