Star Contributor of the Month – Mexina Daniel

 

We’re recognizing Mexina Daniel of Singo Africa from Dar es Salaam, as our Star Contributor. Mexina has been one of our most active community members, making a storm of contribution on our mailing lists, wiki, and issue trackers in her role as lead software developer. She has reported nearly 3 dozen bugs, requested multiple new features including specifications for Fixed Asset Management, and fixed 10 bugs. Mexina is thorough in all her work and deeply committed to the community. Join us in thanking Mexina for her valuable efforts and we look forward to more of her leadership as Singo Africa expands its presence in Tanzania and beyond.  Read more

Google Code-In Grand Prize Trip

I remember the day, around 2 weeks before the GCI was scheduled to start, when I told Edward Cable, “Ed! I have my last semester exams from 15th November to 15th December. So I won’t be able to apply in GCI as a mentor!”. However, by the end of the week, I had realised that the organisation had given me a lot. So, I changed my mind and decided to give it a try!

During the GCI period, it was common for students to ask for help, so I talked to them, and discussed with them about various things like git and Android, helping them resolve their issues.

Believe me when I say, I wasn’t aware of the trip to Google until late January. I came to know about it from a friend, and my reaction was all surprised. “What! Which trip? Where? Where was this mentioned?”

On 7th February, I got an email from my the head of my organisation, Edward Cable, stating that I had been selected for the Google Trip. The same was confirmed by Mary Radomile soon enough.

I was extremely excited to meet Stephanie Taylor, Mary Radomile and the Open Source team.

Dinner at Google San Francisco Office (Day 1)

Anubha, the mentor from an organization called Systers, and I started out day by meeting with Edward Cable, followed by a visit to the Facebook headquarters and the LinkedIn office, both being great experiences! We came back to Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, to meet the Google Open Source team.

Later that day, I met Stephanie Taylor, Helen Hu, Mary Radomile and Josh Simmons. I felt proud! Once we had all gathered in the hotel lobby and collected our badges, we went to the Google office. There, we met with Cat Allman, one of the core members of open source team. It was extremely great meeting each of them!

As if it wasn’t already great, all the students and mentors were given various goodies (T-shirts, stickers, notebooks and a jacket for mentors, an awesome backpack for the students). To top it all off, specially for a foodie like me, we got to dig into the awesome food at Google. We spent an hour, eating and talking to the other mentors I was with: Damini Satya, Milindu Sanoj Kumarage, Rostyslav Zatserkovnyi, Anubha Kushwaha, Ignacio Rodríguez, Sam Reed and Ben Ockmore. We interacted with various students present there, with their parents. It was a great experience, and a view of several cultures all at once. Read more

Star Contributor of the Month – Maulik Soneji

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We’re recognizing Maulik Soneji  from Gandhinagar, India, as our Star Contributor for March. Maulik has only been a part of the Mifos community for a couple of months but in that time he’s really demonstrated his commitment to our cause for many years to come. It’s rare when you get volunteers that proactively come and are eager to contribute. Maulik showed up with an interest in mentoring for GSOC and immediately begin working with Mohit on the re-skinned Community App. He’s been an enthusiastic supporter of other contributors and always has great ideas to help improve our apps and our collaboration. He’s deeply aware of Fintech from his experience at Morgan Stanley and is eager to use that knowledge to help those at the Base of the Pyramid. We’re looking forward to working Maulik as a mentor for this GSOC and seeing all the impact he’ll have on our community.  Read more

ThitsaWorks Hosts Fintech Workshop for Myanmar

The following is a guest post from May Thu Myint, Communications Officer of ThitsaWorks, Inc. I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at their workshop which was attended by more than 160 individuals and 17 different media outlets!

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On Monday March 13, ThitsaWorks held an event in Yangon titled ‘Fintech for Myanmar’s Financial Sector: How to Grow and Manage Risk in Microfinance by Leveraging Technologies’. Held at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), the event was well attended and brought together people from the microfinance and banking sector of Myanmar, technology providers and media. The opening remarks were given by Dr. Maung Maung Lay, the vice-President of UMFCCI.

