Above: Wall painting. Artist unknown. Jalan Kesari, Denpasar
It has been about six weeks since I left Akvo’s office in Amsterdam to focus more efforts on Asia, and I thought it was a good time to share a brief overview of what I’ve been up to so far.
I’m now based in Indonesia, hosted by ICCO in their office in Denpasar, which is also my departure point for my trips to Jakarta. The office is a 30 minute ‘push-bike ride’ from the apartment we rented, which is just about do-able for a Dutch guy in the morning (or just crazy, as Aulia calls it…).
In my second week here, Frodo and Amit came over from Singapore and Delhi respectively, to meet with Aulia and me for a team session about our strategy for the South East Asian region. We already have a four person team in India, our hub for supporting activities in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. With Frodo’s recent move to Singapore, and Aulia and myself now in Indonesia it makes sense to look at how to best get organised, transition work and look proactively at new partnerships and opportunities in the region. This covers the South East Asian mainland, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. It’s a great new challenge.
Below: First Akvo South East Asia meeting. Denpasar, Indonesia. 16 April 2014. Late evening Skype calls with Europe. Photo credit: Sascha Huijsman.
While I’ve spent time in the ICCO office to get to know their team and their work in the region, Aulia has spent time in Java and Sumatra to train local partners to map the food security status of farmers. We’re now looking at ways to scale these efforts and manage a food security mapping exercise covering 25,000 farmers, in cooperation with the government. Aulia has kickstarted a partnership with WWF, who are now using our tools to collect data on bycatch in the fishery sector, and to map the nesting sites of sea turtles across Indonesia – so they can be better protected (a favorite of ours…).
Akvo is also still supporting Cardno, who have now collected data from over 120,000 households in the eastern parts of Indonesia. An implementation at such a scale teaches us new lessons that we can learn from globally.
I’m particularly happy that I can now also share the news that we have come to a new agreement with UNICEF, as of last week, to introduce mobile-based monitoring of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services on Vanuatu in the Pacific. The first training will take place in June, and that will also be a great start to looking at opportunties in the greater pacific region. Amit and Aulia will no doubt share more news about this programme next month.
Last week I was pretty occupied working with Jeroen and Kathelyne on re-submitting a public-private partnership (PPP) proposal to DGIS. And this week I’m in Jakarta with Aulia to meet new partners all week. Getting around town in Jakarta is tough, so it’s going to be quite a logistical challenge again, without a doubt. Next week I’ll be back in Denpasar for a few days, than off to Surabaya and Singapore to meet up with Frodo and participate in the Singapore Water Week.
It’s a busy time, but I will share more news soon.
Peter van der Linde is a co-founder and regional director of Akvo.