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Many of you have followed the long journey we’ve taken since late 2006 to do the research, build the networks, create the business plan and raise the money needed to make our ambitious open source venture work. We don’t do formal press announcements very often (here’s our other one) but we wanted to share our latest news – we’ve now cracked the €2m funding barrier, one of our early goals, following a major new agreement with Rabobank. Thanks to everyone for their support in getting us this far (yes, that includes you) and we look forward to working with you all in the years to come. Peter especially wants to thank Frederik Claasen from Micro Water Facility who helped us develop the business plan and secure these funds.

AKVO NEWS RELEASE

The Hague, Netherlands, 10 June 2009.

RABOBANK INVESTS IN AKVO.ORG

Akvo and Rabobank have agreed a long-term cooperation package to build open source software tools and payment mechanisms to support the introduction of appropriate technology water and sanitation systems in the developing world.

Rabobank Foundation and Rabobank Den Haag will underwrite a €500,000 loan to the Akvo Foundation (Stichting Akvo), to continue development of the core Akvo software platform, including Akvopedia and Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR). The funds will help Akvo grow as it embarks on major new partnership deals this summer that will more than double the number of projects using its system.

Rabobank’s team will help Akvo develop payment processes that improve the flow of funds between donors and project teams. Akvo will help Rabobank investigate wider applications of the core Akvo software in other areas of the Foundation’s work, such as agricultural projects.

“Akvo is focused on giving people the resources and support they need to lift themselves out of poverty and has created a unique platform and partner network that tackles a key problem – how to fund very large numbers of small development projects in an affordable way,” explains Peter Vos, senior water manager at the Rabobank.

“The Rabobank Foundation is committed to improving the lives of underprivileged and disadvantaged groups of people in society by providing them with the opportunity to live full and independent lives. We are investing in Akvo because this new generation of tools, put in the right hands, can change the pace at which people can lift themselves out of poverty.”

Akvo creates and shares internet and phone-based tools that help a global network of partners fund and follow many thousands of new water and sanitation projects. Projects typically involve grant funding of €1,000 to €30,000, a segment that has traditionally been too expensive to address. Akvo helps money flow quickly to field projects because donors choose what to fund, and follow progress, online. A set of promotional tools, called widgets, stream storylines out to a global audience, helping fundraisers build exciting new campaigns and networks.

The investment by Rabobank enables Akvo to unlock further funds from the €1 million grant award made last Autumn from the Schoklandfonds, a pioneering Dutch government fund that invests in progressive efforts to tackle Millennium Development Goals. Akvo has now secured more than €2 million to build its system and network, and this year is generating operational income for the first time.

“Akvo has found a powerful, visionary financial partner to support its growth.” said Fon Koemans, Akvo board member. “Rabobank’s values are rooted in the development of small co-operatives located in rural regions. It understands what is possible when you can put resources into the hands of communities and local project teams. It’s very compatible with Akvo.”

More information: Akvo – https://www.akvo.org / Rabobank Foundation – https://www.rabobankfoundation.com

Media enquiries: Akvo – Mark Charmer, mark [at] akvo.org / +44 7976 960739 / Rabobank Foundation – Peter Sluis, P.A.N.Sluis [at] rn.rabobank.nl

Akvo photography is available here.

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