• Written by Winona Azure
    10 July 2015

In a bid to open up our water and sanitation (plus food security) wiki Akvopedia to many more people, we have begun loading content into Wikiversity. To share our content even further, expanding our type of users, we’re developing an app for mobile devices.

A good match
There are a number of reasons why Akvopedia and Wikiversity make a fine pair. With an average of six million page views per month (compared to Akvopedia’s 40,000), Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to sharing all kinds of educational resources. We like to think of Wikiversity and Akvopedia as containing ‘active knowledge’; knowledge that not only informs its readers, but leads and enables them to take action. Akvopedia shares a similar structure as Wikiversity in that it’s free to use service is designed to openly share information. However, Akvopedia also has a unique niche worth sharing. With its low cost, appropriate technologies and other essential project management information that was historically difficult to share and access, our more than 1,000 pages of ‘how-to-do’ water and sanitation approaches and projects will soon be available to Wikiversity users.  A survey of Akvopedia visitors last year showed that half use Akvopedia for academic research or teaching purposes, which aligns nicely with Wikiversity. 

Adding content
First, we’ll upload our Rainwater harvesting section, containing more than 40 article pages, to Wikiversity, since this topic is our most popular in Akvopedia and forms a comprehensive knowledge base on the subject. Next we’ll choose from our top 100 pages and continue from there, selecting groups of articles and topics that together provide coherent information packages. Our article pages will be published within several categories, such as Sustainability, Rainwater harvesting, and Water to better group our content. Ultimately, we would like to create a new Wikiversity portal on Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Each article we put on Wikiversity links through to the original content on Akvopedia. You can see the Rainwater harvesting content we’ve so far uploaded to Wikiversity here.

It would be wise to interlink our pages with other Sustainability pages (a rather large category) as well; this should give Akvopedia additional exposure throughout the site. Our goal is to enrich Wikiversity with highly focused, specialized content and ensure our valuable knowledge base reaches people who need it. We hope it will inspire students and project managers in their research and help educators and trainers in their instruction, whether in the classroom or the field.

Above: a rainwater harvesting reservoir in Nicaragua. Photo by Neil Palmer.

Akvopedia app
Currently 20% of Akvopedia users access the wiki via a mobile device. This will likely increase significantly in the next two or three years and beyond. In order to make Akvopedia easier to navigate and use on a mobile, we are developing an Akvopedia app based on the existing open source Wikipedia app made via PhoneGap, which is available in Android and iOS. Our app will allow users to easily navigate the portals and save favorite pages, making content more accessible and simplified. 

The Akvopedia app will be launched later this year. Its development is being supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) as part of our ongoing public private partnership (PPP) agreement.

Other developments to Akvopedia in the pipeline, also supported by DGIS, include a programme to translate its content into numerous languages and the expansion of existing partnerships and the creation of new ones with organisations looking to share their knowledge. We’ll be writing another blog about these developments shortly – watch this space!

Winona Azure is Akvopedia editor. You can follow her on Twitter @noniazure.