• Written by Jeroen van der Sommen
    2 April 2020

Some of the Akvo team members meet online while working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. 2 April 2020.

Dear partner,


First of all, our thoughts are with you all in these uncertain times. Like many of you, we’ve been trying to find our footing in this new reality. Our priority has been the health and safety of our colleagues and partners around the world.

We’ve also been working hard to figure out how we can best support you in these extraordinary times. Data is at the core of this. We want to share with you some of the things we’ve been experimenting with as well as some resources you may find useful.


1. Virtual data journey workshops

We need to keep moving while standing still. Now is a good time to reflect, document, learn, and plan for the future - as best we can - with the information we have available. To support our partners with this, we’ve been facilitating interactive virtual workshops. Using tools like Zoom and Mural, we’ve hosted plenary and breakout sessions to revise partners’ Theories of Change and outcome harvesting sessions to track programme progress.

We’re learning and improving as we go. We’re also looking into hosting other data journey workshops online, from data cleaning to analysis and visualisation. For tool training, we’re preparing standardised online training packages. In other words, we’re adapting our support as much as possible to online so that you can continue your work wherever possible.


2. Remote data collection

The majority of our teams and partners aren’t able to go out into the field to collect data, but local partners in some countries are still operating. We’re developing protocol on how to safely collect data in those cases.

Our technical consultancy team is working on remote data collection methods such as phone based interviews, SMS, and WebForms to replace field visits. These remote alternatives can be effective, particularly when no field observation questions are needed. We are about to run a pilot for a partner in which we’ll test the phone based interviews - keep an eye out for an article about it on the data journey blog.


3. WASH data

Reliable data on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is of invaluable importance today. With partners like WPDx and UNICEF, we’ve created data portals where a variety of relevant data is brought together in one place. These data portals can be an excellent resource - by analysing and sharing the online dashboards, decision makers can assess how prepared a region or facility is for COVID-19. This can enhance cooperation and prioritisation. An example, built for Eritrea, can be found here: COVID-19 quarantine centre baseline info.


4. Other resources

We are updating our resources so that we can keep providing you with useful content on the data journey. For the time being, you might find our eBooks and online portals helpful:


Let’s connect

In times like these, communication and connection is more important than ever. All of our teams are working from home and we’re adjusting to a different way of operating as Akvo. We’re still figuring things out, but we’re also learning that we’re resilient, and that together, we will make things happen.

This crisis is affecting us all in different ways, and we want to know how we can help, wherever you are and whichever field you are in. Please do reach out to us here or via your contact person at Akvo to discuss your data challenges.


Take care,

Jeroen van der Sommen and Kathelyne van den Berg

on behalf of all of us at Akvo