L’histoire interactive des installations d’approvisionnement en eau au Mali

by Wendemi Ilboudo

WASH in Mali

Ci-dessus: L’enquêteur Halidou Kamaté dresse l’inventaire d’un point d’eau dans le cercle de Bla, région de Ségou au Mali. Photo prise par Birama Sangaré.
Grâce au lancement en ligne du site de l’atlas des points d’eau du Mali, toute personne ayant accès à Internet peut désormais savoir l’état des installations d’approvisionnement en eau au Mali. Pour la première fois, les populations peuvent interagir avec les installations d’eau du pays et, y compris faire des recherches sur des informations détaillées relatives à l’emplacement, à la situation et à la population locale. Avec des données collectées entre 2016 et 2018 lors de l’inventaire national des points d’eau du Mali, le portail de l’eau combine différentes sources de données en des indicateurs compréhensifs. Cela permet aux internautes de filtrer les tableaux pertinents, de faire ressortir des graphiques en temps réel et de parcourir des cartes interactives. La mise à disposition de ce portail de l’eau marque une étape cruciale vers un suivi efficace des installations d’eau au Mali. Ce portail fournit au ministère et au public des informations utiles pour la prise de décision concernant les infrastructures durables de l’eau. Dans ce blog, nous décrivons les différentes étapes nécessaires pour passer des données brutes à un partage d’information perspicace. 
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The interactive story of water supply facilities in Mali

by Lars Heemskerk

WASH in Mali

Above: Data collector Halidou Kamaté makes an inventory of a water points in the Bla Cercle of the Segou Region, Mali. Photo by Birama Sangaré.

With the launch of Mali’s online water atlas, anyone with Internet access can now find out the status of water supply facilities in Mali. For the first time, people can interact with and investigate water facilities in the country, including detailed background information on location, status and the local population. Featuring data collected between 2016 and 2018 by the Malian national inventory of water point data, the water portal combines different data sources into comprehensible indicators. This allows visitors to filter relevant tables, render real-time graphs and browse interactive maps. This water portal is a crucial step towards effective monitoring of water facilities in Mali, and provides the ministry and the public with useful insights for decision making on sustainable water infrastructure. In this blog, we describe the various steps required to go from raw data to insightful information sharing. 

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La tendencia en el Foro Mundial del Agua: Innovación Digital y Justicia Ambiental

by Carlos Diaz

Arriba: Nuevos amigos y contactos después del Foro Mundial del Agua 2018 en Brasilia.
Llegando en la madrugada a Brasilia, me amaneció cuando sonaron fuertes golpes en la puerta de mi habitación. Fuertes! Y luego una voz: “Carlos, vienes a la inauguración del Foro Mundial del Agua?” El llamado de mi buen colega de Akvo, Bert Diphoorn. Así lo conocí, dando la aireada primera llamada para comenzar una gran semana de contactos con entidades nacionales, internacionales, de gobierno y organizaciones civiles presentes en el evento de mayor trascendencia en materia de agua a nivel mundial. Una semana cargada de sabor carioca, sonrisas y una muy buena energía.

Ese día, el Lunes 18 de Marzo, inició el Foro Mundial del Agua 2018. Además de las cinco sesiones en las que participaría Akvo, teníamos nuestro espacio en el Pabellón Holandés para contar la experiencia que hemos acumulado en la última década. Una vitrina para buscar replicar los casos de éxito en Latinoamérica. Read More »

Simplicity and security go hand in hand

by Jana Gombitova

cycling in the netherlands

Above: Cycling in the Netherlands. Photo by Jana Gombitova. 01 May 2018.

Cycling is so popular in the Netherlands that we cycle even the shortest distances. It’s simple – you hop on your bike and go. Besides, the infrastructure of the city is designed first and foremost for bicycles, and the dedicated bike lanes ensure that you’re always shielded from other traffic. In my hometown in Slovakia, I didn’t cycle often. It might be as simple, but the lack of infrastructure for bicycles means that it’s less safe. In the Netherlands, the constant investment in design solutions for the safety of cyclists means that riding a bike is as secure as it is easy.

