2017 Google Summer of Code Wrap-Up

Another year, another great Google Summer of Code program for us here at the Mifos Initiative. This year we worked with our biggest class of interns yet – 12 Mifos Initiative interns and 3 Apache Fineract interns who worked tirelessly on their projects and produced amazing results. This post will showcase the outstanding work they did with the community and part 2 of our official GSOC Wrap-up will focus on their reflections on their journey throughout Google Summer of Code.

While the majority of our projects centered on Generation 2 of Mifos which will only in production for the next couple of years, the approaches, designs, and requirements we’ve worked on for each project can be carried over to Generation 3 of Mifos (Apache Fineract CN) so we can rapidly build out these same apps and features on the new microservices architecture.

Thank Yous!

Before we take a closer look at the results of the summer, we want to first off thank everyone who made Google Summer of Code another successful year.

Google Open Source Programs Office

First off we want to once again thank the Google Open Source Programs office for giving us the opportunity once again to introduce students to open source and as they help us fight poverty with technology-enabled financial inclusion. It was a pleasure meeting up with Cat, Stephanie, Mary, Josh and Helen at OSCON as well as at the GCI grand prize trip earlier this year. The entire team is always so responsive and do such an awesome job coordinating so many moving pieces to make GSOC a success. We look forward to participating in GCI and GSOC for many years to come!

Mentors

A big shout and thank you goes out to our mentors who are the key to the success of Google Summer of Code. Our mentors are the ones down in the trenches working with the students making sure they can get through any challenges they overcome. Our mentors are a guiding light to our interns as they help pass the torch onto a new generation of Mifos and Apache Fineract contributors. Thank you to our mobile development mentors – Puneet Kohli and Ishan Khanna. Thank you to our web development mentors – Gaurav Saini, Maulik Soneji, Pranjal Goswami, and Vinay Saini. Thanks to our mentors on the platform side – Avik Ganguly, Kyriakos Patsias, Nazeer Shaik, Marky Reynolds, Aleksandar Vidakovic, Dhirendra Pratap, Ayuk Etta, Antony Omeri, and Markus Geiss. A big thank you to other community members and volunteers like Rajan, Santosh, Denila, James, Sundari, Nayan, and others who made big contributions despite not being official mentors.

Our Interns

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our interns from across the globe who poured their energy into their projects. What is always most rewarding is seeing how collaborative and supportive the interns are of each other helping to solve coding problems, helping with collaboration tools and just being great all-around community members. We wish them the best of luck in whatever they pursue next and look forward to their continued contributions to the Mifos Initiative. Already, despite the program being officially over, many of our interns have continued making contributions and wrapping up loose ends of their projects. 

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Quito Mifos Chapter Helps Promote National Financial Inclusion Policy

On August 22, 2017, representatives of the Mifos chapter of Ecuador, participated in an event held by Red de Instituciones Financieras de Desarrollo (RFD) to impact the broader financial inclusion community in Ecuador.  This project seeks to promote a space for the construction of a National Financial Inclusion Policy, under a broad concept that is not only limited to access and use of financial services, but also proposes the creation of an adequate environment, both in the regulatory sphere, and in enhancing the capacities of the population through financial education, under criteria of protection to the financial user.

These essential pillars of Financial Inclusion, implemented in a joint way, will have a greater probability of impact on sectors excluded populations, to generate processes of economic growth and employment

Quito Chapter president, Jorge Moncayo, participated on this panel whose objective was to have a space for dialogue and proposal by key actors in the process of constructing the national policy for financial inclusion in order to know their criteria and mechanisms of contribution in relation to the proposal presented by RFD. The 60 minute discussion was moderated by Yamile Pinto – Chief of Institutional Strengthening of RFD who conduct two rounds of questions for participants at the table with the following approach:

  • What is your analysis regarding the current situation of Financial Inclusion in Ecuador and against this what is your criterion regarding this initiative to have a national policy?
  • How would their organizations be inserted in the process of construction of this national policy? What would be your contributions and / or proposals in this construction process?

After the two rounds of questions there was an open space of interaction with the audience for approximately 20 minutes.

The Quito Mifos Chapter is looking forward to more participation in local fintech and financial inclusion events and will soon be hosting its own events to advanced thought leadership in financial inclusion and hackathons to promote innovations in technology for financial inclusion.

 

Fintech Forum – “Mobility in Lending”

Here at the Mifos Initiative we are going to begin posting a rundown of the most pressing topics and trends in fintech for financial inclusion providing you a place to follow the latest news and a forum to openly discuss what’s happening with other members of our open source community. This is the first article of this campaign. Expect to see these on our blog on a bi-weekly basis.

Typically we’ll post snippets from several announcements or articles on a topic but this week, we’re lucky enough to have one of our partners, Habile Technologies, share a post from their blog on Mobility in Lending:

Mobile phones are completely changing the lending sector. Mobility is unlocking the full potential of the lending process. The overall TAT (turnaround time) of the loan process can be significantly reduced with the emergence of these new technologies. Mobility is improving the efficiency, transparency, and user experience of the loan process. A once cluttered and confusing cycle can be simplified to a smooth and productive process. Learn how mobility is granting access to financial services to individuals coming from underdeveloped countries who once lacked the proper tools to be reach their true potential.

Read “How Mobility is transforming the Lending Sector” written beautifully by Shivasankari Bhuvaneswaran. Shivasankari comes from our partner organization, Habile Technologies. Habile Technologies, based out of Chennai, India, has proven to be very active in the Mifos community. We like to feature their post as they join us in the fight for financial inclusion. Read the entire post here!

