This is a guide for our support partners which outlines roles and responsibilities and what you need to know to use Akvo RSR and support your field partners to use it. We hope it helps you to get started with Akvo RSR.

  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and responsibilities of support partners
  3. Different types of RSR users
  4. Role of the RSR ‘organisation administrator’
  5. How to use the admin
  6. How to set up a partner site
  7. How to get more help
1. Introduction
Akvo is a non-profit foundation headquartered in the Netherlands. We build open source internet and mobile software which is used to make international development cooperation and aid activity more effective and transparent. We provide the software as a service to the vast majority of our partners, backed by a partner-support and training team.

Akvo RSR stands for Really Simple Reporting. It’s a web-based system that makes it easy for development aid teams to bring projects online and share progress with everyone involved and interested.

Akvo’s partner organisations have different roles. We have funding partners, field partners and support partners.

Our funding partners obtain and provide most of the money to carry out the projects featured in Akvo RSR.

Our field partners implement them, in collaboration with the local community.

Our support partners are organisations that assist field partners in different ways. If you are a support partner, this manual should help you in this role. back to top

2. Roles and responsibilities of support partners
Support partners can help field partners by providing knowledge, information, contacts and training as well as getting involved in implementing projects. They usually help with project planning and are responsible for approving plans before they’re rolled out. They also monitor progress and outcomes and often get involved in troubleshooting, as required. They need to be well-connected within their relevant field of activity.

Within Akvo RSR, support partners play an administrative role and are responsible for ensuring the tool is used effectively. Your responsibilities include:
  1. Proofing and quality checking project descriptions
  2. Ensuring project information is kept up to date and correct (active/needs funding/complete)
  3. Encouraging field partners to post updates about project progress
  4. Reading and checking partners’ updates
  5. Approving new RSR users from within your own organisation
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3. Different types of RSR users
An Akvo RSR user account is a personal account – you shouldn’t register an organisation as a user. If a colleague needs to make an update, he or she can easily sign up too. That way, updates can only come from identified individuals.

There are three different categories of RSR users, and each has different user accounts and associated rights. The three different categories of RSR users are:
  1. Update user – An update user account is the most basic type of account. It enables you to add updates to your organisation’s projects and to comment on any other project on the system, for example to ask a question or give encouragement or advice.
  2. Project editor – Project editors can do everything an update user can. In addition they are responsible for entering and maintaining project overviews and detailed project descriptions including budget information, sustainability plans, etc. It’s up to organisation administrators to decide who within their organisation is best placed to fulfil this role and how many are needed.
  3. Organisation administrator – Organisation administrators are the individuals with overall responsibility for their organisation’s work in RSR. They can do everything general update users and project editors can. In addition, they manage their organisation’s Akvo RSR account, assign user privileges to colleagues and activate new accounts. They act as the link and contact person between their organisation and Akvo. They’re also responsible for entering and maintaining the information about their organisation and projects in RSR.
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4. Role of the RSR ‘organisation administrator’
At least one person within a support partner organisation (generally only support partners require an RSR administrator account) should be an organisation administrator. There is no limit to the number of organisation administrators an organisation can have, but it’s not advisable to have more than two or three because they need to communicate with each other.

The organisation administrator’s roles and responsibilities include:

Maintaining project information on RSR – It’s the role of the organisation administrator to control the quality of information on RSR about the projects their organisation is involved in. This includes monitoring updates coming in from partners in the field and keeping project pages up to date when things such as the funding information or project status change.

There are five possible project statuses:
  • Needs funding: project still needs funding
  • Active: project currently being implemented
  • Completed: project has been completed
  • Cancelled: project will not be implemented
  • Archived: project can still be implemented, but is no longer viewable on
When a project receives sufficient funding the project status should be changed from Needs funding to Active. When a project is completed a final update should be posted and the project status set to Completed. – see also paragraph 5.4 for further information.

A project status can be changed to Archived when a partner no longer works with Akvo.

Adding new projects – As an administrator you can create new projects on Akvo RSR and add new projects to the list of those implemented by your organisation. If new projects involve partners that are not yet listed on RSR, they’ll need to complete our organisation form. We’ll then add them to the database so that you can link to them as a project partner. Once you’ve completed all the required fields for adding a new project, we’ll check and publish the project for you.

