Akvo is an entrepreneurial software foundation. We combine the dynamics of an internet startup with the experience of development institutions. We were founded in the Netherlands and have staff in seven countries, backed by a strong network of investors.
Follow our team Twitter list.
Peter van der Linde, co-founder and co-director
Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson, co-founder and co-director
Mark Charmer, co-founder and communications director
Kathelyne van den Berg, manager, partner operations
Peter van der Linde, co-founder and co-director
Peter is a co-founder of Akvo and has directed partner relationships since autumn 2006. Combining considerable field experience with a large contact network, he is a 'connector' between governmental organisations, corporates, NGOs and knowledge institutes. Peter leads Akvo's funding and implementation deals with international development institutions, banks, companies, implementation NGOs and other investors. He ensures that Akvo's first tools meet the needs of our initial investor and implementation NGO partners. Previously a programme manager at the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), he combines technical knowledge of water management with the ability to mobilise an extensive, high level network of water and sanitation changemakers across the world. He has an MSc in integrated water management and disaster studies from Wageningen University. Follow Peter on Twitter @petervdl.
Kathelyne van den Berg, manager, partner operations
Kathelyne coordinates activity with support, field and funding partners. She helps Akvo scale its partner relationships smoothly, expanding the number and quality of projects in the system and helping partners understand what is possible. She also leads Akvo's participation in the Connect4Change consortium. She has a background in the supervision and auditing of water management programmes. Before joining Akvo, Kathelyne was an inspector and auditor at the Inspectorate Transport and Water Management (IVW) where she analysed results and informed and advised policymakers and adminstrators in central government. She has an MSc and BSc in International Land and Water Management from Wageningen University and has worked on awareness-raising around irrigation and watershed management in field situations in Peru, Bangladesh and Jordan. You can find her on Twitter @kathelyne and she's based in our Amsterdam office.
Luuk Diphoorn, manager, East Africa hub
Luuk leads Akvo's project activities with our NGO partners in East Africa and steers the expansion of our new hub at the NaiLab in Nairobi, Kenya. This includes identifying appropriate projects to upload to the Akvo system, gathering the relevant content from each organisation and training teams on how to share regular updates. He is also a lead producer and reporter for WaterCube, our video channel profiling people and issues in the water and sanitation sector. Luuk graduated in 2007 with an MA in International Development Studies from the University of Utrecht. Having grown up in Burundi, Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, he has worked on several international development programmes including the World Water Dome in Johannesburg (2002) and a project to assess environmental impact at the IWMI in Colombo in Sri Lanka (06/07). You can find Luuk on Twitter at: @luukdiphoorn
Mark Tiele Westra, Programme manager and Akvopedia editor
Mark is a key member of the team developing and deploying Akvo FLOW. He also plays a lead role for Akvo in the Dutch WASH Alliance. Mark was the founding editor of Akvopedia and supports the online community which feeds it, adding and improving content and helping others do the same. He combines technical knowledge on sustainable, simple water technology with broad technical editorial experience. Studying physics and philosophy of technology at Technical University of Twente, he holds a PhD in physics from the Eindhoven Technical University. Previously head of communication of a Dutch scientific institute working on nuclear fusion, he also led communications for the European Fusion programme and international fusion experiment, ITER. On the Working Group on Development Techniques (WOT), at University of Twente, he develops and disseminates knowledge of simple technology for using wind, water and solar power in developing countries. He has conducted technical training on rope pumps in Nicaragua and Tanzania. He joined Akvo at the end of 2008. Follow him on Twitter @mtwestra.
Jeroen van der Sommen, co-founder
Jeroen is responsible for managing the Akvo FLOW business, ensuring the product achieves financial sustainability and is developed so it can scale and meet the needs of our partners. He works to achieve a balance in Akvo's international activities, ensuring support is available in countries where it's needed. He also leads the introduction of Akvo's products into development programmes in West Africa. Until March 2012, he was chairman of Akvo's board. Jeroen ignited the Akvo phenomenon after meeting Thomas Bjelkeman at Stockholm World Water Week in summer 2006 and has steered Akvo's evolution to ensure it is relevant to, and supported by, a wide range of implementation NGOs, funding partners and global institutions. He started his career as a geologist in Burkina Faso in 1982 and holds an MSc. in Hydrology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He worked throughout the 1980s in countries such as Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Niger, Mali, Indonesia and India, managing water supply and management projects on behalf of organisations such as the World Bank and the European Union. In 1998, Jeroen founded the Netherlands Water Partnership, where he built a dynamic network of over 200 member organisations that collaborate.
