Stories of change with Akvo

“How are we supposed to produce compelling communications material when we barely have time to manage our existing projects?” This challenge is all too common in the international development sector, driven by persistent budget uncertainty and endless to-do lists.

As a result, most organisations focus their limited resources on meeting reporting requirements and do not produce content that shows off their valuable and inspiring stories of change, which are ultimately consigned to memory and the pages of unread project reports.

After seeing too many missed opportunities and uninspiring productions, we decided to partner with Akvo to pilot a different approach to reporting. Instead of telling, we wanted to show; instead of jargon and reporting lingo, we removed all language; and instead of recruiting international professionals to put in front of the camera, we focused on the real people working on each project. And we tried to keep the time cost and the budget as low as possible.

With a rapid project crash course from each project manager, collaborative storyboarding and a run-and-gun video setup, we worked with each project team for anywhere between four and eight hours to capture the necessary footage. The result was an easily replicable methodology and a series of three photo stories and two (soon to be three) short videos that aim to provide a genuine, authentic and engaging window into the real world and real people behind each project.

- Stefan & Jonathan


Part 1: Innovative water testing with Kopernik

Achieving universal access to safe and affordable drinking water is an ongoing challenge in many parts of the world. In remote areas of Bali, for example, E. coli contamination in natural drinking water sources - like rivers and streams - regularly causes severe illness.

Kopernik Solutions is a non-profit organisation working to find innovative ways of reducing poverty. In 2018, Kopernik received a grant to perform E. coli tests using innovative technologies. Kopernik partnered with Akvo to develop a quick and effective water quality testing solution, which has been adopted to monitor drinking water in Bali.

With better quality data on the nature and scale of water contamination, Kopernik and its partners hope to develop a range of targeted mitigation measures to continue improving the accessibility of safe and affordable drinking water.


Part 2: Smart agriculture with SMARTSeeds

Indonesia’s government is aiming for 100% food self-sufficiency by improving farm techniques, promoting climate-smart agriculture, improving efficient use of inputs, and increasing the knowledge of farmers on Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) around the country. However, the adverse effects of climate change - such as extreme weather and uncertain rainy seasons - is a growing challenge for small-scale farmers.

SMARTseeds is a public-private partnership of seven organisations from Indonesia and the Netherlands, each working to support vegetable farmers in Indonesia. SMARTseeds aims to implement a financially sustainable information service to help 100,000 vegetable farmers increase their production, income, and food security, while also reducing the inputs of water, fertiliser, and pesticides.


Part 3: rapid monitoring with WWF

Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South East Asia, and offers an incredible diversity of scenery, flora and fauna. The oceans around Bali are fragile ecosystems, and are home to many species that are at risk from tourism, development, fishing and agriculture.

WWF is working with government, businesses and the community to invest in a healthy marine environment. Sustainable fishing lies at the heart of their work; people’s livelihoods and food security are now more important than ever, and coastal ecosystems bear the burden of the majority of the world’s population.

Collecting data on marine by-catch and monitoring endangered turtle populations are just some of the activities the WWF carries out. By highlighting the importance of healthy oceans, they aim to end support for damaging activities, restore critical fish stocks and create an environment that can benefit many generations in developing countries.