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Akvo is going to set up its main office on the ground floor of the ‘International Water House’ in the Hague. We are moving our stuff early next week.

After the launch of Akvo during the Stockholm Water Week last August we have had partner and team meetings to get our priorities clear and set new goals for the road ahead. In short we want to have made a big leap forward, by the time the 5th World Water Forum will kick off on the 16th of March 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.

By than, we hope to have secured all the funds that are needed to reach our breakeven point. In February we will receive news about our application at the Postcode Lottery and in matter of weeks we expect to secure a strong financial partner to back us up.

In March the Akvo website will have a new look and feel and it will contain many more projects than it does today. An online consumer donation system will be integrated and we expect to have our online and SMS reporting tools tested in the field and in use. A small but active Akvopedia community should be in place by than as well.

Over the last weeks we have signed up Stichting Humana, Association for Small African Projects, Women for Water Partnership, SNV Nepal and AMREF flying doctors as additional support partners. We’re happy to have them on board and will develop a clear Terms of Service for 2009 for them and the others.

Last September we already registered Akvo as a non-profit foundation. In the meantime we have applied for an ANBI status that will make donations tax deductable for funders. A board meeting will be organized early next year to develop a clear strategy for 2009.

With our core system build, our main focus is to get this engine running. We need to attract project funders and make sure we ease feedback from the field, to make Akvo a success for all.

It’s good to see that some partners have come forward that want to use Akvo for ‘reporting’ only, in specific cases. This means we’re adding unique benefits to ongoing and funded projects as well, as described earlier by Giulio Quaggiotto. A powerful differentiator from other market places that are popping up.

An important task ahead of us is to improve the descriptions about how Akvo works (and its benefits) clearly to all users. Online descriptions and a short animation will be developed to support our team efforts in this area. Or in the words of Vinay:

“We need to make sure an 8 year old can understand how Akvo works.”

I will write about our plans for Turkey separately shortly. For now it is back to packing up boxes, making sure we are ready to move to the Hague.

Peter van der Linde is the partner – director of Akvo