The second edition of the Akvo Track Day included an interactive program with a podium for our partners, workshops and an Akvo FLOW demo.

The great thing about technology is that it allows us to be connected, no matter where we are in the world. If you weren’t able to join us in Amsterdam, we were live streaming the plenary sessions.  And if you missed the live stream, you can still catch up on the highlights of the sessions here.

We kicked off with an introduction from Peter van der Linde, who provided an overview on Akvo partnerships.  Following that, Adrian filled us in on new Akvo RSR feature releases including the product roadmap, and I presented the new support materials.

To give some additional perspective on our work, we invited guest speakers to cover a range of topics.

Euan Semple, author of ‘Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do’, told us about the importance of not talking on behalf of your organisation but from the personal point of view of the employee.  As participant Adam Jagich of CommonSites said in his blog, “He gave us all a lesson in what’s so ‘social’ about social media and how it can be used to effectively communicate in the modern world.”

View Euan’s full presentation here:

From Manuel Salazar we learned how Mars Chocolate plans to use only certified, sustainable cocoa in all their products by 2020, which involves working closely with cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast, one of the largest cocoa producing countries. Mars is piloting Akvo tools in Ivory Coast and used Akvo FLOW to map their cocoa farmers and Akvo RSR to introduce them and tell their stories.

Click below for Manuel’s presentation:

Jura Khrapunov from UNDP shared how UNDP is working with their open data portal, which mainly focusses on financial data. The financial data does not necessarily show what UNDP actually does so they have been working with Akvo RSR for some time to share details on their projects and the real impact of their work. They also shared a critique, which we at Akvo are only happy to hear so we can see how we can improve Akvo RSR.

Click below to view Jura’s presentation:

Abdul Hafiz Koroma from the Ministry of Public Works in Liberia enlightened us on how the Liberian government used Akvo FLOW to map 10,000 water points in the country, as well as the challenges a project of this magnitude brings.  Some of these include smartphone battery life, brightness of touch screens and data transmission difficulties if mobile coverage is not universal or expensive especially in rural areas.

To view Mr. Abdul’s presentation, click below:

In the afternoon, we held break-out workshops where we discussed topics like open data, product roadmaps, communications and partner feedback on Akvo tools in more depth.

Just before rounding out the day with drinks, we had a hands-on do-it-yourself Akvo FLOW experience where we split our track day participants into four groups and let them loose in Amsterdam with a smartphone and the Akvo phone app which had been pre-loaded with a special track day questionnaire.

Luckily it was a beautiful and sunny autumn day as the participants navigated their way through Amsterdam with a route and an assignment – to map at least one, and a maximum of five of the following: an animal, a red bike, a house with shutters, a year plaque on a house, a coat of arms of Amsterdam, the price of a beer, a clock, a mailbox and a tour boat.

The map lead them through downtown Amsterdam, from our Amsterdam headquarters to the Westermarkt, to the Waterlooplein and back to our office where drinks awaited them. Many points were mapped along the way. To check out all of the fun and quirky items we mapped, click here, select the Netherlands and navigate to Amsterdam to find the results of this track day.

Kathelyne van den Berg is Akvo’s programme manager.