In a three day period last week we posted 74 videos from the UN’s World Water Day celebrations in Cape Town. That means that in the course of three major water conferences, has now created and published almost 300 interviews with people in the water and sanitation development sector.

I’m not aware of anyone else having done something similar anywhere over the same period. Best of all we’ve done this at low cost, with no fancy video gear. All the videos are shared online under a Creative Commons license and easy to embed elsewhere.

Here are some of my own personal favourite interviews as the days unfolded in Cape Town, below.

Linking World Water Day events using Skype video

Last week we included Skype-based video interviews with other World Water Day events around the world, for the first time. Highlights of these global links included Luuk interviewing traditional leaders on Micronesian islands in the Pacific here, Lovisa talking with World Water Day organisers in Tokyo, Luuk interviewing the Cycle For Water team from Costa Rica and me talking with the deputy prime minister of Bhutan. It was a new idea for us to try, and we’re learning as we go – mainly how to conduct the interviews smoothly and how to help and reassure the assistants to, say, ministers, about the technical setup and format.


Syndicating content to the UN and other partners

This time more organisations have taken advantage of our open licensing and easy embedding, to feature WaterCube videos on their own sites, such as SIWI, the UN’s Waterhackathon team and UN FAO and UN Water. With the latter, which led online communications for World Water Day, we organised a syndication link between our content and the UN World Water Day YouTube channel. This meant the UN team in Rome could pick and choose the videos they’d automatically like to have cross-posted to their YouTube channel, giving them a nice flow of content on World Water Day.


Involving new reporters

We were fortunate to have two reporters at the Cube from IRC, a water and sanitation knowledge organisation with a long track record. Dick de Jong, who has reported previously at the Cube in Stockholm was joined in Cape Town by Petra Brussee, who uploaded a lot of content and left a big impact on us. I was also excited to have Lovisa Selander work full time on interviews and editing. She was beaming by the end of Tuesday, having had a chance to really get into the swing of things.

I think WaterCube could go a long way. I’ll be writing more about that soon.


For the first time, we recorded Skype video interviews direct from the WaterCube to others involved in World Water Day events around the world. Here Luuk Diphoorn cues up Lovisa Selander to talk with Tokyo’s World Water Day organisers. Cape Town, 22 March 2011.


The Cape Town WaterCube team. Left to right: Dick de Jong (IRC), Mark Charmer (, Lovisa Selander (SIWI), Petra Brussee (IRC), Luuk Diphoorn ( 22 March 2011.

Mark Charmer is co-founder of Akvo and helped conceive WaterCube.