At Akvo we work together in different teams. One of these is the partnership team, of which I am part. We keep in contact with every organisation using Akvo tools such as RSR and FLOW, we talk to people who are interested in using them and we provide workshops to those who want to learn more about them. The development or ‘dev’ team consists of programmers, designers and product managers who create and maintain our tools. Ivan Perdomo is part of this team. Last week the two of us went to Peru to run two Akvo RSR workshops for several organisations which are part of the Connect4Change consortium. We knew it would be a tough week as we didn’t have a lot of time. We arrived in the capital city, Lima, on Sunday 17th of March. On Monday we prepared for our workshop and met Bénédicte Marcilly, country manager, Peru, at IICD. The first workshop with participants from four local organisations started on Tuesday. It was a small but dedicated group. We started by revising the projects that had been online already on Akvo RSR for quite some time. Since these projects were published, the platform has been developed and extended so that you can do more things with it, including showing multiple locations on a map, as in this project. Everybody had brought nice photos and some of the participants even had videos which could be added as updates to their projects immediately.
Photo above (by Laura Roverts): Nayruth from HoPe searching for a good project photo
On Wednesday morning we flew to Cusco. The views of the city and the Andes were absolutely spectacular, but at the same time descending was a bit nerve-wrecking as the airplane banked in between the high mountains on its final approach. Cusco’s elevation is around 3400m above sea-level. To avoid getting height sickness, we drank ‘té de coca’ – tea made from coca leaves. On Wednesday afternoon we started with the first half day of RSR training for partners of eight different organisations, to be continued on Thursday morning with the more interactive part: doing video interviews and partners explaining to the group why they had chosen to publish a particular update. As my colleagues Mark and Kathelyne had already outlined during a workshop in Bolivia in December 2011, videos should be ‘menos de tres minutos (less than 3 minutes). We practiced doing video interviews outside before finishing the training by explaining to everybody how to upload their videos as project updates. Of course I couldn’t leave Cusco without having ‘cuy’ (guinea-pig) for lunch, since this is a traditional dish for those living in the Andes. Thank you to the guys from Coordinadora Rural for buying me a very tasty lunch. It was absolutely delicious!
Photo above: participants on the RSR workshop in Cusco holding items from the Akvo RSR training kit (by Javier Tejera)
These workshops are not just good for our partners – we, the Akvo team, also learn a lot from them. It was good to have someone from the dev team with me. Those of us working in the partnership team normally forward all our workshop experiences with feedback and ideas from participants about the Akvo tools to the dev-team. This helps them to improve our tools and make them more user-friendly. But I do also believe it helps dev-team members a lot when they actually meet the people who use the tools they create and hear first-hand how they really work in practice. Here you can find some photos of the workshops in Lima and Cusco, including all participants. Gracias a todos y todas por su atención. Espero que a partir de ahora podemos leer muchas actualizaciones sobre sus proyectos en línea desde Perú. Hasta luego! Laura Roverts is a project manager at Akvo, based in Amsterdam