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PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES TO REGISTER WITH NETSQUARED AND COMMENT AND VOTE FOR US BY CLICKING HERE. Deadline is 5pm Pacific time on Friday 12 December. Go on do it. Yes, you :-)

(Update 11 December) Alas many of you are finding Netsquared’s registration system complicated. You need to register your name and a few details, they will then email you a password. You then login. You then need to choose our project (or click again on the above link). Our project is “Water Technology Assistant – cellphones supporting access to clean water”. If you can’t get it through, email Jennie Frohman who assures me she will sort it. Thanks Jennie.

For some time I’ve been keen for us to spin out some technology ventures from Akvo, drawing on the understanding we’re gaining of what is required by funders and NGOs building drinking water and sanitation projects.

Last night we kicked off our efforts to begin that expansion, with an entry to the USAID Development 2.0 Challenge, organised in conjunction with Global Development Commons.

Do please read and provide comment on our application here.

Our project focuses on the development of the Water Technology Assistant (WTA). The WTA is a cell-phone based application that provides an enhanced and localized interface to the world’s water technology resources in a format that field workers and villagers can use. Much of the technical content is from existing online resources reformatted and rewritten for small screens. The WTA focusses on maintaining the vital connections which help water projects get started, get funded, and succeed at a technical and social level.

If successful, the project will be led by a new small team who will work independently from, but in close liaison with, the core Akvo team. Once expanded through a feasibility study, we will use our existing networks to help the venture secure additional development funds. We view both USAID and organisations such Netsquared’s involvement as crucial in attracting the right kind of talent and input needed to develop the tool for our partners.

We’d love to get your feedback, input and have you involved.