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.


charmermark said...


Thanks for your very kind words. I'm in India for two weeks and will try to share what I'm learning out here about making project reporting more visible. I'm spending most of the time with Arghyam, a very interesting NGO focused on water and sanitation.

Keep in touch,

zenrainman said...

Would be interested in knowing more about the Eco-village project.
zenrainman at