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Ons werk is niet mogelijk zonder onze vele zakelijke partners, sponsors, alliantiepartners en samenwerkingsverbanden.
The main responsibility of the Financial Project Controller is to contribute to appropriate financial planning and monitoring of the utilization of funds made available by Simavi to partners in different countries in the south and for quality financial reporting to back-donors of Simavi’s programmes. The learning exchanges, which took place between July and December 2015, looked into different topics tailored to the specific interests and needs of the participants.
All visits were a big success and it was inspiring for the participants to learn from projects which were similar to the ones of their own organisations.
Thank you very much to all the participants, the ambassadors of change and the team of Avance for their participation and hard work! On 3 november, Aidenvironment and WASH Alliance International organized the Sustainability Marketplace to explore questions like: How to solve the big challenges in Water, Food and Energy together?
When I was asked to organise my first Akvo training course abroad for the WASH Alliance International, I could not believe my luck. Below: trying out new field data collection skills during the workshop in a village near Tamale. I made it my personal mission to find out as much as possible about the challenges we face in implementing and monitoring development projects and to learn more about the political situation in Ghana. When we get back to the hotel my colleague confirms that food insecurity remains a big challenge in the North of Ghana. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, but it makes an even bigger impact to hear these words from someone that has witnessed it first hand. And how can we accelerate impact on climate change adaption in an environmentally sustainable way?
During this event we will present innovative and proven products that can help us to address the challenges of the 21st century.
Check out this video about 17 WASH changemakers who went on a quest to experiment with innovative approaches to reach scale within their projects in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nepal. In this course, Nepal WASH Alliance (NWA) was also informed about the support we would extend in case if any of their partners would like to go for an assessment on damage and other informative pieces. After reaching Bharatpur (regional office of NEWAH from where the projects in Gorkha is supervised) on 5 May 2015, I sat down together with their monitoring team to design and digitise questionnaires for the assessment.
It was a long and tiring day but worthwhile, as at the end of the day, everyone seemed to be well acquainted and comfortable using the Akvo FLOW application. The next day, all the enumerators were deployed to their respective VDCs for data collection and I, along with Mr. NGOs in Nepal have been working here for decades and by now have become an associated part of rural life. As the final analysis of this assessment is yet to come, the preliminary picture shows that there is an immediate need of restoration of water sources in some parts of the intervention, ensuring access to safe water and sanitation and support in rebuilding temporary houses.
This blog will remain incomplete if I fail to express my deepest gratitude to those sixteen enumerators who showed true sincerity and dedication to their work. My humble thanks to our friends at SEIU who at such short notice managed to transfer the possession of mobile devices that was one of the key reasonsfor successful data collection. Accelerating WASH refers to the situation where every activity undertaken in our WASH interventions takes less time, less effort and reaches out to many more people than previously. In a moment of going to scale, we rather ‘scale up’ than ‘scale out’ (scaling out refers to replication of an approach in exactly the same way in another area).). A practical example of an acceleration case  is the Tamale Urban Waste and Sanitation Project (TUSWP).
Over the past three years, these groups have worked together in a coherent manner showing strong cooperation and have presently reached a position where each of the groups finds an opportunity in working together with  others in the consortium, a state we can best describe as having reached the ‘Tipping Point’ and having attained the indicators necessary for acceleration. Institutionalising WASH in government and private sector is taking place, to create a WASH sector that can sustain itself with less NGO interventions.
We’ve had an eventful year with development projects to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene scenario all over Bangladesh, not to mention BWA has turned 2 years old this year!
We started our journey as an alliance organization in 2011 with 9 members, to work with local NGOs and governments on sustainableWASH projects. We hope you enjoy our newsletter, and remember that without your help and support we never have made it this far. From Jinja, Andrew and I travelled up north to Lira where we facilitated the first of two training sessions for Akvo FLOW survey enumerators from Uganda WASH Alliance (UWA) partners, part of the Dutch WASH Alliance programme. Like all implementing partners of the Dutch WASH Alliance, the UWA partners are going to use Akvo FLOW as the data collection tool for the outcome measurement exercise that needs to be done in 2015.
