• Written by Kathelyne van den Berg
    13 February 2020

Breakthrough innovations in information technology are transforming the way the world works. These changes are also having a profound effect on development cooperation. Digitalisation creates opportunities as well as risks, and these need to be addressed in a responsible and ethical way. We see new large players entering the development sector on their own conditions. At Akvo, we believe that this is only the beginning of profound changes in the development sector that will affect all of us. We strive to put innovation at the heart of our organisation and always aim to stay on top of trends in the sector. With a new strategy as a data solutions provider and a new set of opportunities and challenges, we are looking for a CEO to lead Akvo towards 2030.

 

After six years as Akvo’s director, Jeroen van der Sommen has decided to step down to make room for new and visionary leadership. Since 2006, Akvo has been looking for ways to improve development aid through data and technology. Jeroen has been there since the beginning. Together with Thomas Bjelkeman and Peter van der Linde, Jeroen sparked the Akvo phenomenon while he was the director of the Netherlands Water Partnership.

 

“Setting up Akvo is one of the proudest achievements in my career. I’m looking forward to working side by side with the new CEO to ensure success for Akvo’s next phase of growth,” Jeroen van der Sommen.

Initially acting as chairman of Akvo’s supervisory board, Jeroen became the director of the organisation in 2014 together with Thomas and me. He has been instrumental in our growth from a start-up to a scale-up, leading our partnerships with governments and multilateral institutions. Jeroen is always looking for ways to revamp and disrupt the development aid sector through data and digitalisation, and his efforts have kept us at the forefront of data for development. He will continue at Akvo to focus on business development and operations in West Africa.

“We are extremely lucky to have someone like Jeroen ignite such a transformative organisation with a huge multiplier effect," Rob de Vos, Chairman of the supervisory board.

Jeroen-presenting

 

Global trends are transforming the development aid sector. Akvo is part of that change.

Akvo has worked at the intersection of IT and development since its inception. We began by developing a set of open source software tools to help non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments become more effective, transparent and collaborative. Within the fast-changing landscape of data and development, it soon became apparent that data informed decision making is about more than just software. It’s about transforming the way organisations work with data, all the way from designing programmes to acting upon insights and generating results. With breakthrough innovations in information technology continuing to have a profound effect on development cooperation, it’s also about ensuring that data is used responsibly and ethically. 

 

Our journey towards 2030

Currently, we offer data services supported by a data platform to help our partners improve their development programmes. We’ve built the data skills of over 15,000 people and support over 200 partners in 70 countries in data for development. Our focus for the next decade will be on building capacities in NGOs, businesses and governments, as well as developing and maintaining future-proof data systems. Our focus areas are safe water for all and sustainable smallholder farming in East and West Africa - the areas where we believe we can have the biggest impact. 

 

Kathelyne van den Berg

"Kathelyne van der Berg is Akvo's Chief Financial Officer and has been a co-director of the organisation since 2014. You can follow her on Twitter @Kathelyne

Posted in: Inside Akvo