Having recently developed new Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) workshop materials, it was time to debut our new style in an actual training workshop. On the morning of Thursday, 6th September we all gathered at the Greenwich Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. In total, six field partners from the Nepal WASH Alliance participated in the workshop. You can view the photos of the 20 participants here.

Unfortunately there was a strike and it wasn’t possible to run the workshop in this venue. Therefore a bus pick-up was arranged and, like kids going on a school-trip, we went to Godavari Village Resort on the other side of the city. Surrounded by mountains (the participants were laughing at me, since they believed we actually were surrounded by hills instead of mountains. But I can tell you, for somebody from the Netherlands, these gigantic hills seemed like mountains to us!), it was just the perfect place to kick off the workshop.

Above: View of the scenery from the Godavari Village Resort. Photo credit: Laura Roverts

After an introduction and warm welcome from Kalawati Pokhrel, the country coordinator of the Nepal WASH Alliance, we washed our hands (a very important lesson), had breakfast together and then everybody was ready for the training.

We started by introducing Akvo to the partners and made them familiar with the tools we develop and use, like Akvo RSR and Akvo FLOW. In April, the first Akvo FLOW pilot for the Dutch WASH Alliance started with BSP Nepal and RAIN Foundation. Sushrina Manandhar, who participated in that pilot on behalf of BSP Nepal, presented her experiences to the participants of our 6th September workshop. She prepared a nice PowerPoint presentation in which she explained how Akvo FLOW works and gave more insight into the survey that BSP Nepal is currently running.

As the first Akvo RSR training to feature our new style, it went really well. Some of my colleagues worked really hard on the development of new training materials, including a poster, a training kit and a presentation. It was great to explain it to the participants, since they responded so enthusiastically and they could not wait to add their first update.

Below: Reviewing the first round of video interviews. Photo credit: Laura Roverts

In addition to being enthusiastic, the participants were very creative. For example, when talking about doing video interviews, someone questioned what to do with people from the villages who don’t speak English, but only Nepali instead. I told them we prefer not to edit any video, because it can be very time consuming. Then they came up with a video interview with somebody speaking Nepali and somebody standing behind the camera translating it to English simultaneously, like a voice-over. This was a new solution to solve the language problem, so in this way the participants inspired me as well with a new way of coping with language barriers.

Our aim was that every participant would have his or her first update online by the end of the workshop. This could either be a photo or a video update. And we reached our goal – by the end of the workshop, all projects were updated and participants will continue sharing the progress of all projects.

Finally, we thought our new workshop style should also have a new style of workshop evaluation. So instead of filling out a paper version of the questionnaire, Amitangshu created a survey on Akvo FLOW for participants to complete. This way, all of the participants got a sense of how Akvo FLOW works as well.

Above: Filling out the workshop evaluation with the help of Akvo FLOW. Photo credit: Laura Roverts

It was really great to meet our partners in person and run the workshop, this time working with Amitangshu. Our participants responded so enthusiastically, that it gave me a lot of energy to keep doing this kind of work.

Photos of the workshop can be viewed at my Picasa. All photos were taken with Amitangshu’s camera.

Laura Roverts works as project officer at Akvo.