Activating new user accounts – Anyone within your organisation can create a user account. It’s the role of the organisation administrator to check and approve new accounts. The administrator needs to decide which account type each new user should have – either an update user or project editor account.

When you approve a new user account, an email is automatically sent to this person to let him/her know his/her account is enabled.

Example email Dear … Your Akvo RSR account has been enabled. This means that you can now post updates to projects which are associated with your organisation. Please read the short note about updates on the Akvo website: We have developed a manual on updates, which should help you in getting started. The manual is attached. Please use your Akvo RSR account as a personal account. If a colleague needs to make an update, he or she can easily sign up too. This is for accountability, so you understand who is actually making project updates. If you have any questions, please contact me or email Greetings, back to top

5. How to use the admin area of Akvo RSR 
Logging in 
Go to Scroll down to Admin and click Akvo RSR login.

Fill in your username and password.

You will now enter the back end or ‘admin area’ of the Akvo RSR system.

What can I do in the admin area?
  • Countries: you can set the countries in which your organisation operates. We use the ISO 3166 country list.
  • Organisations: organisation administrators can edit their own organisation’s details. Because we work with a trusted partner network, we like to keep track of the organisations that are added to RSR. Therefore you can’t add new organisations directly – you need to ask us to do that for you. After we’ve added an organisation, you can then add them as a partner to your project(s).
  • Partner sites: if your organisation has a partner site, you’ll be able to change its lay-out and other settings here.
  • User profiles: here you find the user profiles of everyone that has a user account for your organisation.
  • Projects: you can add new projects and edit existing ones.
How to add or edit a project 
Click on ‘Projects’ to see a list of all the projects related to your organisation.

To open a project for editing, simply click on the project ID – the number at the left side of each project.

To add a new project, click on ‘+Add’ on the Projects line of the Site administration page or ‘Add project’ in the top right hand corner of the Project listing page.

Tip: don’t forget to save by clicking ‘save and continue editing’ at the bottom of the page. General Information
Title (max 45 characters) and Subtitle (max 75 characters).

Project status: 
  • Needs funding: project still needs funding and hasn’t started yet.
  • Active: project is fully funded and currently being implemented.
  • Complete: project has been completed. Before the status is changed to ‘completed’ an update will need to be placed on the project page by a field or support partner explaining what has been achieved.
  • Cancelled: project will not be implemented. The support partner is responsible for communicating the decision to cancel a project. Before the status is changed to ‘cancelled’ they should post an update on the project page explaining why.
  • Archived: the project can still be implemented, but is no longer viewable on the Akvo system. The Support Partner is responsible for communicating the decision to archive a project. Before the status is changed to ‘archived’ they should post an update on the project page explaining why.
Language: the main language of the project.

Start date: the date your request is posted is filled in for you automatically when you create a project. When the project is completed, enter the Date complete here.


Summary of project plan: the summary should briefly explain why the project is being carried out, where it is taking place, who will benefit and/or participate, what it specifically hopes to achieve and how those specific goals will be accomplished (max 400 characters).

Background: relevant background information includes geographic, political, environmental, social and/or cultural issues (max 1000 characters).

Current status: description of the current phase of the project (max 600 characters).

Project plan: detailed information about the what, how, who and when of the project (unlimited characters).

Sustainability: plans for sustaining/maintaining results after implementation is complete (unlimited characters).


Overview of goals: what the project aims to accomplish (max 600 characters)

Goals: Give details of specific goals that fit within the overall project goals. Please note: do not confuse goals with measurable indicators. The goals of the project don’t need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-specific) – the indicators, however, do (max 100 characters per goal).


You can only add one photo here. Other photos can be added in project updates. Always include a caption.


Here you add the physical geographical location of your project. Click on the link to to get the latitude and longitude of your project location. This creates the point on the map that will appear on your project page. You can add more than one project location but make sure to mark one of them as the primary location by ticking the Primary location box.


Enter details of the funds allocated to different budget items. There are ten general budget items plus three ‘other’ items that you can customise (max 20 characters).

