Akvo code of conduct

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Our mission and values

Akvo is a not-for-profit foundation that creates open source, internet and mobile software and sensors. We work with people improving infrastructure and services, for disadvantaged populations. We focus on making international development and country governance more effective, transparent and collaborative. Around the world, we help our partners act to improve the management of water, sanitation, agriculture, health, energy, education and the environment.


Akvo envisions an equitable, sustainable, global society. We believe that this will occur faster if country governance and international development organisations are open, transparent, collaborative and effective.


We enable people to capture, understand and share data for better country governance and development activities. To achieve maximum impact as rapidly as possible, we develop open source technology and professional services, and we work closely with others that share our vision.


The purpose of this code of conduct is to ensure that the welfare, basic human rights and physical security of all individuals are recognised and safeguarded by all Akvo workforce members in accordance with international standards. This code is meant to guide and protect workforce members who are working for Akvo in different situations. We strive to create awareness of these situations and to anticipate the consequences of our workforce members’ behaviour towards others.


This code of conduct applies to all Akvo workforce members, including but not limited to full- time employees, part-time employees, contractors, trainees, volunteers and temporary workers. All workforce members are made aware of the existence of this code of conduct. All workforce members ensure that colleagues fully understand the code of conduct as well as the rationale behind it and apply it in practice. The code of conduct applies to all workforce members during regular working hours and, when travelling on behalf of Akvo, 24 hours per day. The code of conduct is available on the Akvo websites and partner organisations are made aware of the existence of the Akvo code of Conduct.


Basic principles

Akvo is made up of a diverse group of people. The diversity of Akvo is an asset that helps the organisation cooperate with its partners around the globe in the best possible way, both in person and digitally.
All staff work closely with one another and communicate openly, taking care not to exclude anyone through language or otherwise. The contributions and ideas of all workforce members are considered to be equally valuable.

Akvo offers equal opportunities to all its workforce members to enable them to reach their goals and develop professionally. All workforce members working for Akvo are interested in each other, both personally and professionally. They cooperate with each other in an atmosphere of harmony and trust.

Akvo is an organisation in which no room exists for aggression, sexual harassment, intimidation or discrimination based on age, disability, political views, civil status, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment or sexual orientation. Akvo will do everything in its power to prevent this. Workforce members are expected to talk about Akvo and its partners with respect at all times.

Any form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace or in connection with work is strictly prohibited, including sexual or gender-based harassment and physical or verbal abuse. Harassment is any improper or unwelcome conduct that has caused, or that might reasonably be perceived to cause, offence or humiliation to another. Akvo’s discrimination and sexual harassment policy elaborates in detail on the implications and the complaints procedures.

Specific behaviour subject to disciplinary measures

Abuse of Power

Working in the development sector is a delicate business. Akvo wishes to be respected by its partners and intends to guarantee this by applying strong criteria.

  • It is prohibited for workforce members to abuse the power that is inherent to their position for their own advantage or for the advantage of their friends or relatives.
  • No workforce member of Akvo will offer, seek or accept remuneration, compensation or benefit of any type that could be interpreted as an illegal or corrupt practice from any other party. Any such practices will be valid reason for dismissal.
  • Workforce members are not allowed to accept any personal gifts from beneficiaries or partner organisations and their employees, in the form of money, goods or services that exceed the value of 50 Euros.
  • Where contracts for services are realised with the input of workforce members, they should be fair, in writing, in the standard Akvo format and signed by all parties involved. 

Conflicts of interest

Cases may occur where personal and professional (Akvo) interests are in conflict with each other, especially in the area of service delivery and professional contracts.

  • Workforce members working for Akvo are not allowed to negotiate and to sign contracts and agreements between their relatives and Akvo.
  • Workforce members with their own business or financial interests in certain companies are not allowed to sign contracts between Akvo and these companies under any circumstances.
  • As soon as a workforce member suspects that a possible conflict of interest may occur, this should be discussed with the staff member’s supervisor. Akvo will, while striving for fairness and impartiality, do everything in its power to prevent workforce members from (financial) harm.
  • Workforce members are not allowed to maintain a conflict of interest.
Use of Akvo knowledge
  • Akvo’s workforce members are not allowed to make use of non-public institutional knowledge for their own personal or commercial goals.