Then Nyi Nyein Aye, the CEO of ThitsaWorks, gave a presentation on ThitsaWorks, as well as the microfinance landscape in Myanmar. According to Nyi, with a high mobile penetration rate and 70% of population living in rural area in Myanmar, digital financial services are key to financial inclusion. The estimates show that the demand for credit is four times that of current supply and there is a huge potential for MFIs to grow.

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Star Contributor of the Month – Mohit Kumar Bajoria

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-10-52-45-pmWe’re recognizing Mohit Kumar Bajoria of Jammu, India. Mohit has been a member of our community since he joined us a GSOC intern in March of 2016 and worked on adding browser-based offline access to the Community App underneath the mentorship of Gaurav. Since then he’s continued to excel and be an active part of the community first by acting as a GCI mentor and now by taking the initiative to fix the remaining bugs in the re-skin so it can be shipped to the community. These past couple of weeks, Mohit has really demonstrated his leadership by stepping up to become maintainer of the re-skin branch all on his own doing – he’s been mentoring other contributors, squashing lots of bugs, and reviewing and merging incoming pull requests. This call to leadership has been opportune as we seek empowered individuals from the community to stabilize and maintain Generation 2 as we transition to Generation 3. 
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User in Focus – Chaitanya

This regular blog series will shine the light on the financial institutions that are using Mifos or partner-led solutions powered by Mifos? We want to share the impact and benefits Mifos is helping you have on your clients as well as the personal experiences and lessons you learned while deploying your solution.

Chaitanya – Bangalore, India 

Chaitanya is an NBFC serving more than 170,000 rural clients in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Their mission is to improve the lives of low income families through the provision of Financial Services. They are using FinFlux, a core banking solution powered by Mifos built by Conflux Technologies.

Chaitanya has its roots as a local NGO working in the rural parts of Central Karnataka. It was founded in 2004 by the late Mr. Ramesh Paineedi, a school teacher. It started work in chaitanyafinfluxthe area of children’s education and gradually moved into supporting rural microenterprises through its partnership with Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF), a US based NGO. Anand Rao (a Promoter in Chaitanya), built the partnership between the NGO and S3IDF while working with the latter.

The S3IDF and Chaitanya partnership helped create more than 25 microenterprises in rural Karnataka in the area of electricity supply to un-electrified households, Self Help Group (SHG)-owned and operated enterprises and IT based enterprises. Through the partnership, equity support, bank guarantees and debt financing support was provided to these microenterprises. Additionally they also arraned microcredit through the local regional rural bank, Pragathi Grameen Bank, to self help groups for activities such as LPG and electricity connection. Arranging financing for SHGs helped Chaitanya gain experience in the microcredit space and laid the foundation for starting Chaitanya, the MFI, as an NBFC.      

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Chaitanya was incorporated in March 2009 and MFI operations started in October 2009 after obtaining a fresh NBFC license from RBI. The initial promoters of the MFI were Anand Rao and Samit Shetty. As the MFI operations started, the NGO activities were completely wound down.

Chaitanya now reaches 170,000 clients with a portfolio of 3 Billion INR or about $45 Million USD. They hope to grow by 50% CAGR for the next two to three years. Chaitanya focuses on the rural markets, reaching 20 of the 30 districts in the state of Karnataka and 2 districts in the state of Maharashtra. Chaitanya offers a variety of Group Based Credit Products in the form of JLG loans ranging form INR 5,000 to 35,000 and Business and Housing JLG loans from 35,000 to 60,000.  Individual Loans for 2 Wheelers, Housing and Small business loans varying from 100,000 INR to 500,000 INR. Read more

ThitsaWorks begins Mifos training in Myanmar

The following is a guest post from May Thu Myint, Communications Officer of ThitsaWorks, Inc.

On January 26th, ThitsaWorks began a 2-day Mifos training session for 2 local MFIs. The training was conducted by the team at Conflux Technologies from India. The attendees were taken step-by-step through Mifos’ core functions and capabilities.
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Day 1 covered client management, products and organization management. Day 2 focused on all aspects of accounting.
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Many MFIs in Myanmar still rely on software such as Excel to manage their portfolios, due to lack of funds or lack software and technical support. Some do not use computers at all, relying on paperwork instead.
Win Htet Maung Maung, the managing director of Unique Quality Microfinance, attended the training with some of his senior staff members. Founded in 2013, Unique Quality provides microfinance loans in 6 different townships in Yangon and currently has over 10,000 active clients.

