• Written by Alvaro de Salvo
    3 August 2017

At the end of this month, Akvo lands in Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW). From Sunday 27 August to Friday 1 September, you can find us at stand 23 on the 2nd floor of the main exhibition hall. 

This year will be Akvo’s eleventh (#Akvo11) year at this global event. Since our start back in 2006, we’ve grown to a team of over 90 people, providing tools and services in five different regions. Along the way we saw first hand how monitoring using mobile technology – once a novelty- became a more institutionalised practice within many organisations and governments. From where we stand today, it seems to us that our next big challenge will be around building people’s data skills and coordinating interdisciplinary teams in ways to ensure that collected data is now transformed, analysed and put to use for positive change, at a local level. This brings lots of challenges, opportunities and also some big questions to answer, rather quickly. We are eager to connect with you in Stockholm. Here’s an overview of some things we’ll be showing this year, some events you might want to attend and which of us you can meet during the week.

What are we showing this year?

Launching Akvo Lumen – our new data analysis, transformation, visualisation and publishing tool designed for and by international development professionals. It’s built to help people in NGOs and national governments to bridge the gap between data collection and better outcomes and impact. You may have caught a preview of Lumen last year. This year you can explore the live product which has developed a lot in the intervening months.  Join us on Monday 28 August at the Akvo Lumen launch event, stop by the Akvo stand for a demo, or fix up a meeting if you are interested in learning more

Showcasing the Akvo suite – With Lumen now in place, we have a set of well integrated internet and mobile tools and services to support you all the way from collecting high quality data to making decisions. For years we’ve been focussing our training, support, and consulting services on challenges around programme design, monitoring and evaluation, open data sharing, survey and sample design, data research, analysis and soon data science, enabling you to quickly harness the power of these state of the art tools and knowledge in your daily work.

Water quality tests with Akvo Caddisfly –  Caddisfly is our simple, low cost, open source, smartphone-based water quality testing system which is connected to an online data platform. It generated a huge amount of interest at last year’s event when we previewed the prototype fluoride test, electrical conductivity sensor and test strip kits. Since then we’ve evolved a new strategy which focuses on combining existing and proven hardware with our data platform, rather than focusing on developing our own hardware. By doing this we can easily and rapidly expand the selection of parameters Caddisfly can test for. To date, we have connected an existing photometer to Akvo Caddisfly. This covers a whole array of accurate colorimetric tests for drinking water, wastewater and agriculture. We have also connected an innovative E. coli test that provides test results in line with the WHO guidelines for E. coli risk categories. Drop by our booth for a demo, or fix up a meeting.

Presenting the data water portals – In West Africa we have developed several water data portals for governments in Benin, Ghana, Mali, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These contain water points and WASH data from national mapping programmes. In each case, the data is collected with Akvo Flow and visualised and shared on an Akvo Site. Through interactive tables, charts and maps, data can be analysed and filtered for multiple purposes, like getting information about water point functionality, availability and service levels at different administrational levels. A great example of the effect of sharing data openly online is the Sierra Leone WASH data portal. Because the Sierra Leone government published the RAW waterpoint data, they got help from several ‘unexpected’ institutions like WPDX, University of North Carolina and Inter Aide in Sierra Leone who helped them analyse the data to answer questions that can lead to improved water facilities around the country.

Above: how Akvo will contribute to solve the challenges ahead.

Join us at these sessions

Sunday 27 August | 11.00-12.30 | Room: FH 202
Citizen observatories empowering people in integrated water and waste management  This interactive event will explore the opportunities of citizen observatories to foster an integrated management of water supplies and waste streams. Participants and practitioners from private and public sectors, academia and NGOs will share hands on experiences with novel approaches developed in a range of local, European and global programmes.

Monday 28 August  | 4:30-5:15 | Stand 23
Akvo Lumen launch  – A chance to mingle, have a coffee and see our new data platform in action. Set up a meeting or confirm your attendance at the launch here.

Tuesday 29 August11.00-12.30 | Room: FH 300
From data to decision: monitoring water quality at scale  – At this interactive session, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and Akvo will share their joint experiences of monitoring water quality as per SDG 6 and how to do this at scale. We will explore the opportunities of new technologies and innovations in the field of data collection, water quality testing and real time monitoring of SDGs.

Who’s going?

Akvo’s eleventh SWWW will be brought to you by these people at the Akvo stand 23. The plan consists of putting our best skills in place to meet different people and quickly understand why they are there and what problems they are trying to solve, to see if we can be of any help.

Thomas (Akvo STOCKHOLM) –  One of Akvo’s co-founders. A visionary systems architect and designer with both a software and environmental science background. He can walk you through what we aim for as an organisation, and how our set of tools and training, support and consultancy services work together to tackle specific problems in international development. He’s @bjelkeman on Twitter.

Bert (Akvo AMSTERDAM) – Our senior adviser for external relations. He has over twenty years’ experience in operational management and the provision of technical assistance and policy advice in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe in the area of water and sanitation. His experience spans regional development banks, development foundations, the UN, and donor country agencies. 

*Jeroen (Akvo AMSTERDAM) – Jeroen is responsible for developing and maintaining Akvo’s relationships with all types of partner organisations, with a particular focus on Europe and Africa. He ignited the Akvo phenomenon after meeting Thomas Bjelkeman at Stockholm World Water Week in summer 2006 and has steered Akvo’s evolution to ensure it is relevant to, and supported by, a wide range of implementation NGOs, funding partners and global institutions. He is @jeroenvds on Twitter. 

Rianne (Akvo MALI) – This is Rianne’s Stockholm World Water Week debut. She works at the Direction Nationale de l’Hydraulique, currently helping implement a water quality monitoring network for Integrated Water Resources Management in the Niger river.  She works on water quality related projects featuring Akvo Caddisfly, which she’ll be demoing on the stand. She’s @CEvanDorp on Twitter. 

Machteld (Akvo AMSTERDAM) – She is a project manager in the West Africa team. She manages multi-annual, multi-country programmes and is responsible for several partnerships. Machteld has expertise in environmental and climate issues, integrated water management and water & agriculture. 

Alvaro (Akvo AMSTERDAM)  Alvaro is responsible for marketing and communications and has a great deal of experience in communications at decentralised non-profits. He won the International Film Award at Stockholm 2015. He’ll coordinate how we interact and follow up with people at the event and will capture and share the experience via various channels. He’s @aj_desalvo on Twitter.

The extended Stockholm team – Like every year, our work on the stand will be supported by people like Anke, Lars, Gabriel, Lynn and Stellan from the Akvo Stockholm office. They’ll be dropping by the booth every now and then to say hi, and will also help stage some side events we are involved in.

Alvaro de Salvo is Head of Marketing and Communications and international award winning filmmaker at Stockholm World Water Week 2015. He is based in Amsterdam and you can follow him on Twitter @aj_desalvo.

*Updated 15 August. Changes in cast: Jeroen van der Sommen will be replacing Peter van der Linde in the role of business development and partner’s relationships. 

Not attending: Peter (Akvo AMSTERDAM) – Another co-founder and former regional director of Akvo South East Asia and Pacific. Along Akvo’s history, he has directed partner relationships and is currently responsible for growing and developing Akvo’s regional and global partnerships from Amsterdam. This will be Peter’s comeback to Stockholm since 2012. He’ s @petervdl on Twitter.



Alvaro de Salvo was Comms executive, Marketing Manager, Head of Marketing and Communications, and a member of the Management team at Akvo. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.