Above: Stockholm, photo by Ulf Bodin.

World Water Week has always been a milestone event for Akvo. It’s where we started out in 2006, and we’ve been back each year, connecting the technology and water sectors. Following on from last year’s event, which we dubbed Stockholm#9, we are getting ready for another chance to meet people from across the sector, hear about their most recent innovations and share our own.

This year (29 August – 2 September) we’re going to be in Stand 23 on the 2nd floor of the main exhibition hall.
What’s new this year?

We will be presenting two new products we are developing, which we’re pretty excited about:

Akvo Caddisfly is an innovative water quality testing kit based around a smartphone. It works on the spot, making testing faster, more accessible, affordable and scalable than existing lab-based methods. Last year we previewed a prototype of Caddisfly’s fluoride test kit. This year we’ll be showing something that’s a lot closer to what the market-ready kit will look like, and which has been field tested with very positive results. Additionally, we’ll be showing Caddisfly’s smartphone-based electrical conductivity (EC) sensor that indicates the levels of dissolved salts in water, as well as Caddisfly’s strip test capabilities that enable you to accurately test water for any parameter for which a strip text exists and capture the results digitally. Stop by our booth for a demo, or fix up a meeting

Akvo Lumen is Akvo’s new platform for understanding and using data in international development. It gives you an easy way to combine data sets from different sources and extract the information hidden within them. It is still under development and will initially be piloted with people involved in improving global water and sanitation services and infrastructure. We have been working closely with numerous partners who are leaders in their fields in order to benefit from their sector expertise and ensure we achieve a user-centric design. Come to the Akvo Lumen preview event, stop by the Akvo stand for a demo, or fix up a meeting.

Who’s going?

If you’re at the event and would like to talk to us, these are the people you’ll find at the Akvo booth:

Ayan Biswas, Akvo Delhi – Ayan is a water scientist and advocacy manager who was responsible for seeding and architecting India’s Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network (F-KAN). He joined Akvo last year to play a leading role in the development of our partnerships across South Asia. He’ll be explaining our work in programmes like Watershed and how we help partners with monitoring and evaluation. 
He also knows a lot about films. Follow him on Twitter @biswa4

Thomas Bjelkeman, Akvo Stockholm – Thomas can explain why Akvo exists, what are the problems we are working to tackle, and why we consider open data and open licensing of software and data to be so important. As CTO, and with lots of experience in technical sales, he’s great to talk to about how to get information technology adopted in organisations big and small. He lives in Stockholm, so is also good at giving you tips on what else to do while you’re in the city. He can also talk a great deal about bee-keeping and Swedish metal bands. He’s @bjelkeman on Twitter.

Banzoumana Coulibaly, Akvo Bamako – Banzoumana works with users of Akvo tools in West Africa, providing support during and after training programmes. He’s based in our office in Bamako and has worked extensively across Mali and Burkina Faso in the fields of civil engineering, water and sanitation. He knows a lot about the challenges associated with tackling water issues in West Africa. He joined Akvo almost a year ago, and this is his first time at World Water Week. Find him on Twitter @bazoucoul.

Bert Diphoorn, Akvo Amsterdam – Bert has worked in a fascinating array of roles up to the highest levels of the United Nations, including vice chair of UN Water and director of UN-Habitat. He has a deep understanding of the way the global international development system currently works and how it is adapting and reforming. Prior to UN Water, Bert worked with the African Development Bank where he was a vital part of the African Water Facility. In his time at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs he was head of the water unit, and organised the 2nd World Water Forum at the Hague, and the Waterdome at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. As Vice-Chair of UN Water, he promoted the sustainable development goal (SDG) for water and drove the design of a new monitoring framework. At UN Habitat he was director of the aid agency’s newly created Donor Relations and Resource Mobilisation Service (DRRMS), and head of its Global Water Operators Alliance Secretariat (GWOPA). He is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Luuk Diphoorn, Akvo Nairobi – Luuk leads Akvo’s activities in East Africa and steers our regional hub head-quartered in Nairobi, Kenya. He has a lot of experience of water, sanitation and other development programmes in East and Southern Africa, and further afield. He was a lead producer and reporter for WaterCube, our video channel profiling people and issues in the water and sanitation sector, so it’s great to have him back in Stockholm this year. Luuk grew up in Burundi, Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. You can find him on Twitter at: @luukdiphoorn

Jo Pratt, Akvo London – This is Jo’s Stockholm World Water Week debut. She will coordinate how we interact and follow up with people at the event and will be capturing and sharing the experience via various channels. Jo has overall responsibility for communications at Akvo and has a great deal of experience of communications in both the IT and non-profit sectors, in several countries. You can follow her on Twitter @jo108.

Samuel Rajkumar, Akvo Bangalore – Sam is Akvo Caddisfly’s product development manager. In this role, he oversees the development of the Caddisfly water testing kit. Samuel joined Akvo through his work with TernUp Research Labs LLP, a collective of artists, designers and technologists. He has 14 years of experience in software architecture, design and development and has a Bachelor of Engineering from Gulbarga University. Samuel is based in Bangalore. It’s his first time in Stockholm and he’ll be mainly demoing and talking about Akvo Caddsifly. You can follow him @aadvaark.

Lars Sjogreen, Akvo Stockholm – Lars has recently joined Akvo as its head of product development and technical operations. He’s based in Stockholm together with the developer team there, so a great source for local tips. Some of you might know Lars from Stockholm’s local Makerspace which he helped to found a couple of years ago. You can follow Lars on Twitter @barse.

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Above: Demoing Akvo Caddisfly, the portable fluoride test. 27 August 2015, photo by Alvaro de Salvo.
Below: Akvo’s participation at last year’s “Information technologies for a smarter water future” panel together with DHI and Aqua. 25 August 2015, photo by Alvaro de Salvo.

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Side events

Just like in previous years, we’ll be involved in a series of panels, side events and informal gatherings. We’ll be updating these on this blog, as we get nearer to the event. For the moment, here is what we can share with you:

Monday 29 – 4:30-5:15 – Stand 23
Akvo Lumen preview – A chance to mingle, have a coffee and get an insight into this new data platform.

Wednesday 31 – 14:00-15:30 – FH 202
Improving water stewardship and livelihoods through citizen observatories – This event will be interactive and explore new opportunities to use citizen-stewardship and novel web technologies to promote important impacts on science, policy and practice. This includes the use of interactive games to build resilience into decision making. Speakers will demonstrate that a paradigm shift in water resources management can be achieved and share challenges related to engagement, quality control and impact. Akvo is a co-convenor of this panel along with EarthWatch, Unesco IHE and the Stockholm Resilience Center.

Wednesday 31 – 17:30-19:00 – Stand 11
Watershed – Empowering Citizens launch – Watershed is a unique strategic partnership, as it focuses on building the capacity of civil society to advocate for improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene services as well as of the water resources on which they draw.

Monday 29 to Friday 2 – all day – Stand 11
WASH Alliance International – From Monday to Wednesday, participants are invited to take a seat on the Acceleration Sofa and discuss their recipe to scale access to water and sanitation with the WASH Alliance country coordinators from Bangladesh, Mali and Ethiopia. Each day, a different region will be placed in the spotlight to share their insights, learning and best practices.
Monday: Asia Day – discussions and case stories from Nepal and Bangladesh
Tuesday: West Africa Day – discussions and case stories from Mali and Ghana
Wednesday: East Africa Day – discussions and case stories from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia

Jo Pratt is communications manager at Akvo. You can follow her on Twitter @jo108.