Akvopedia is entering the fall of 2013 with lots to look forward to. We have exciting projects lined up with UNICEF and SuSanA, in addition to the development of some new portals – a Decision Support Tools portal, a Mapping portal and a Monitoring & Evaluation portal are in the works. We have a lot of new functionality on the way: an Akvopedia mobile app (Android), more Akvo RSR link exchanges, new linkages with Akvo’s data mapping of FLOW, and a whole new layperson’s wiki editor called Visual Editor.
UNICEF and a Health & Hygiene Portal
Our team in India, Amit and Isha, have been meeting with members of UNICEF to partner with Akvopedia for a new Health & Hygiene Portal that will contain a prominent section on women and girls’ menstrual hygiene issues and the resulting methods of improvement in the sanitation field. All topics covered would include: diarrhea prevention, menstrual hygiene management, water quality, alongside basic communication approaches and tools. There is especially an interest in using an Akvopedia app to help field workers monitor conditions and access information when they need it most.
Photo credit: UNICEF, from Menstrual Hygiene Management for Schoolgirls in Pakistan
SuSanA and the 12 Working Groups
Another great project will be with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance’s 12 thematic working groups who discuss and problem-solve various sanitation topics like Climate & Energy, Emergencies, Food Security and Productive Sanitation Systems. The working groups serve as a highly collaborative and innovative “think tank” to share experiences within their topic, leading to creative discussions and solutions. However, none of their discussions have been logged in such a way as to make them available on a larger scale, until now! Akvopedia will host the working groups on our site and provide them with an easy editor, Visual Editor (coming soon to Akvopedia for everyone), so that any member of their group can create new Akvopedia pages within their group’s topic without needing any programming skills.
Photo credit: SuSanA, Application of urine in agriculture (demonstration event)
In addition to the Health & Hygiene portal, we have 3 more new portals lined up for 2014. Our Decision Support Tools portal will include: a Drinking Water Decision Support Tool (DWDST) for Dutch WASH Alliance (ready Q4), a Sanitation Decision Support Tool (will go live soon), a Community Choices Tool by the Pacific Institute (already available), and a Rainwater Harvesting tool from SamSamWater (already available), in addition to a Rainwater Harvesting Decision Support tool from RAIN Foundation (end of Q4). Another portal coming soon will be the Monitoring & Evaluation portal. This will contain methods and tools to concretely monitor all components of a project, such as WASH technology operations and maintenance, sustainability methods in a project (are they working?), and rain/drought patterns of a region. With geography determining so many factors in a water and sanitation project, we will develop a Mapping portal to house things such as water point maps, region resources by location, climate and terrain maps, and more.
Photo credit: SamSam Water, the Rainwater Harvesting Tool app for Android
Advancing our Functionality
At Akvopedia we realise how closely related innovation is with access to water and sanitation project information. This is why we have plans to develop an Akvopedia app in 2014. WASH project success is no longer only a “top down” process of capable organisations creating water systems and access for poor, rural communities… with smartphone technology, everyone who owns a smartphone can take part in the “bottom up” revolution and help themselves to WASH information online, and start today, to build and implement their own water and sanitation systems.
In addition to local rural peoples finding their own WASH information, they will also want to share what they already know with others. So in 2014, Akvopedia will change its editing platform to Visual Editor, the same platform Wikipedia has come to use recently, so that anyone who knows basic English (or French or Spanish) can contribute to our wiki. Arranging text, uploading videos and photos, building simple tables… it will all be as easy as clicking a button. With increased access to information and increased ease in sharing information, a broader more knowledgeable network will develop that will benefit everyone involved by enabling better quality WASH systems and more of them.