Conduct towards other workforce members

Akvo encourages all workforce members to deal with each other in an open and professional manner and to respect cultural, religious and political differences. In order to make our cooperation within the organisation fruitful and prevent frustrations, we encourage all workforce members to:

  • Always make sure that colleagues and partners are informed about where you are and how you can be reached. Use your agenda, out-of-office assistant, and leave contact details when applicable. Always make sure that someone is able to back you up regarding pending dossiers when travelling or out of office.
  • Always be punctual, inside or outside the office. Make sure partners and colleagues are informed if you will not be able to attend a meeting or meet a deadline.
  • Help team members and partner organisations or others who are seeking advice as much as your work allows. Be constructive and honest and try to provide them with alternative solutions to get the job done. Be careful about managing expectations, especially towards partners. Do not make promises you may not be able to keep. To the outside world and to your colleagues: yes means yes!
  • Akvo is an organisation that values and nurtures its diversity. We work on the basis of mutual trust. However, be aware that cultural differences can easily lead to misunderstandings. Discuss these issues with colleagues. If you are not entirely certain about certain implications of, especially oral, agreements: be inquisitive.
  • Seek the advice of peers and partners when setting up activities or processes to ensure quality, commitment and the inclusion of all actors who need to be involved.
  • Although it can be expected that close bonds of friendship might develop amongst workforce members, these friendships should never hinder the realisation of the programme objectives.
  • Managers and supervisors are not allowed to enter into a romantic, sexual or similarly intimate relationship with the workforce members they supervise.
  • If the hierarchical relationship cannot be changed in the event of the above, then one of the parties will be required to terminate their employment.


  • Akvo forbids its workforce members from carrying, using or possessing weapons, or having weapons present in the vehicles that transport Akvo workforce members.

Alcohol and illegal drugs

  • Workforce members are under no circumstances allowed to execute their work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal, that might diminish their capacity to execute their work as may be expected. This excludes drugs taken for medical purposes.
  • In all places where the possession and/or consumption of alcohol and drugs is forbidden, workforce members are not allowed to use or keep it.

Sexual behaviour

Akvo expects its workforce members to observe a high standard of decorum and decency when it comes to sexual relationships.

  • Despite local regulations, Akvo forbids any sexual contact or sexual relationship with persons younger than 18 years of age. An incorrect estimation of age is no acceptable excuse.
  • Sexual relationships with beneficiaries of Akvo programmes, or persons employed by organisations or companies that Akvo maintains a working relationship with, are not permitted.
  • Workforce members working for Akvo are not allowed to obtain sexual services for money or by any other means of exchange.

Fulfilment of this code of conduct

Akvo ensures that its workforce members know about and adhere to this code of conduct. Anyone who does not fulfil this code will be subjected to disciplinary measures (see Anti-corruption and sanctions policy), to be decided by the Managing Director(s). Ultimately, this could lead to the dismissal of the workforce member in question.

In the event of a workforce member working for Akvo observing a colleague breach the rules of this code of conduct, the workforce member concerned should discuss the issue with his/her colleague.

In the event of a workforce member working for Akvo breaching (or being suspected of breaching) the rules and regulations of a country, he/she may be subjected to a criminal or civil prosecution. In this case, the supervisor will call in legal support. The costs accrued for this legal support will initially be borne by Akvo. However, if it is proven that the workforce member has intentionally and knowingly breached the rules and regulations of a country through his/her own personal actions, the workforce member will have to bear the financial consequences. Costs made will be invoiced to the workforce member concerned.

In the event of someone unintentionally breaching the code of conduct, and then mentioning this to his or her supervisor as soon as they recognise this as being a potential breach, this will be taken into account during the process of deciding which measures should be taken.