Initially created as a project publication platform for communication purposes, Akvo RSR has now developed into an online communication, reporting and monitoring hub for all your projects. Next week we will host a couple of webinars (See below) to walk through the new features in detail. In the meantime, here’s what’s new:
Akvo RSR as reporting tool
View and export project data
In the new “My Reports” section in “My RSR”, partner organisations now have the ability to create and export a wide variety of reports on their RSR projects. Because needs differ and can change, the reporting possibilities of Akvo RSR are very flexible and support various formats. There are two types of reports and exports:
1) Fixed template: a report template is defined (e.g. country report) based on the available project data. Where needed data can be aggregated. The report template can be used on any programme, project, etc. and can be exported as a PDF, Excel or other type of file (depending on the report type).
2) Custom design: In addition to the standard templates, Akvo can help you to define and create a custom template. We can create templates that allow you to closely monitor specific indicators to help internal learning and steer management decisions or export project references to use in project proposals or annual reports. More information on “My Reports” can be found here:
Above: selecting a report to download in the My Reports section of My RSR.
Akvo RSR fully supports IATI-compliant reporting. We make sure for you that RSR is in line with the latest version of the IATI standard (now v 2.02). Akvo RSR allows you to export your project information to IATI XML files, but Akvo RSR can also import IATI XML files and create RSR projects from them.
Not all funders ask for the same type of IATI reports. In Akvo RSR, we can create a custom validation set for the reporting standard that your organisation needs to report in. This way you can make sure all the required information for your projects is filled out in the editor. Apart from enabling you to report fully IATI-compliant on your programmes and projects by creating IATI activity files, RSR now also enables you to create an IATI organisation file in RSR. Both activity and organisation files can be published to the IATI registry automatically.
Akvo RSR as monitoring tool
Projects are implemented to achieve results. Akvo RSR facilitates working with results and indicator frameworks to keep track of these results. This means that for every project there is room to define results, indicators, baselines, indicator periods, targets and actuals. In order to support the process of collecting results data, we have created the role of “M&E manager”, which allows a user to approve and edit incoming data in the “My Results” section. To keep everyone who is interested up-to-date on the progress of your project, we have created a new tab in the public display of the project, called “Results”. Here the approved results and indicators for your project are visible.
If your organisation is working with a standardised or harmonised results and indicator framework, it is possible to create this framework in one top level project (or programme) and import it to related projects on a lower level. This way you only have to create your results and indicator framework once. The imported results and indicator framework on a lower level project can then be customised according to the project’s needs by deleting or adding certain results or indicators that are (ir)relevant for that specific project. Find out more about results frameworks here.
Above: In the results and indicators section of the editor, you can use the blue button to import the results framework from a parent project.
The collection of results data across a programme or project can be a major exercise. When using RSR, you can use the “My Results” section to manage results data collection in an efficient way that is web-based and well-structured. If your project needs multiple reporting periods, you can set your indicator periods accordingly. Each period can be (un)locked separately in order to collect input on the results and indicators for that specific period.
Above: The ‘My Results’ section of RSR allows users with various roles (e.g. M&E manager, project editor) to add and edit results data, including workflow features.
Handling qualitative data
Apart from quantitative data, RSR also gives you multiple options to report on qualitative data:
(1) captured in project updates in the shape of a photo or video and text
(2) a text value in the actual results section combined with an explanation in the actual value comments field and/or
(3) formatted in a document which can be linked/attached both on a project and on a results level (linked to an actual result value).
Make RSR fit your needs
Every organisation is different. To help you communicate, report and monitor in a way that fits your organisation, we can help you to customise Akvo RSR according to your needs. This includes adding customised fields and validation sets. Although we advocate transparency, some projects contain sensitive information that can’t become public. Therefore Akvo RSR now enables you to set your projects on “private”. This means that your projects are only available to the people with the right user roles and permissions.
For more information
Annabelle Poelert is project officer at Akvo, based in Amsterdam. You can follow her @AnnabellePoel. Marten Schoonman is technical account manager at Akvo, based in Amsterdam. You can follow him @mato74.