Project Focus

Categories: select the Categories that relate to your project. The Focus area(s) of each Category is/are shown in brackets after the Category name. NB: Categories are linked to Focus areas, Benchmarks (or indicators) are linked to categories. After you have selected a category and clicked on ‘save and continue editing’, the Benchmarks related to this category will appear underneath. You can select all the Benchmarks (indicators) relevant to your project.
Benchmarks: displayed as indicators on the project page. If you can’t find the right one, select a different category and focus area and click ‘save and continue’. New benchmarks will appear. (We are working on a more user friendly process).


Every project needs to have one support partner and at least one field partner. If an organisation has more than one role, you should add this organisation more than once to the project in different roles.

Support partner is an organisation with professional staff, working in multiple regions or countries on water and sanitation, health, education or economic development projects.

A Field partner is registered on Akvo RSR as an NGO or other type of organisation and has a support partner which approves and supports the implementation of its projects. The field partner has a local office in the region in which the project is implemented.

Funding partner is an organisation, company or institution that funds the project. Adding funding partners to a project makes it transparent where the project money comes from. A project can have more than one funding partner. Select a funding partner and fill in the funding amount.

Sponsor partner is an organisation that provides marketing support or exposure for projects. You shouldn’t add sponsor partners to projects.

Links: add links to any relevant external websites.

Additional Information

This is a space to add notes that are only visible within the Admin area of RSR. It can be used to identify missing information, specific contact details or status changes that you don’t want to be visible on your project page.

Tip: When you are done entering all the information you can do a final check by clicking “view on site” on the top right corner. back to top

6. Setting up a partner site
Using Akvo RSR partner sites, you can customise your project pages in your branding and colours, and embed them into your own website structure.  A partner site is a set of web pages that displays all projects on Akvo RSR that are being carried out by a particular organisation.

The landing page (such as https://akvo.akvoapp/org) shows a pre-built list view of all the organisation’s projects. This page can be used as the homepage for an organisation’s website, but more commonly it’s embedded as a ‘projects’ or ‘activities’ section within an existing site.

The look of the page can be modified using the available CSS (cascading style sheet) styling options, customising the visual experience so that there is no disconnection between the organisation’s website and the partner site add-on. To site visitors, the partner site appears to be part of the overall website.

All functionality provided by Akvo RSR is also accessible using partner sites. This includes donations, updates, comments and widgets.

Creating a Partner site requires some understanding of coding. If you need help to create your Partner site, or would like us to do it for you, please ask us. If you want to do it yourself, follow the steps below.

Go to the Admin area and click on Partner sites.

Now fill in the information in the form fields.

Hostname: your hostname is used in the default web address of your partner site and is required. The web address created from the hostname myorganisation would be: CNAME: enter a custom domain name for accessing the partner site, for example Note: You need to ask your web site technical support person, who manages your DNS records, to help you set this up. It is not an automatic process. Make sure you or your web site technical support person understands CNAME records before using this setting. Return URL: enter the full URL, including https:// for the page to which users should be returned when leaving the partner site. Clicking the logo at the top of the partner site, the courtesy back link or the organisation name in the breadcrumb trail will take the user to the URL entered here. If you don’t fill this in, the URL for your organisation in Akvo RSR will be used; if no URL has been set in RSR none of these items will be linked. This setting is optional but recommended.

Stylesheet: upload a CSS stylesheet for the partner site. (If you need help to do this, please ask us, we can do it for you.)

Organisation banner logo: Upload a logo file for the banner at the top of the partner site page. By default the logo currently used on your organisation page at will be displayed.

Favicon: upload a favicon ICO file. A favicon (.ico file) is the 16×16 pixel image shown inside the browser’s location bar, on tabs and in the bookmark menu. The file can also be in PNG format.

About box text: enter HTML-formatted text you want to appear in the top left box of the home page (500 characters.) Usually partners choose to upload an image (see below) instead of text. If text is required, it can be created as an image in a graphics programme and then uploaded.

About box image: upload a background image for the About box. The image must be exactly 470 pixels wide and 250 pixels tall (470px x 250px).

Enable the site by ticking the checkbox.

Save the settings. Your new partner site is ready and can be accessed at https://hostname.akvoapp. org
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8. How to get more help

More information about Akvo RSR and FAQs can be found at: