Google Summer of Code 2017 – End Poverty. One Line of Code at a Time.

gsoc2016-sun-373x373This summer you’ll have the ability to change lives – three billion of them – one line of code at a time. The Mifos Initiative will be participating in Google Summer of Code for the sixth time. Mifos X is an open source technology platform power by Apache Fineract for enabling financial inclusion to the poor. Google Summer of Code is a global program sponsored by Google that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects.  Students accepted to the program will spend their summers coding from May 30 to August 29th and upon successful evaluation, receive a stipend provided by Google. For full details on GSoC, read the FAQ and browse the program timeline – student applications are open from now through April 03! You can apply from our organization page.

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Mifos Android Client Version 3.0 Now Available on Google Play

Screenshot_20170302-001322We’re happy to announce that our latest version of the Mifos X Android Field Officer App is now available on the Google Play store. This release is a culmination of the efforts of many volunteers and interns over the past year and a half but couldn’t have been possible without the leadership and dedication of Rajan Maurya. He poured his heart into refactoring the codebase and implementing offline functionality during Google Summer of Code and has continued that dedication since then. Through all hours of the night, he’s been continuing to add new features and fix bugs to get this release out to the community.

Work has not stopped as we have a ton of ongoing functionality to add that we’re targeting as a 2017 GSOC Project for Android Field Officer App Version 4.0

Read on for a deep dive on each of the new features but here’s a small snapshot of all the new functionality in Version 3.0:

Technical Enhancements

  • Implementation of Material Design (Thanks to Olya Fomenko!)
  • Refactoring into MVP architecture for improved performance

Functional Enhancements

  • Create center new groups & centers
  • Improved navigation & advanced search
  • Open, approve, and disburse new loan & savings accounts
  • Attach documents to loan & savings accounts.
  • Offline Data Collection & Synchronization
    • Synchronize clients and groups for offline data entry
    • Enter repayments, deposits, and withdrawals while offline
    • Create new clients, loans & savings accounts while offline
  • GIS Features
    • Pinpoint client GPS location
    • Track route of field officer

Thanks to the Contributors

Thank you to all of the following contributors who made this release possible: Rajan Maurya, Ishan Khanna, Olya Fomenko, Mayank Jindal, Tarun Mudgal, Ahmed Fathy, Nelly Kiboi, Illia Andrieiev, Padmal, Vishwajeet Srivastava, Nasim Banu, Chhavi Gupta, İhsan Işık, Vatsal Bajpai, Alex Chege, Justin Du, Prempal Singh, Rowland Oti, Siddhant Kumar Patel, Suhaib Khan, Chashmeet Singh, Ashutosh Dadhich, Aashir Shukla, R Harikrishnan, and Vishwesh Jainkuniya.

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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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Infrastructure: Mifos X vs. Apache Fineract

As we’ve made the transition to moving development over to our Apache Fineract community, we have added some additional layers of complexity and confusion. We now have multiple mailing lists, multiple issue trackers, and multiple source code repositories. We’ve tried to address these in various webinars and developer meetings but wanted to make clear where you should go to ask questions, where you should go to report issues, and where you should go to grab the source code.

Mifos X versus Apache Fineract

A line of clarity we must first draw is Mifos X vs. Apache Fineract. Prior to the transition to becoming an Apache project, Mifos X was the software platform. From the moment we became an Apache project, Mifos X, the software platform became Apache Fineract. Mifos X now refers to the open source product distribution led by the Mifos Initiative that is built on top of Apache Fineract. Just as Musoni Services provides Musoni System or Conflux Technologies provide Finflux, Mifos X is another distribution on top of Apache Fineract.

The Mifos X distribution is an entire out-of-the-box solution that is a value-added distribution for financial inclusion.  which includes a web app (formerly referred to as community app), a mobile app for field officers, soon a mobile app for clients, reports powered by Pentaho and a data import tool. This distribution is released and available for download via SourceForge from the Mifos.org website. It is directed towards partners and user looking for a readily deployable solution including the Apache Fineract platform, a web user interface, and corresponding mobile apps.

The Apache Fineract is a general core banking system with just the back-end and APIs and no front-end. Developers and Innovators looking to build on Apache Fineract should go directly to GitHub and grab the source code for Apache Fineract (see below).

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Bryan Barnett on The Supervisory Challenges of Financial Inclusion

bryan-barnettBryan Barnett has been one of the long-time advisors to the Mifos Initiative. We’re fortunate to have his insight and guidance in helping us shape how we can build open standards for innovation and open source digital financial services platforms to improve transparency, increase the effectiveness of regulation and ensure high consumer protection.

Recently he published an informative and eye-opening post to the Alliance for Financial Inclusion blog in his role as Banking Advisor to the U.S. Treasury, Office of Technical Assistance. His post, The Supervisory Challenges of Financial Inclusionclosely examines the growing challenges that regulators faces in both developing the rules and regulations to govern the authorization and operations of financial inclusion providers as well as supervising those institutions to ensure regulations are followed and risks are addressed.

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Quito Chapter launches first Mifos Chapter in Latin America

Quito Chapter, first meeting.

Last Tuesday, a group of ten people, from different backgrounds, gathered around to have the first meeting of the Quito Chapter, the first Mifos chapter in Latin America. Mifos Chapters are volunteer-led groups to bring together users, partners, and innovators right within their local communities to share ideas, collaborate, and build a flourishing ecosystem. Fill out our Chapter Startup Form if you’d like to launch a chapter in your city. img_5380

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Partner Spotlight – Flexibility

This regular blog series will shine the light on some of our top Partners. Not only do we want to recognize them for their accomplishments, we want others to learn from the approach they’ve taken to promote and implement Mifos.

Mifos Partners are one of the most crucial links in our community – they are the driving force that is promoting and supporting Mifos worldwide.  Aside from championing our product and bringing the Mifos technology to new markets, they act as the fundamental bridge feeding in MFI requirements to be developed by the community. Partners don’t stop there as many are also developing and localizing the product to fit their local market.  For all these reasons, we focus our full energy on making Partners successful – they are the primary channel to market, the eyes and ears on the ground, and the entrepreneurial force that will help us sustainably scale. We’d love to recognize your partner organization in this monthly spotlight so please reach out if you’d like to be featured.

Flexibility was one of our first Mifos partners in Latin America. They have championed Mifos all throughout South and Central America. They have been an active part of our online and local community, speaking at regional events and participating at our first Latam Partner Summit. We look forward to working with them and their highly professional team as they take on new opportunities throughout the region.

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Mifos at the Aciamericas Summit in Uruguay

The Aciamericas event started Tuesday morning. It was powerful to see the gathering of 1200 people from the cooperatives and credit unions sector.

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The day began with an opening ceremony in which Ramón Imperial Zuñiga, Aciamericas president, shared his objectives and points of view on which the cooperative movement should move forward in the next years; the Sustainable Development Goals are at the foundation of the Aciamericas program.

Mifos had its own booth there. The Latam team, along with Argentinian technological partner Flexibility+Ideas, had the chance to spread the Mifos word, explaining what our community is, networking and sharing experiences. Our booth featured the captivating message: “The system banks envy, free in your co-op”

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In the afternoon, we continued the Latam Partners Summit, in which our Community Director, Edward Cable, did a workshop about the community, resources and showcases.

The partners were very interested in this topics, but most especially the showcases with lots of questions coming up and the assurance of some grand new opportunities will come in the future.

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