To find out what our partners honestly think about Akvo, I created a partner questionnaire, focused on four categories: platform, projects, communication and open data.

The core idea was to ask partners about their experiences within these categories and to get input for improvements. A few facts and figures to give you an idea of the sample size of the questionnaire:

  • sent out in January 2012, closed in May 2012
  • sent to field-, funding- and support partners, 303 in total
  • answered by 85 partners (75 completely answered vs. 10 partially answered)

During the all-Akvo team meeting held two weeks ago, I presented the feedback we received from our partners. I think I’m right in saying that our whole team finds this feedback of great value. I’ll highlight some of the more remarkable outcomes.

You’re probably familiar with Akvo’s broad focus: monitoring, reporting, knowledge sharing, transparency…it’s all there. But what do our partners use the Akvo platform for? Well, let me give you some insight.

Updating projects, fundraising for projects, sharing & finding information and showcasing projects are the four functionalities that are used most by our partners. Apart from that, partners use the platform for monitoring their projects, funding projects and reading newsblogs as well. The visual below shows the exact percentages of how often partners use these various functionalities.

We try to support our partners in the process of getting a project online and updating this project frequently. Over the past year, we have held workshops in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Zambia to train our local partners on how to write an attractive text update, create a short but informative video interview and make simple photos that illustrate their projects. We have also created an update manual that is sent to partners as soon as their project goes online. With this in mind, we tried to find out if the manual and the workshops are really helping our partners with creating updates.

As you can see in the visual below, text and photo updates are quite easy to make, according to the respondents. However, video updating seems to be a bit more challenging. According to the responses, it was mainly the internet connection and embedding a video to YouTube/Vimeo that were causing problems. As a result of this feedback, we are adding more information on embedding video to the newest version of the manual.

During my presentation of the partner questionnaire at our team week, I asked the Akvo team for feedback. I received many colored Post-it notes with proposed new questions for the next survey. We are planning to send out these questionnaires more often, in order to improve our services and keep our partners satisfied.

You can find the questionnaire and results here.

Lissy van Noort is a project officer at Akvo