Sunday, 23 November 2008
Mark Charmer and Akvo
Wednesday 19th November I met with Mark Charmer at Akvo's office in Bermondsey. Mark is co-founder and communications director of Akvo
I came across Akvo earlier this year on the Internet and was interested to see that its work is water and sanitation. I am not a "water and sanitation activist" but I am a realist, and I know my priorities. Every time I am going to a new location in Africa I want to know "What do we need to do about water?" and "What's it going to be like to go to the loo when we get there?" I know the way that some people have to "just manage" with no facilities at all, so when someone is doing something to improve water and sanitation I want to know more.
I discovered that Akvo works with partners at various locations in Africa. Hence my contact with Mark, to find out if Akvo might be interested in Attachab Eco-Village. Mark and I first met face to face a few months back, when I was getting ready to travel. We bumped into each other again at OpenEverything. I was recently back from Attachab Eco-Village and so we arranged our catch-up meeting for 19th November.
It happened that Vinay Gupta arrived in the UK to work with Mark on November 19th, so I was able to meet Vinay too. I will write more about him separately.
You can read more about Mark on Akvo's "team" page
My appreciation of Mark increases each time I meet him (not just for who he is, and what he does, but also that he finds the money to do it) so I am ready to follow whatever advice he cares to give me. That is why I am now obediently tweeting on Twitter.
I hope we will find an opportunity to collaborate on a project sometime. Mark and I are in agreement that one of the key issues regarding funding is feedback, so that people can see what is being achieved with their money. Given that John Dada and I have been collaborating for years we do know a thing or two about ICT enabled communication between rural Nigeria and the UK. I am hoping this will help John's Attachab Eco-Village project to be front of the queue next time Akvo is looking for partners.