You can see some more pictures from the training sessions and the photo shoot in my Flickr set. DORP has been using Akvo RSR since 2012 but recently the project staff at field level received equipment (smartphones) that lets them update their activities regularly and they have all now been trained.
Akvo RSR is a platform for sharing knowledge and information about our best practices and project progress with everyone involved and interested.
DORP has scaled up the project areas from 6 to 24 unions, enhancing budget-tracking and progress-monitoring for successful implementation of the project.
Updates about project activities give us information about the changes happening at the community level. DORP is writing the updates for all field and central staff to share information about daily activities.
Upazilla co-ordinator, DORP, Kuliarchar have signed an MoU with headteacher and assistant teacher of the Emad Uddin High School at Saloa Union, Kuliarchar. Mbarara – On Friday 11 July 2014, Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment made a commitment to work towards the provision of safe and adequate drinking water.
At the event, members of the Dutch WASH Alliance advocated for a catchment-based approach to water resources management (CB WRM) and highlighted the results of the two-year Rwambu Catchment Pilot Project. The CB WRM approach offers a bird’s eye view to managing water resources in a catchment and identifies the links between upstream use and downstream impact. The Rwambu Catchment project will serve as a successful case study for the Ministry of Water and Environment to scale-up this approach throughout the country. The organisations implementing the Rwambu Catchment Project were brought together under the umbrella of the Dutch WASH Alliance, with funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Trade and Development Cooperation and a grant from The International Fund for Agricultural Development. There was GLoWS (Guided Learning on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) workshop to EWA participants and other WASH stakeholders held on 8-10 July, 2014 at Addis Ababa. This training of trainer (TOT) workshop enabled the trainees to discuss what GLoWS is, why and how we are implementing which created a better understanding of the essence and processes. As it was one of the objective of the workshop is also to discuss on the draft module for rainwater harvesting technologies which is expected to be used as a part of GLoWS capacity building training to practitioners at local levels. The grassy hillsides and vast forests around  Rwambu wetland in south-western Uganda are not only a beautiful sight to see – it is fertile land which sustains agricultural based livelihoods, such as coffee, tea, bananas and beans.
In the not so distant past, the people of Rwambu were up against a quickly shrinking water table, largely created by agricultural expansion and bad management of the wetland. For decades, situations such as in Rwambu have been and are often still dealt with in a traditional development approach, through the installation of wells, boreholes and latrines. In my recent visit to the Rwambu wetlands, I was inspired by what I saw – water supply and sanitation infrastructure had been developed in harmony with the landscape, optimising on Mother Nature’s natural functions.
Uphill, stones were stacked at farmer’s fields to allow for rainwater to infiltrate the ground, in turn stopping soil erosion.
Trees were planted at the bald spots high in the catchment, allowing further recharging of the water table.
Downstream, former leaky latrines were replaced by functional ones and strategically relocated to avoid any contamination of present water sources. The wetland was demarcated and zoning was introduced, allowing community members to fetch water, feed cattle, catch fish and harvest medicinal plants and reeds at separated, best located places in the wetland.
Farming within the wetland area was banned and affected families compensated with alternative livelihood options higher up in the catchment.
The combination of all these working with nature solutions has brought back the water table to a level where former dry points once again supply water. The Nepal WASH Alliance has nine partners who have been using Akvo RSR and Akvo FLOW in their respective WASH projects. Below: watch the playlist of video interviews with the participants of the Akvo partner hero photo shoot. The partners at Nepal WASH Alliance have a sound sense of the water, sanitation and hygiene challenges their country is facing. Nepal is one of the first countries within the WASH Alliance to use Akvo FLOW as a data collection tool.
The five WASH Alliance partners featured in the Akvo partner hero photo shoot that took place in Nepal implement water, sanitation and hygiene programmes working with community groups and local government. Below: the administrative zones where the five partners are working and total number of points mapped up to March 2014. Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) works in sustainable community development through integrated programmes including aspects of environment and public health.
Lumanti is dedicated to improving the socio-economic conditions of the urban poor in Nepal. Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) is a national NGO that provides water and sanitation services to communities through collaborative development projects.
Below: behind the scenes at the Akvo partner heroes photo shoot in Nagarkot in 10 March 2014. It’s called Ako RSR Up and is designed and created to Upload project Updates from Android devices.
We’ll continue to provide updated versions to the stores over the coming weeks so you can automatically get access to the latest changes and features we implement. If you have feedback on the app, want to make a suggestion or request you can also do this easily via the comments within the Google Play store or within the settings menu of the app itself. There are three types of data in international development projects; the good, the bad and the ugly. Last year the Nepal and Bangladesh WASH Alliance consortia took the lead with using Akvo FLOW to measure the outcomes of their interventions to improve access to clean water.
Because we could see the analysed data on FLOW as soon as data collection was completed, learning from it was applied immediately. Similarly, my Akvo colleague Rajashi and I are now working with the Bangladesh WASH Alliance, so that future monitoring is based on good quality data. Lastly, the outcome monitoring exercise in Nepal and Bangladesh started in November and ended in December 2013. Since the formulation of National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan, 2011 by Government of Nepal (GoN), there has been an overwhelming progress in the Sanitation sector mainly, construction of sanitation facilities and declaration of Open Defecation Free (ODF) zones. Putting these achievements aside, it has also been important to take a pause and ponder upon the actual impact and change in behaviour of the communities where the services have been delivered. Moving ahead from the usual paper-based monitoring, Biogas Sector Partnership-Nepal (BSP-Nepal) first piloted FLOW in May 2012 to monitor technical and socio-economic impact of rainwater harvesting projects in Pachkhal VDC of Kavrepalanchowk district, Nepal.
Zo zijn wij penvoerder van de WASH Alliance en het Going for Gold programma, onderdeel van de SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) Alliance, het Football voor Water consortium, het More than Brides programma en mede organisator van Wandelen voor Water.

The Financial Project Controller reports to the Director Finance & Operations , in close collaboration with the Senior Financial Controller and Programme Officers at the Simavi head office in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Therefore, five participants from partner organisations from Benin, Kenya, Mali and Uganda participated in high-impact learning visits this year. Jane from Practical Action in Kenya was keen on learning more about how her organisation could scale up its WASH financing model by increasingly involving the private sector and by using low-cost innovative technologies. As a follow-up, the five participants share their gained knowledge with colleagues in their organisations and with other members of their country alliances.
Since I started working for Akvo I’ve been working with updates and collected data that were sent to me directly from the field. Although a big food in schools programme has been launched, many kids are still not guaranteed to get meals in school. However, Barnabas ensures me that with better monitoring systems it becomes much harder for corrupt aid workers to keep up appearances. And there will be lots of room to connect and share experiences in applying practical solutions to water, food and energy in developing countries. Positively, Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) did in fact show interest in using Akvo FLOW for mapping WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) status and damages in its intervention VDCs of Gorkha district. By the end the of the day, we finalized five set of rapid surveys – VDC (Village Development Committee) Level Information, Public Institution Assessment, Temporary Shelter Assessment, Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) System Assessment and Water Supply (WS) Scheme Assessment. People know them by the work they do and the toil they put into changing different aspects of village life. Although we too faced requests of some immediate shelters to those who still were not provided with, the community warmly welcomed the objective of our assessment.
The soon approaching monsoon can be a serious hindrance to maintain safe shelter and hygienic living conditions; hence it should be wisely considered while planning support to normalize the life of people living in Gorkha. Among them, families of four enumerators were direct victims of the earthquake and lost their homes, cattle and one even lost her cousin in this destruction.
Finally, the people of all fourteen villages, who despite in their time of severe pain and loss supported the enumerators with real information and facts during data collection, need to be thanked. Let’s hear what Eric Chimsi, Country Coordinator Ghana, has to tell us about this ambitious promise. Scaling up or acceleration is when the interventions take place in other locations using more institutionalized  arrangements and resulting in more  results at lower costs, rather than just ‘copy paste’ the original model or idea.
It is a multi-stakeholder consortium where players deliver activities covering the full range of the waste cycle – from the provision of improved solid waste management mechanisms to the safe re-use of products obtained from the organic wastes. Latrine construction artisans have been trained to construct standard facilities (which conform to the national specifications).
For example if government Health Officers are trained on sustainable sanitation, they can create demand for it among the population (without NGOs needing subsidy for this). We are working together towards a society where all people are able to assert and realize their right to sustainable access to safe drinking water in sufficient quantities, adequate sanitation and hygienic living conditions in order to improve their health, nutritional status and economic living standard.
We currently have 8 members, who have decades of experience in working on Water, Sanitation & Hygiene projects all over Bangladesh. While there, I travelled from Kampala to Jinja together with my colleague Andrew, our driver Mozes and photographer Papa Shabani, to carry out an Akvo partner hero photo shoot.
Participants practised calibrating GPS, interviewing each other with a demo survey and uploading the collected data to the FLOW dashboard. They became inspired after receiving training and from then they started to share their regular practices online.
DORP is using Akvo RSR to give updates on project activities regularly and to give them online visibility. This is being measured by Akvo RSR as it gives us a synopsis of activities being performed at field level.
In the near future the Budget Monitoring Club and NGO Network (platforms at Upazila level for advocacy of the community and service providers) could also follow project updates through RSR. What we would like to see according to the Theory of Change is that community people become aware of the WASH budget through campaigns and promotional activities. Also WASH Alliance members can read the updates and they are able to incorporate our best practices into their own activities. This is a platform for local communities involving monthly meetings at Upazila level, which should be attended by a representative from the Department of Public Health Engineering, an Upazila Health & Family Planning Officer or an Upazila Nirbhahi Officer as a guest speaker. The High Level Event, consisting of Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, local organisations, international NGOs and donors, focused on the creation of an action plan to scale-up efforts to provide safe and clean drinking water across the country. Callist, Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation, Ministry of Water and Environment. Some of the many objectives are to sustainably recharge water sources to increase access to clean water, reduce water-borne diseases and bring all beneficiaries in the catchment to the same table. The loss of fertile soil, surface water runoff, water pollution and water-borne diseases were commonplace before the application of nature-based solutions advocated by Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), RAIN Foundation and Wetlands International. Since GLoWS has been implemented in EWA and some other stakeholders, the workshop has given opportunity to discuss about the experience so far in the implementation since the start up, the lessons that can up taken for the future.
More often than not, such infrastructure response to water and sanitation problems is disconnected from the ecosystem it occupies, leading to poor water and waste management at the catchment level.
Specific beneficial plant and animal species have returned to the wetland and the prevalence of malaria and cholera decreased. They have developed technical know-how and innovative expertise that can be applied across different regions and settings. Its successful uptake can be attributed to the enthusiasm and support of the Nepalese partners.
With the support of the Dutch WASH Alliance, it is carrying out a project to improve water and sanitation facilities for poor, marginalised and disadvantaged groups, especially women and children.
Through its WASH Alliance project in the Gorkha and Baglung districts, NEWAH intends to help more than 60,000 people by giving 31 communities access to safe drinking water and environmental sanitation, and teaching them to manage these systems effectively and practice key hygiene behaviour. The water also helps people to nurture kitchen gardens, thereby improving food & nutritional conditions and providing additional income for more than 300 households. Well we’re super pleased to announce that we have completed this test run and are ready to launch this to the big wide world! This means the people collecting data have pre-decided what it is going to look like and the people demanding that data are disinterested in its quality.
It was collected with honest intentions, the people asking the questions knew exactly why, the format they used had no leading questions, good proxy indicators were used, and conclusions were arrived at by looking at the data on the spread sheet and not pre-decided during data collection by the data collector. And more importantly, data collecting organisations need to understand that the questions they ask should help them to implement their project better. As this is household data, it is not made public, however the aggregated data will be published in time.
The outcome-monitoring format in Nepal was redesigned with the active participation of the monitoring and evaluation lead person at the Nepal WASH Alliance Jurrie de Hart, WASH Alliance representatives and myself. With a new and more robust questionnaire in place (and we can keep improving it) we will get good data, which can be shared openly (at an aggregated level) and also provided to the Government of Nepal.
As an advocacy organisation, they needed a different set of monitoring questions to measure their progress. And by March 2014 we have already redesigned the questionnaire based on the results and redeployed it for baseline data collection in Nepal. When the two come together, magic happens. We are booking the front seats for seeing this happen on the dashboard. This movement has brought every stakeholder working in the sector of Sanitation into close coordination from the local level to the regional and in the national level as well.
The nation-wide approach of universal coverage in access to sanitation has somewhere left the issues of functionality and sustainability unanswered.
The process was supported by Akvo and RAIN Foundation – International NGO from Netherlands. De Senior Corporate Communication Officer is verantwoordelijk voor de positionering van Simavi richting de institutionele en internationale financiers, (internationale) beleidsmakers, de ontwikkelingssamenwerkingssector, (internationale) pers en overige corporate stakeholders.
They travelled to Kenya, Uganda and Cambodia to learn more about sustainable and scalable WASH approaches. John from USSIA in Uganda travelled to Cambodia to visit programmes dealing with innovative sanitation technologies and the construction of affordable pit latrines. This way, partner organisations in their countries can benefit from their experiences and together they can discuss how to best include the innovation in their country programme.
Although I’ve seen a thousand different pictures of rusty water wells and pale pink sanitation blocks appear on my computer screen, I never experienced first hand how Akvo tools are used.
While we visit a school to pilot our survey on WASH in schools, the headmaster tells me about the problems they face as a rural school. He’s very enthusiastic about the capacity of Akvo FLOW to capture not just sample data, but details of all of the WASH facilities that are supposed to be built. It might be a small solution to a big problem, but I’m confident that 20 new and motivated people will contribute to transparency and knowledge about the aid effectiveness of our programmes. And as anticipated, heaps of support entered the country, even generated internally, and we saw like never before, tremendously unorganised and poorly coordinated system working amidst devastation. Gorkha is one of the most affected districts and Barpak, the first epicenter of this mega earthquake, is one of the villages in Gorkha.
This also involved learning the real-time steps needed to initiate and conduct data collection in such a time of emergency. We spent the day there collecting photographs and stories, interacting with the community about their constraints following the devastation and also testing a new survey created in the dashboard to collect geographic shapes of the damaged households and temporary shelters. When I went to the villages with NEWAH, an NGO working for two decades in rural Nepal, I could see the faith they had developed in the heart of people where they worked. I also witnessed that many physical structures of water-sanitation facilities had survived the quake and most of the community were still practicing hygiene behavior they had been taught. While collecting data from the villages, they all had to spend their nights in tents out in open spaces or nearby forests. For example, in order to be able to accelerate it is very important that people and businesses have access to WASH loans from a financial institute.
They have been trained on how to develop business plans and how to organize, register and work as cooperatives, so that they can apply for loans from a Micro Finance Institute to expand their business.
And if private sector is trained on building good quality toilets and people can get a loan so that they can afford it, NGOs don’t need to build infrastructure, and scaling can take place.
There we met Dorcas, Patricks and Mike from the Health Office Diocese of Jinja, an implementing partner of Connect4Change. For most participants it was the first time they had practiced mobile data collection using Akvo FLOW. We showed them how to export data to Excel to create reports and how to make maps and graphs. There is a lot of scope to share our information with a wide range of audiences and tell them about our activities. This leads to demand for WASH services and therefore participation in the union budget process.

It brings success to our projects thanks to the sharing of best practices across all areas.
From the RSR updates it is clear whether there was a guest speaker present at the meeting and necessary feedback can be provided in a timely manner.
He stressed that if the government does not ensure safe drinking water, they are infringing on people’s human rights. With the introduction of low-cost technologies, such as stone bunds and check dams placed uphill, the speed of surface water has been reduced, giving water the time it needs to infiltrate the soil and recharge the groundwater. As a result, water supply, both for drinking and household needs, was in very short supply. Health, wellbeing and development of communities living in the area are regularly jeopardised, outbreaks of water-related diseases continue, and pollution of water sources and shrinking of natural resources are common occurrences.
For me, this is real evidence that a paradigm shift towards more ecological based development has taken place. Lumanti follows the FIETS sustainability approach and always aims to secure the full participation of the community in all its activities. We’ve made an intructional YouTube video and also provided user documentation within the apps GitHub repository. This kind of data is often collected under a tree, or in a community centre, while sipping on cups of tea.