“Now that we have the infrastructure to support technology like this, I have very high hopes for the microfinance sector in Myanmar.” he said. “A system like this will be good not just for MFIs, but also for clients and the quality service we can provide to them. Approval processes will become less time consuming, meaning clients can get loans faster.”266079_30376af55ff247b88f0d1c842812457f-mv2_d_3264_2448_s_4_2

Who we are: ThitsaWorks provides financial technology solutions for microfinance institutions in Myanmar. As Mifos’ first ever partner in Myanmar, ThitsaWorks is dedicated to making basic financial services available to all and empowering people to rise out of poverty and that technology is a key tool in making this happen. With Mifos X, we can help MFIs in Myanmar grow and reach out to the unbanked population. We believe that financial inclusion can put an end to poverty.

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2016 Google Code-In Wrap-up

We had the honor of participating in Google Code-In for the second time this year. Google Code-In is Google’s program to introduce pre-university students to the world of open-source by working on a range of bite-sized (3-5 hour-long) tasks including coding, outreach/research, documentation/training, user interface, and quality assurance.  

In this year’s program, 1,340 students from 62 countries completed 6,418 tasks mentored by 17 different open source organizations. We worked with 34 students who completed 159 tasks. Participation was a bit lower than during our first year in 2014 but we still received many valuable contributions and most importantly made a lasting impact on students by showing them what it’s like to work on an open source project. Read on to learn more about our five finalists and their GCI experiences. 

Coding contributions included enhancements and bug fixes to both our Mifos X web app and Mifos Android Field Officer app. For our documentation, students helped to create training slides, record video tutorials, improve technical docs on our wiki, and update screenshots throughout our user manuals. As we push further into new geographies and pioneer new fintech innovation, the dozens of country market research briefs on financial inclusion and fintech will be immensely valuable. Students even got to try their hand at design by creating wireframes and mockups for our website and mobile self-service app.

Thank you to all the students who participated, thank you to the Google Open Source Programs staff for administering the program and thank you to all our mentors including several new community members. Our mentors this year were Shreyank, Gaurav, Rajan, Prathmesh, Adi, Nikhil, Nayan, Tarun, Mayank, Mohit, Nazeer, Santosh, Simmi, Daniel, and Saransh. Tarun, Mayank, and Rajan were an especially big help with the mobile development tasks we had available.

Read on below for a brief glimpse into our 5 finalists. Our 2 grand prize winners will be going to the Google campus along with their parents for four days in June. They will be joined by one of our mentors. So stay tuned later this summer for a recap of this fun event and amazing rewards for all these students.

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Star Contributor of the Month – Denila Philip

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-3-27-15-pmWe’re recognizing Denila Philip, from New Jersey, as our Star Contributor for January 2017. Denila only joined our community in October 2016 but in the short time she’s been here she’s made a huge impact and given generously of her time and skill. Product management is an invaluable contribution that volunteers can make and Denila has been no different. Her work in drafting detailed user stories along with wire frames has greatly accelerated the development efforts for the Android self-service app. Grounded in human-centered design, her plans for the self-service app have given great clarity and a foundation for mobile wallets and other innovation. 
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Star Contributor of the Month – Gaurav Saini

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We’re recognizing Gaurav Saini, from Chandigarh as our Star Contributor for December 2016. Gaurav has been one of our most active and loyal community members since he graduated from GSOC in 2014. He’s championed the evolution and developoment our Web UI since then. He’s a regular on the mailing lists, is often found speaking about Mifos around the world, and never hesitates to help the community when in need. Gaurav has had a busy 2016 – he started out presenting at TechDays in Amsterdam, mentored two projects for Google Summer of Code, helped a fellow partner in the community by doing hybrid mobile app development, continued to extend our Mifos X web app, attended ApacheCon in Seville, attended the GSOC Mentors Summit in Mountain View, served as a mentor for Google Code-In, and is helping to get our web self-service app off the ground. 

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