2013 Mifos Community Choice Awards – Honoring our Finest

Throughout the year, so many acts of kindness, ingenuity, and dedication go unheralded. In what will now be an annual tradition, we want to recognize those members of the community who’ve gone above and beyond in their service to their fellow community members and their clients. Below is a post to recap our first annual Community Choice Awards which were given our during a rooftop ceremony and dinner on October 24, 2013 during our Mifos Summit in Jaipur. This year we had four planned awards and one surprise one that was bestowed upon me:

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Ready for New Heights at the FI2020 Global Forum

Fresh off an invigorating and breathtaking summit that united our community from around the world, Craig Chelius is off to represent the Mifos Initiative at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum in London. We are gracious and honored to be one of a select group of Innovators who have been invited to attend the summit, which kicked off today. As we launch the first true open platform for financial inclusion, we’re eager and ready to partner with hundreds of delegates who will be at the summit.  Mifos is a game-changing catalyst for technology-enabled business models and we’re delighted for the chance to help the industry as a whole, re-discover the new Mifos Initiative.

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Conservancy and COSM announce the Mifos Initiative

The Community for Open Source Microfinance (“COSM”), in conjunction with Software Freedom Conservancy, is proud to announce that COSM will assume full stewardship of Mifos®, an award-winning free and open source software platform for microfinance, effective immediately. Conservancy, a non-profit fiscal sponsor for Free Software projects and the previous non-profit home of the Mifos project, will assist in COSM in the transition and will donate all the Mifos copyrights, trademarks, and domain names to COSM.

In turn, COSM plans to reunite the project and brand under the name, Mifos Initiative, and will serve as both the new non-profit home for the Mifos project and as the community hub for developers, microfinance institutions, vendors, development consultants, and users that together comprise the Mifos community.

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OSCON’s about to Kick Off!

I’m eager to get to Portland to kick off an exhilarating week at OSCON with the Community Leadership Summit but am stuck at the airport with a delay. CLS is always a blast and this year our Executive Director, Craig Chelius, will be joining me. Looking forward to discussing fundraising, launching local chapters, engaging non-technical users, and stimulating application development in our ecosystem among the many topics in community development.

Continuing into the week, OSCON will be a reunion of sorts and a chance to harness the power of our collective minds. Two of our board members, Zaheda Bhorat and Dave Neary will be in town along with advisor, Steve Thomson. I’m eager to make strong headway in charting our community forward heading towards our 2013 summit in Jaipur.

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Take 3 also means Triple the Impact!

I wanted to give a big thank you to Deanna McCusker and the VMware Foundation for an incredible gift they made this past week. As you know, Deanna, as part of her Take 3 Sabbatical from VMware, has been designing the user experience for our Mifos X platform the past several months. She wrote about her experiences with her community for VMware Foundation’s recent #iServe challenge.  She was selected the winner of a $1000 grant for our project for her exemplary community service. Out of the kindness of her own heart, Deanna also chose to personally donate a $1000 which was also matched by VMware Foundation which means a total of $3000 has been raised for Mifos and The Community for Open Source Microfinance.

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Recapping Random Hacks of Kindness

Two days. Three continents. Twenty volunteers. One mission – 3 Billion Maries.

rhok_logo_CS4-300x95Earlier this month, volunteers from HP and the broader geekspace  came together to “hack for humanity” as part of the global Random Hacks of Kindness. With support from Social Coding 4 Good we united in various worldwide locations to take on three different challenges we had presented to strengthen the Mifos X platform.  In Bangalore, Dublin, San Francisco, and via a remote bonus team in Chennai, we set out  to build solutions to our three problem definitions along with volunteers from  HP Social Innovation – 1) Mobile App for Mifos X, 2) Integration of SMS communications, and 3) Creation of a WYSIWYG document generator. Across all three sites our volunteers gravitated towards working on the mobile app for Mifos X, tackling it from all different angles of smartphone solutions including native apps for Android and iOS as well as cross-platform apps via Titanium and PhoneGap. We made some solid progress on the actual apps that is nicely summarized on our HackPad which tracked the weekend’s activity. We now have a working iPhone app that supports logging in, retrieving a list of clients and displaying a summary of their loan accounts (watch the demo!). On top of that we have a native Android app that supports on and offline authentication and syncing down office data.  All these apps serve as great starting points as full-fledged mobile applications on top of Mifos X.

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Hacking for a Cause – Mifos at Random Hacks of Kindness

I am totally psyched to be headed to San Francisco this weekend to experience Random Hacks of Kindness for the first time. We are ready to RHoK out with Mifos as one of the featured problems for December 2012.  The sheer enormity of this global collaboration puts me in awe – i really don’t know what to expect but am excited to lead our project and am sure great things are on the way.

Random Hacks

We have been wanting to do RHoK for a while now and luckily all things have quickly come together thanks to Celine Takatsuno from Benetech and Social Coding 4 Good. We are privileged and grateful to be partnering with Social Coding 4 Good who have given us this opportunity to be a featured problem and work with HP Social Innovation teams across three global locations.

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Remixing Microfinance – Reflecting on our Vision

This past week there was a virtual conference led by CGAP and Microsave on Client Insights as well as blog post from Ignacio Mas on remixing microfinance. Both these topics on focusin on client data and looking at way to create hybrid models of delivering financial services were a good follow-on to our vision session at the Mifos Summit.  It got me reflecting on our product vision that was beginning to emerge at the summit. Technology often constrains what an MFI should do rather than enable it. We aim to make Mifos X a flexible platform that puts no limits on how an MFI can design and deliver their financial services.

To learn more about product vision, read the full blog post.