Alex’ First Visit to LinuxFest Northwest

For those whom I have not had the pleasure to meet yet, my name is Alex Moses! I am a freshman studying Finance at the University of Washington Seattle campus. I began my internship with The Mifos Initiative a little over a month ago and they are already sending me off to conferences!

For the first weekend of May I traveled north to Bellingham, Washington for LinuxFest Northwest with a previous Mifos intern, Drew Fass. The event was graciously hosted by Bellingham Technical College and introduced me to an array of interesting and inspiring individuals.

Drew and I conducted a booth where we spread the social mission of Mifos and informed the attendees about the work of Mifos. The attendees of the conference asked insightful questions and were eager to grab our paperwork to learn more about the Initiative. Additionally, we met motivated individuals seeking to contribute to our mission through volunteering.

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Mifos Announces the Launch of Financial Inclusion 2.0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Seattle, WA ⎯ May 5, 2017 ⎯ The Mifos Initiative (Mifos.org) announced the launch of its Financial Inclusion 2.0 initiative, to continue its mission of bringing financial inclusion to the world’s poor and ending poverty, one line of code at a time.

“There has been great progress in financial inclusion, thanks to the work of the global Mifos community,” said Ed Cable, President/CEO of Mifos. “Now, to help the financial inclusion world move to digital and mobile, we have a powerful new initiative: Financial Inclusion 2.0.”

The Mifos Financial Inclusion 2.0 vision is the fast, low-cost mobile delivery of digital financial services. First published in Spring 2016, the vision statement calls for the creation of a digital financial services platform (DFSP) that can bring the world of financial inclusion to the next level.

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Apache Fineract Graduates to Top-Level Project

Over the past year, our entire developer community has transitioned to and worked towards becoming a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation.  It’s with great pleasure that we can announce that Apache Fineract has now formally graduated from incubation into a top-level project.

Contributing Mifos X to the Apache Software Foundation was a giant step for the maturity and evolution of our project. Becoming a top-level project marks an important transformation to grow our developer community and  achieve our long-term vision of establishing an open standard for financial inclusion innovation.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the press release. Please visit the Apache Software Foundation blog for the full announcement:

“In many ways Fineract broke new grounds as an Incubating project at the ASF,” said Roman Shaposhnik, Apache Fineract Incubator Mentor, Director of Open Source Strategy at Pivotal and Vice President Technology for ODPi at Linux Foundation. It was the first project that was originally developed by a non-profit: Mifos Initiative. It was the first project with an extremely important social agenda in mind: speed up the elimination of poverty. It was the first project that fully embraced the next generation microservices architecture. But there’s one thing that gets me even more excited: how quickly the Fineract community embraced ‘The Apache Way’ of project governance. They truly made my job as a mentor smooth sailing and I wish them to grow by leaps and bounds now that they are a TLP at the ASF.”

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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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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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