2,800 households’ were surveyed in Nepal to understand how the projects were coming along. This is now being used for developing a new baseline for Nepal WASH Alliance, on the basis of which outcomes will be tracked from now on. In the process the WASH Alliance can set new benchmarks in Nepal’s water sector through transparent reporting and data sharing.
Monitoring such a wide range of projects means that partners need customised monitoring formats based on the nature of their activities, which should then be aligned at both the national level and with Dutch WASH Alliance (DWA) indicators. Formation of Coordination Committees at different levels, linkage to other WASH actors in accelerating the Sanitation movement and mobilization of communities following the ground of Equity and Inclusion has come into the picture of national WASH scenario. To check upon this, there is an urgent need of monitoring and analysis of how the services are being taken by the communities. Their visits were facilitated by three ambassadors of change from partner organisations from Ghana and Bangladesh and by our learning partner Avance.
In Uganda, Bonaventure and Edmond from EEA in Benin, visited inspiring CLTS projects and met with many different stakeholders such as local government officials, representatives of a women’s saving group and  artisans. Now I had to prepare enumerators for the Outcome Measurement 2015 project in Ghana, one of the eight countries that the WASH Alliance International is active in, to measure the impact of the past five years of work.Being able to lead this training session in Ghana was a great opportunity for me.
While WASH facilities are improved, he admits that a lack of school meals makes it impossible for some of the kids to attend their classes. Lack of knowledge about on-the-ground realities and unavailable data for planning the response were major reasons for this chaotically “hung” situation. To avoid it from worsening further and support in our own way, we started bringing in together all our partners who were using Akvo tools to make them useful for assessing all sort of ground information and bring it into a platform to share among all concerned. Taranath Paudel, PME Officer at NEWAH to orient a team of sixteen people who were assigned the responsibility of collecting data from the quake-affected villages.
After completing all the survey forms following proper procedures of interaction with the local stakeholders and community, we were ready to start data collection. The following day, I returned to Kathmandu with lessons and memories of teamwork, dedication, technology, endurance, hope and optimism. In the tough time when relief like tents and tarpaulins, food and medicinal items were the most anticipated ones, we had nothing to offer them but merely collecting information about their status, instead.
The regular aftershocks that occurred during the data collection were always threat to them.
Zoomlion, which is a waste management company, handles solid waste management in the urban area.
From Jinja we travelled another two hours over an unpaved road to Wesunire, Buyende District, where Sister Anne Prisca runs a healthcare centre, together with a clinical officer and the health workers. However, some had already been using the tool for some surveys and they explained why they preferred to use FLOW over manual data collection: because it is easier, faster and more accurate.
DORP measures the output of these activities on a regular basis to find out which areas are in which stage of progress and if this is in line with the targets that have been set. The comments on Akvo RSR from different stakeholders could also be helpful for the project as they could help organisations to implement changes in their activities if necessary, and could provide a way to reach more people thus creating output in a cohesive way. The WASH Alliance members get updates of our activities regularly which they can also share with different network members in other ways such as seminars, workshops and conferences. Although each area faces its own challenges related to geography, culture and socio-economic conditions, they can tackle these using examples from RSR.
Women and children were forced to walk two hours down the hillsides to the wetland in the valley to access water. In line with this, it has conceived the FIETS sustainability principles: Financial, Institutional, Environmental, Technological and Social sustainability. It also supports existing women’s groups through micro finance initiatives and facilitates WASH awareness and infrastructure construction activities through school- and community-led approaches. This data may make some sense, maybe somewhat useful, but doesn’t make for great analysis. There are total 12 ODF Districts, out of 75 that include 1,111 Village Development Committees (VDCs) and Municipalities all around Nepal out of 3,915 VDCS and 58 municipalities.
To monitor the quality and impact of service deliveries made in Sanitation, there has been no robust mechanism of monitoring adopted yet. Between 2013 and 2014, these ambassadors of change were part of a learning programme about sustainable approaches which could result in the provision of water and sanitation for all.
Mamadou from WaterAid in Mali also travelled to Uganda to see how the Ugandan approaches in the area of scalable systems for sanitation could be used and replicated in Mali. Hence, it was decided that the assessment would be done in these fourteen villages after designing assessment questionnaires, enumerator orientation and a field test.
