akvo-dash_850We have been talking for some time to partners around the world about the potential to build on the momentum and global take-up around Akvo FLOW, especially around the effective use of the data that is being produced. In particular, it’s been something that has excited our partners in the United States, especially those with the vision to help kickstart FLOW in its early years, after it was instigated by US-based NGO, Water For People.

So I’m really pleased to tell you that the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has agreed to become a key funding partner in what is (for now) called “Akvo DASH”.

Below is a joint statement. I want to thank all my colleagues around the world for their help building out the concept behind DASH, and for the team at Hilton for their advice and steering. Design and development is underway and we’ll work hard to make that process really open.

Tuesday 7 April 2015.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awards $750,000 to Akvo Foundation.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded Akvo $750,000 to develop a new product, under the initial name of Akvo DASH.

Akvo DASH will be an open-source, easy to use data mashup, analysis and publishing platform to enable improved programmatic and policy decisions across the international development sector. It will initially be piloted, and marketed to, those involved in improving global water and sanitation services and infrastructure.

“Over the past five years, we identified data collection tools, designed for use in the poorest parts of the world, as an investment priority,” said Chris Dunston, Senior Program Officer, International Programs at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “We’re pleased to see tools like Akvo FLOW generating substantial data in areas such as water, sanitation and hygiene. But with data collection closer to being a ‘solved problem’, it’s clear the next step is to build effective tools to analyze and interpret data.”

With a goal to translate better data into better decisions, Akvo DASH will make it possible for organizations, both government and non-governmental, to capture, track, manage and evaluate data from their funding and operations, bringing it together where it can be used to report and visualize a diverse set of impact and performance metrics.

An unprecedented opportunity exists to dramatically improve the outcomes from international development efforts by improving the insight into the new data streams that new tools, such as Akvo FLOW, provide. Akvo DASH will make it easy for organizations to bring their own data into the system, combine it with other data, and then easily present maps, graphs, visualizations and automated reports. It will also be easy to publish such output on private or public dashboards, under any brand or URL.

A key partner in the development of Akvo DASH will be the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC). UNC has been supporting monitoring and evaluation in relation to Conrad N. Hilton-funded activities, drawing on its research, knowledge and information management and teaching and learning expertise.

For more information on the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, visit www.hiltonfoundation.org

Henry Jewell is executive director of Akvo Foundation USA, based in Washington, D.C.