Frodo van Oostveen, programme manager
Frodo runs Akvo's relationships with corporate and foundation partners, including business and consumer brands. He has extensive experience as a project manager in events, public affairs, marketing and communication. He worked at ABN AMRO bank for seven years. He was public relations and event manager for Team ABN AMRO in the Volvo Ocean Race, where he managed non-stop, for 11 months, marketing and events at each port of call on the 2005/6 race, and was corporate hospitality manager the following year. He later became a business manager in ABN AMRO's global public affairs team, reviewing sponsorship and stakeholder partnerships and developing new sports-related initiatives. In 2010 he joined the Netherlands Water Partnership as senior program manager, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, developing "Water2020", a strategic vision for the Dutch water sector. He has an MBA from Radboud University Nijmegen. His bachelors degree is in Marketing and Commercial Economics from Tilburg University, where he majored in sports marketing and management. In 2008 Frodo was nominated and selected as "Young Professional of the Year" in the Netherlands (Volkskrant). Follow Frodo on Twitter @frodo1977.
Amitangshu Acharya, programme manager, Asia Hub
Amitangshu combines an academic background with hands-on experience managing development projects at field level. At Akvo, he manages Akvo programmes in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia and shapes new partnerships and collaboration in the region. Before joining Akvo, he worked as a project officer for Arghyam, India's first water and sanitation-focused national donor organisation. Here he selected, coordinated and evaluated water, sanitation and hygiene projects across nine states in India. He was a programme associate in the National Resource Management Division of Winrock International India (WII) where he worked on India's first Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) project. Amitangshu started his career working with tribal communities in Udaipur, Rajasthan, on common property resource management as a project officer in an UNDP project. He has a Master of Science in Environment, Culture and Society from the University of Edinburgh, UK, and a Master of Arts in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India. He is based in Delhi. You can follow him on Twitter @amitangshu
Hans Merton, project manager
Hans helps establish new programmes and consortia so partners can unleash the potential of Akvo RSR, Akvo FLOW, Akvopedia and Akvo Openaid. Hans has twenty years experience as a manager and director of programmes and divisions in the field of environmental and water management consultancy. Before joining Akvo he was a director of corporate marketing and communications and deputy director of the Environment division at Royal Haskoning. One of Europe's top project management, engineering and consultancy groups, it is the oldest consultancy firm in the Netherlands, established in 1881. As a management consultant at the firm Proven Partners, he worked for several years on knowledge management initiatives. Hans studied civil engineering, water management and sanitation as a geohydrologist at TU Delft, including a period in Burkina Faso. From University, he joined Iwaco BV as a researcher, then project manager and later regional director, leading teams focused on water management and soil & groundwater quality. He is based in the Netherlands.
Phylis Gichuru Webi, partnerships assistant, East Africa hub
Phylis is responsible for assisting with project activities for our partners in East Africa. In this role, Phylis helps train local partners on Akvo RSR and works with partners to create and update projects online. Phylis also identifies projects and organisations to partner with and assists in the administrative operations of the Akvo office at the NaiLab in Nairobi, Kenya.
Prior to joining Akvo, Phylis worked as a procurement assistant for the Mavuno Church, Nairobi Chapel, where she had a range of procurement and finance responsibilities. She has also previously held customer service and sales roles and has studied information technology at the InfoTech Training Center and the Institute of Advanced Technology. Phylis holds a diploma in Business Administration from the University of Nairobi and is currently pursuing a bachelors degree in Business Management from Kenya Methodist University. Follow Phylis on Twitter @PhylisWebi.
Laura Roverts, project manager
Laura has master and bachelor's degrees in International Development Studies from Wageningen University. She's worked as a researcher in the department of San Marcos, Guatemala, studying living with risk of natural disaster, where she also studied Spanish. In Sierra Leone, she worked with iEARN, a local NGO assisting former child soldiers and amputees. There she conducted interviews and made documentaries, and supported reintegration programmes such as computer classes and music, theatre and assertiveness workshops. Recently she has worked as a programme coordinator at Ayni Bolivia, a Bolivian NGO focused on poverty reduction and equality, and was an assistant at the Municipal of Utrecht's naturalisation office. She was a finalist in the Vodafone World of Difference 2010 competition. She's on Twitter @lauraroverts.
Winona Azure, Akvopedia editor
Winona is the main editor and content provider for Akvopedia, Akvo’s online resource for sharing knowledge on water and sanitation. Prior to joining Akvo in March 2011, she earned a BSc in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University and an urban permaculture certificate. Winona has initiated and participated in programmes with local, sustainable organisations, such as Green America & Global Exchange, Greywater Action, Habitat Media, the Coastal Watershed Council, and the University of California at San Francisco medical center. Winona has a BA in Writing and Literature from The California College of the Arts, which led her to teach English in South Korea, write and illustrate a graphic novella, study languages and travel to more than 14 countries. She understands how multicultural appreciation enables us to find common ground and how new learning experiences can better our lives through collaborative tools such as Akvopedia. She also volunteers in local hackathon events and civic app groups. Winona is based in Oakland, California. You can follow her on Twitter @noniazure.
Lissy van Noort, project officer
Lissy helps coordinate the partner team's events activity, ranging from international development conferences to the more quirky and interesting opportunities we encounter. She also helps manage the portfolio of projects that Akvo is bringing online with the Connect4Change consortium. Lissy joined Akvo at the end of 2011, having recently completed a masters degree in Socialisation and Youth Policies at Utrecht University, where she majored in Education, Youth and International Cooperation and Aid. She's spent time conducting local research In Uganda on parental participation in education and has worked for NGOs including SNV Uganda and Edukans. She also worked at our neighbours, the 1%CLUB. Follow Lissy on Twitter @lissyvn.
Francis Warui, partnership assistant, East Africa hub
Francis provides training and technical support to Akvo's NGO partners in East Africa. He has seven years' experience in the field of geographical information systems (GIS) and data management. Before joining Akvo he was a geo consultant at Upande Ltd in Nairobi, where he was part of the team that developed the VirtualKenya GIS portal. He also conducted spatial data collection (using Akvo FLOW and other tools) and provided training and technical support to Kenyan water point mapping teams. Prior to that he helped to develop data systems for the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi. As a student associate at ILRI, he was trained to work with communities in resource mapping and teaching community members practical skills related to GPS, data and GIS analysis. He has a Diploma in Information Studies and a Higher National Diploma in Library and Information Management from the Kenya Polytechnic University College, as well as an Undergraduate Diploma in Geo-informatics (with distinction) from the University of Twente. He speaks English, Swahili and Kikuyu. Follow Francis on Twitter @fnwarui.
Henry Jewell, programme manager, Akvo FLOW
Henry is responsible for Akvo FLOW partner support, providing technical support to current users and helping us understand current and future user needs. Henry joined Akvo from the World Bank where he was a geospatial analyst overseeing R&D and implementation of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques within World Bank studies and programmes. Henry's been passionate for all things geographic ever since his childhood on a farm in England. This led to many adventures on geography field trips and finally to a BSc in Marine Geography from Cardiff University and an MA in Geography from the George Washington University, where he wrote his thesis on using GIS and remotely sensed data to map variabilities in health and wealth outcomes in the neighbourhoods of Accra, Ghana. Between academic tours he worked for South African National Parks as a Social Ecologist and did a stint at Foxtons in London (complete with his own Mini). Henry loves being outdoors, running and reading.
Joyce Kent, office manager
Joyce is responsible for the day to day operations of the Akvo office in Amsterdam, including administration, human resources, facilities management and making it look gorgeous. She also supports the Akvo team on event planning. Prior to joining Akvo, Joyce worked in a range of roles helping international organisations set up local offices in Amsterdam. She also started a production company where she honed her experience in project, event and office management. Joyce studied Psychology at the University of Amsterdam.
Josje Spierings, project coordinator
Josje supports Akvo's involvement in events, such as Walking for Water and Open Data Development Camp. She is also responsible for partnerships connected to Akvo’s OpenAid product. Prior to joining Akvo, Josje was an assistant project manager at the 1%CLUB, where she helped coach project owners, organise events such as the 1%EVENT and 24 Hour Action and foster relationships with partners. She has also volunteered at the Dutch Council for Refugees, where she helped refugees learn Dutch and prepare for their Dutch integration course. Josje has a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and a BSc in Public Administration from Leiden University. Follow her on Twitter @JosjeSpierings.
Charlotte Soedjak, project officer
Charlotte works across a range of our partner programmes and helps to develop and co-ordinate our training and support tools, workshops and evaluation. Her masters degree in Tourism and Environment with International Development from Wageningen University took her to Indonesia to write a thesis on stakeholders' perspectives on tourism in Wakatobi. While there she studied Indonesian as well as volunteering to teach English. She also has a BA in Facility Management from Diedenoort University. Before moving into the development sector, Charlotte worked in a variety of facilities management and communications roles in Australia and the Netherlands. In her spare time, Charlotte has worked as an ambassador for Travel Active, leading workshops and information sessions for students and parents. Follow Charlotte on Twitter @charlottesoed.
PR and communications
Mark Charmer, co-founder and communications director
Mark joined Akvo in autumn 2006 and directs its communications. Akvo has a unique opportunity to talk more openly and directly than previous development sector projects. He ensures we tell the Akvo story in a discoverable way, inspiring audiences while managing expectations. He also improves how we describe ourselves to key groups. Mark is the producer of WaterCube.tv, our unique video channel profiling people and issues in international development. Mark has a Masters degree in Design from Central St Martins College and a BSc in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University. He brings 20 years experience running international communications for companies such as HP, Compaq, Dell and Apple and was a senior advisor to world top 3 PR agency Hill & Knowlton for eight years. He is managing director of The Movement Design Bureau, a think tank that researches advanced design related to cities, mobility, development and collaboration. He is based in London. Follow Mark on Twitter @charmermark.
Jo Pratt, communications manager
Jo has worked in marketing and communications in both the IT and non-profit sectors. For seven years, she was at Firefly Communications, a highly-regarded British technology PR agency. At Firefly she represented clients including COLT Telecom, The Core Trust, FT.com, Lucent Technology, Reuters Business Information, Sequent, TDK, Vodafone and the World Internet Forum. She later helped to lead the company's expansion into Europe, establishing its French and German operations. Jo then moved into the charity sector, initially focusing on fair trade. She was PR manager at People Tree, a fair trade and ecological fashion company, and also worked for Cafédirect and the Fairtrade Foundation. Following this she moved to national hospice charity Help the Hospices for five years, conducting marketing and PR related to its UK and international work, as well as acting as a consultant to local hospices. Her current focus at Akvo is on aspects of communication related to Akvo RSR and Openaid. Jo has a BA in French and Russian from the University of Nottingham. Follow Jo on Twitter @jo108.
Emily Armanetti, communications manager
Emily has worked in technology communications for more than 13 years. During this time, she has worked on a diverse mix of business and consumer technology campaigns for multi-national brands. After three years at a specialist technology public relations agency, Emily joined global communications consultancy Hill and Knowlton in Chicago, where she managed local, regional and global campaigns for organisations such as HP, Intel and Motorola. After four years, Emily relocated to Hill and Knowlton London where she expanded her role to include campaigns in Europe, Middle East and Africa and gained invaluable experience in cross-cultural communication. Following this, Emily spent two years at Nokia where she managed communications for the company’s music and fashion handsets. Emily has a BA in Journalism from Indiana University. She is based in Brooklyn, NY. You can find her on Twitter @earmanetti.
Linda Leunissen, illustrator and graphic designer
Linda is responsible for helping tell Akvo’s story visually. In this role, she lends her graphic design skills to many areas of the company, contributing to training materials, presentations, press materials and grant proposals. Inspired by her love of fairy tales and stories, Linda creates designs in which small stories are hidden. Prior to joining Akvo, Linda worked as a consultant for Artamuse, where she developed lesson projects about audio-visual arts for elementary schools. She also worked as a graphic designer and PR and marketing manager for ZZDP Architecten. Linda’s passion for interpretive designs and cultural heritage has led her to volunteer her time and expertise to organisations such as Centraal Museum, NorthernLight, and CODA Museum. She has also volunteered as a teacher of fine arts and cultural heritage at a number of schools in the Netherlands. Linda has a BA in Cultural Heritage from Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam and a BA in Fine Arts in Education from the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht, the Netherlands. She is based in London. You can find her on Twitter @StudioDutches.
Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson: co-founder and co-director
Thomas is a visionary systems architect and designer with both a software and environmental science background. He is our chief technology officer and steers the team to harness the maximum potential from open source methods. He began developing software ventures in Britain and California, working closely with many early-wave internet entrepreneurs. A serial entrepreneur himself, he helped introduce web technology in corporate environments during the mid-nineties. In 1994, he helped start Stellent CMS which eventually sold to Oracle. In 1997 he co-founded web analytics company ISSEL and in 1999 Zezame, which built web page annotation systems. Since 2004 Thomas has helped develop the Seawater Greenhouse, a revolutionary food production system for arid coastal regions. An advisory board member of the India Water Portal, he’s currently completing an MSc in Environmental Science at Stockholm University. Follow Thomas on Twitter @bjelkeman.
Paul Burt: web programmer
Paul writes code for the back-end of the Akvo system - the software that affects how things work, as opposed to how they look. He worked in systems admin and customer support roles before moving into Django and Python-based web development. Paul helps out with Akvo server infrastructure and has been working on our PayPal donation engine that takes and processes project donations through the site. Paul has worked in engineering and support roles for Adobe, Autodesk, the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology and the Information Security Group. He has a BA in Dutch from University College London. You can find Paul on Twitter @pycurious.
Oliver Galloway-Lunn, developer
Oliver builds the automated testing and release management tools that help the Akvo team maintain its software release schedule, so we can add new features to the system on a very frequent basis. Oliver has worked as a senior analyst developer in several major financial services firms, including BlueCrest Capital Management and Morgan Stanley, where he helped teams develop software that was more agile, higher quality and cheaper to implement. Recently he's also developed a number of iPhone apps. Oliver graduated in computer science and psychology at the University of Witwatersrand and has worked since as helpdesk manager, software developer and analyst. He lives in London. You can find him on Twitter at: @olixx
Loïc Sans, designer and front-end developer
Loïc is responsible for web design and front-end user interface for Akvo. Prior to joining Akvo, Loïc was head of design at Arkkeo Oy, where he developed their user interface, and was also involved in user experience analysis, marketing and business strategy. Prior to that, Loïc was the head of design for blinkbox, the first independent on-demand movie and television streaming service in the UK. Having joined at the inception of the company, he created the company’s visual identity and branding, as well as the first version of the website and video player. Loïc has also worked as a freelance illustrator and web designer for a diverse range of clients including photographers, fashion designers, architects and musicians. Loïc has a degree in Illustration and Computer Graphics from the Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Métiers in Paris and a DEUG from the University of Bordeaux. He is based in Helsinki. You can find Loïc on Twitter at: @loicsans
Gabriel von Heijne, co-founder and developer
Gabriel has been an independent software developer for 15 years. He works primarily in Python, the programming language upon which Akvo RSR is built, along with the website framework Django. Gabriel also leads the development and management of Akvo's web servers based on Linux/Apache and MySQL. He has been involved in a number of advanced software projects using emerging programming languages. He worked from 1999 to 2003 alongside Akvo founder Thomas Bjelkeman to build Zezame, an early AJAX-based application for web-based annotations. He has developed web applications for SEB, one of Sweden's largest banks, for Microsoft Sweden and for Gambro, a medical equipment manufacturer. Gabriel studied maths and programming at Stockholm University and physics at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). You can find Gabriel on Twitter at: @gabrie1
Daniel Karlsson, web developer
Adrian Collier, product manager, Akvo RSR
Adrian is responsible for the ongoing development of the Akvo Really Simple Reporting product. This includes managing the day to day activity of the Akvo RSR development team, evaluating the needs of our partners and maintaining a development plan that means the tool continues to evolve and improve. He also acts as a bridge internally between our developer and partner teams, helping to streamline the creation of new features, improvements and bug-fixes. Adrian’s background is in system design, particularly in the finance and banking sector. His previous roles include head of UK Operations at ZOPA Ltd, delivery channel consultant at the Royal Bank of Scotland NV and system architect at BankToTheFuture Ltd. Most recently he worked as a business consultant and system developer at Just Us Friends Inc, a charity-backed medical centre in Tanzania. He has a BSc in Business Administration and Mathematics from Aston University. Although British, he’s based at Akvo’s headquarters in Amsterdam and speaks Dutch and Swahili.
Caetie Ofiesh, product manager, Akvo FLOW
Caetie is a specialist in the design, execution and management of geospatial data collection and analysis systems. As head of program services at Gallatin Systems, she was part of the team working with Water For People on the FLOW application before Akvo took over responsibility for its ongoing development and support. As well as programme management, Caetie’s expertise encompasses academic, field and applied research. She has directed research and policy studies at the US’s National Research Council and lead a baseline assessment team in Malawi collecting and analysing water and sanitation data at Water For People. Her consultancy clients include the World Bank and Urban Soccer Concepts. She has a BA in Geology from Amherst College, Massachusetts, and an MA in Geography from George Washington University. You can find Caetie on Twitter at: @caetiefish
Stellan Lagerström, developer
Stellan is a developer, programmer and engineer who likes to work at the point where software and hardware intercept. He’s currently focused on developing Akvo FLOW, making it easier to use and more closely aligned to user needs. Until recently he was senior product engineer at the Blindsight Corporation where he created very sophisticated applications of machine vision for blind and visually impaired people. Stellan first met Akvo’s Thomas Bjelkeman and Gabriel von Heijne when they studied together at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm in the 1980s. Stellan stayed at the Institute as systems manager, eventually joining the team that built Astrid-2, a Swedish plasma physics research satellite. In the late 1990s he co-founded Concinnity, a maker of online business management tools and, in 1999, together with Thomas, the web development and management company Zezame. Stellan is based in Stockholm.
Iván Perdomo, developer
Iván is currently focused on development of the back-end workings of Akvo's software tools. Prior to joining Akvo, he spent five years at Openbravo where most recently he was the lead engineer for Openbravo Mobile and worked on the design and implementation of Openbravo 3. Iván has also worked as a software development contractor, system administrator and IT department head in other organisations. He is also a free/open source software user and advocate.
Iván has a bachelors degree in Computer Systems Engineering from the Central American University of Technology in Honduras and a diploma in Information Technologies from the Foro Europeo, Business School of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. He is based in Pamplona, but travels back to Honduras when possible to visit family. Follow him on Twitter @katratxo.
Lynn Greenwood, internal IT manager and assistant to Thomas
As well as managing our internal IT systems and supporting Thomas in his role as chief technology officer, Lynn leads our current efforts to boost the web analytics and performance data available to Akvo and its partners to continuously improve how we all work. She began her career in IT support at a distribution company in Cape Town and then London’s South Bank University. In 2002 she moved to Amsterdam to take up an IT manager role at Skynet Worldwide Express, which, three years later, took her back to London for a further eight years. She loves the way technology constantly evolves and that at Akvo she’s in a position to influence and participate in developments that will have wide-reaching social benefits. South African by birth, Lynn is now based in Sweden. She speaks English, Dutch, Afrikaans and Swedish. Follow Lynn on Twitter at @lynngre.