Eight days after my return, 735 data points from VDCs, temporary shelters, public institutions, RWH systems and WS Scheme Systems were collected using Akvo FLOW, by 16 enumerators from 14 VDCs of Gorkha district. Before visiting Gorkha, I had heard incidents from other places where people had expressed their anger to those who were in the community for similar assessments. But all these didn’t hinder their sense of responsibility and they came out as true heroes.
DeCo is a group of private entrepreneurs who use organic waste as raw material for making compost. People from other villages in that area come to the health centre to see a doctor or to get treatment and medicines. Our central office does a daily follow up of project activities using Akvo RSR and gives feedback to all areas regarding practices. People from other countries who are involved with Akvo RSR are able to read and learn about the updates instantly, which can serve as an example for them.
As field staff can see the updates from other regions they can perform activities at the same pace and overcome similar challenges. Lumanti’s work is spread across three wards of the Kohalpur municipality in the Banke district of Nepal. Hence if the idea is to construct a water filter, data will be made to show that people in the project area are suffering endlessly from diarrhoea, cholera and skin rashes. Since the coverage has gone national, so should be the monitoring in both output and outcome level. Their role in this years’ learning exchange was to share their previously gained knowledge and to help the five participants to make their own projects more innovative and scalable. I have spent a great deal of time studying the complex political situations in different African regions, but I’m ashamed to say that until last week I’ve never actually set foot in Africa.
For this, Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit (SEIU) under Ministry of Urban Development supported the mobile devices needed for data collection. It was obvious that their psychological stress had came out when despite being needy for immediate relief, they were being asked with questions that would only made them revisit those traumatic moments they had passed by. I also thank Nepal WASH Alliance, NEWAH, Dutch WASH Alliance and my colleagues at Akvo who showed immense support and coordination in this task with such an ease that working in the field was not at all a problem. Urbanet is a network of urban farmer groups who use organic compost to produce organic food and vegetables, whiles the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly fulfils its role by providing the legal backing and operational space for the players to operate in a supervised manner. With the support of Connect4Change, the Diocese of Jinja is using Akvo FLOW to conduct patient satisfaction surveys at health care facilities and within the community. Most participants had not updated their projects since August 2013 so it was helpful to have an opportunity to reinvigorate them in the art of making good project updates.
It also helps mid level management to understand the pathway of each project in the context of the Theory of Change. Recently a team from Nepal consisting of two organisations visited Bangladesh to see and learn about our activities (in particular budget tracking) for their own organisations. It frustrated me that I was trying to understand the highly complex dynamics at play, without any frame of reference.From the moment I stepped off the plane in Accra until the moment of take-off to return to Amsterdam, I tried to soak up as many impressions of Ghana as I could.
With the information they receive they are able to give feedback to health workers and improve the services provided. A platform like Akvo RSR helps a lot by giving visual outputs of activities and best practices and sharing them in a timely way via a single platform.
Akvo RSR is online so all staff can get information easily and share it with relevant community people. Because it is fictional, cannot be used for any good purpose, and looks really bad when shared. The paper based monitoring that has been used as the only tool till date will surely not bring up quality data leaving the analysis vague and difficulty in making decisions to plan way forward.
The elegant ladies in beautiful dresses carrying heavy loads on their heads, toddlers tied to their mother’s back with colourful cloths, men seeking shelter from the scorching sun under umbrella trees, and the stories of my colleague Barnabas Apom (freelance consultant and founder of Researchlime)  – what could I learn from them? An enabling environment for technical support is needed and new people need to be trained on using the tool. Updates then get further shared in different platforms at a local and national level by people or organisations involved who get to know about our activities and commend us on our best practices, which is inspiring for our staff. Here comes in the introduction of Akvo FLOW, a mobile and web-based data collection and analytical tool that uses a mobile phone and an interactive dashboard in presence of internet service. Sharing progress with donors on a daily basis is another significant aim of using Akvo RSR. If you are looking at ugly data, I suggest you use your Joo Junta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive sunglasses. We can measure the success and monitor the progress of our activities and where we are now in Upazila, Bagerhat District in Bangladesh, as we can get regular information from the platform easily.
Electricity and internet service is not smooth in rural areas of Bangladesh so using mobiles to make updates is helpful to share things instantly.

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