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Privacy and security by design for product management

by Lynn Greenwood

Image credit: Martin Newhall, Unsplash

privacy and security by design

Above: Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) looming, the challenge for design and management is to understand how to integrate privacy and security by design into a product, or platform, effectively. Product managers, or product owners, are expected to know their product inside out. But how much do you know about your product when it comes to privacy and security? How are you integrating it into your product team’s workflow? For most of us, this is a learning curve.

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Unleashing data science on household data

by Karolina Sarna

data science household data

Above: Data science by Goran Ivos on Unsplash.


The cooperation between Akvo and ICCO Cooperation goes back to 2012 when ICCO piloted Akvo Flow in Indonesia. The use of Flow led to a huge boost in the quantity and quality of information gathered. Economic empowerment and food security are at the heart of ICCO’s work, and information regarding farmers’ earnings, community eating patterns, crop growth and various other characteristics led to a better understanding of what does and doesn’t work in ICCO’s programmes. The wealth of data, however, also led to new questions and new possibilities.

Akvo and ICCO set up a joint learning trajectory to tackle some of these questions. Instead of performing a standard analysis of data and summarising it, we reached for more advanced statistical methods. Using data science techniques on the data we’d already collected, we could improve the design of surveys, capitalise on best practices and lessons learned, and discover hidden patterns in the data.
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The importance of end-user feedback in development aid

by Arun Pratihast

end-user feedback

Above: A look through the lights by Nong Vang on Unsplash.

In the development sector, it’s the people that the interventions aim to reach that are best placed to reflect on the success or failure of a project. End users, broadly defined here as the users of a product or service, have the greatest understanding of local context and should be instrumental in steering development projects by providing feedback, critique, and input throughout.

The engagement and participation of end users, and their feedback within the design, implementation and evaluation of projects, has been a key focus of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). With end-user feedback, dialogue can be established between evaluators and users and lessons can be learned. What’s more, innovations and ideas that might not occur to development organisations can be put into practice, and end-user ownership can be established. End-user ownership is essential because it supports transparency and accountability in overall project implementation as well as enhancing sustainability opportunities. Read More »

Production data never lies

by Daniel Lebrero

automatic schema generation

Above: Photo of Pinocchio from Pexels. 

The Akvo engineering team has bought into the idea of an immutable data log as the backbone of our architecture, which we hope will make it easier to integrate Akvo systems and build new functionalities. More importantly, it will treat data as a first-class citizen; as the valuable thing that it really is. Read More »

Making more sense of your data in 2018

by Nadia Gorchakova

Above: Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash.

Empathy has a special place in our product development processes at Akvo. We love doing user research to listen to our partners needs first hand, and often ask a lot of questions to get into our partners’ shoes. We are interested in everything, but especially in how our partners interact with our products and what their biggest challenges are.

Our conviction is that building empathy with our partners through user research, field visits and other activities helps us contribute to the success of our partners. We continuously work with partners to figure out how our tools and services can help them achieve their desired impact. Akvo Lumen is just one piece in the puzzle of our design – capture – understand – share – act process, but it’s an indispensable one. Without the analysis and visualisation of collected data, it would be difficult to take action, learn and report on past experiences.
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Brand brilliance for breakfast

by Linda Leunissen


Every morning for breakfast I used to have a slice of gluten-free toasted bread. I’d squash an avocado on it, add a splash of lime juice and lots of salt and pepper. It was my favourite breakfast. I loved it. I would look forward to having it every day. Sometimes I also had it for lunch. It made me happy. And then one day I was suddenly done with it. That last avocado lay in my fridge for weeks until I threw it out. I couldn’t even bear to think of it. I wasn’t sure why, but it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

Something similar happened to me at Akvo. Over the last year, I fell out of love with the Akvo brand we had so carefully created. It used to be exciting, have an edge, always moving forward and changing, but it wasn’t working for us anymore. We tried to work out what the problem was. Imagery was one, but our experiments weren’t taking us anywhere interesting. Also, the hexagons were starting to feel limiting, and our website felt out of date. Everything was getting a bit stale.

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