Learn more about Habile Technologies by visiting their website at www.habiletechnologies.com. They’re always posting insightful information on financial inclusion and fintech.

 

Star Contributor of the Month – Raunak Sett

raunak-sett

We are recognizing Raunak Sett, one of our great GSOC interns, as our Star Contributor for the month of August. Before, during, and hopefully for many years to come, Raunak has been a rock star contributor to the Mifos Community, going above and beyond in everything he touches. On top of building out a beautiful online banking app for customers, he has shared his design expertise by providing the UI design for both the Android mobile banking app and collection sheet in the field officer app. He is always patient and so ready to help customers and others in the community – on our weekly check-ins, Raunak is always eager and willing to share advice and lessons to help his fellow interns. A recent graduate from the University of Delhi, Raunak has a very bright future ahead of him. Join us in thanking Raunak for all of his hard work and contributions to the Mifos community!
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Partner Spotlight – iDT Labs

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.

In this month’s Partner Spotlight we are featuring iDT Labs from Sierra Leone. Their team is led by Salton Massally and are bringing forth an innovative complete banking as a service solution to Sierra Leone and the neighboring countries. Salton and his team are fully committed to the community and are working on contributing back enhancements they’re making.

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Connecting The Mifos Community Through Mobilize

We here at the Mifos Initiative have begun to use mobilize for our communication needs. We strongly encourage you to create an account, which is free and takes under five minutes. Mobilize, a “communication hub for large groups”, allows members of the Mifos global community to stay connected. Everyone knows that communication is key. Through Mobilize, Mifos community members can communicate on a global scale.

Mobilize will be used to power communications within our chapters, collaboration amongst our volunteers, and to connect partners and customers in our marketplace.

At its broadest level, we also aim to use Mobilize to create a global directory, allowing the members of our community to collaborate. Whether you join a local chapter, our volunteer group, or the Jobs Board, you’ll have global profile so everyone can put a face to your name.

Mifos local chapters can use Mobilize to chat, discuss topics, promote their chapter, share files, conduct polls and surveys, and create events and manage a chapter calendar. 

Mifos volunteers can use Mobilize to work together on projects, even if they are working from separate continents.

Our Mifos partners can use Mobilize to respond to jobs posted on our “Mifos Jobs Board” that require assistance for solutions built on the Apache Fineract platform.

Below are some links to join our groups on Mobilize

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

Support the Mifos Initiative on AmazonSmile

Are you looking for an easy way to contribute to the success of The Mifos Initiative? Do you use Amazon for your online shopping needs? If so, before you make a purchase check to see that you are using https://smile.amazon.com, and not https://www.amazon.com. Then, look under the search bar to confirm that you are supporting The Mifos Initiative. Simple as that!

Now, The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate .5% of your purchases to The Mifos Initiative. Although it may seem like a small donation, every penny counts and is much appreciated. Help Mifos help the unbanked!

If you are not currently supporting The Mifos Initiative through AmazonSmile, you can find us here.

AmazonSmile has raised $54,509,978.56 for charities as of May 2017. The Mifos Initiative, being a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is eligible to receive donations through this program. We are very thankful to announce that as of May 2017, The AmazonSmile Foundation has donated $91.04 to The Mifos Initiative. Thank you to all who have been supporting The Mifos Initiative!

If you don’t want to forget to use AmazonSmile, you can download these extensions.

Fun Facts about our Google Summer of Code Interns

Now that you know a bit more about our interns professionally and what they’re working on over the summer, let’s take a more a personal look at their lives with some fun facts about each one of them.

When and why did you start coding?


Courage: I started coding in my first year in the university, 2012. At that time we had a club called elite programming club, where I studied C programming daily and with each day I learnt something new. It was amazing to know what I could do just coding.

NamanI started coding at the start of my college. Initially, I was mainly interested in fixing some of the bugs I encountered in CyanogenMod which I was using on my Android device and then slowly started building android apps.

Vladimir: I started coding in 2012 but it was mostly html and css, but really got interested software dev after taking Harvard’s CS50 online. I use to go to the cyber cafe with my mom around 2002, in those days most websites were not very interactive. Then in 2009 I signed up for a Facebook account and surprisingly it was very interactive. So I was curious to find out what made Facebook so interactive and this curiosity pushed me to learn code.

GopalaMy interest in coding particularly began when I was around 13 years old and found a multiplayer online game called ‘Roblox’. Roblox was a platform where the registered players could create their own game from scratch( using a programming language called Lua ) and where other players could play and rate it. I was really amazed by the quality of the games the players used to make considering the fact that many of them were just around ( 12 -15 ) years old. Since then I wanted to pursue programming as a career.

I actually started coding basic C++  when I was in 12th as it was part of our curriculum.

Raunak: I was exposed to playing games like Dave on PC since way back with Windows 98. That did pique my interest in these machines, to be able to achieve so many things through these machines. I actually started coding in 2008/9 making websites and scripts.

Kumaranath: It was in the year 2013,when I took my first software engineering and programming  lessons.I was intrigued to find out what and how we as engineers we would solve problems in real life and make an impact to the world.

Tarun: I started coding in senior secondary school (XI – XII standard). when I had CS as one of my subjects.

DilpreetFirst line of code I wrote was in LOGO where I wrote commands for writing A-Z in logo in 4th grade. Learnt basis of web development in 10th grade and after studying c++ in 11th and 12th grade I fell in love coding when I was introduced to Android Development during 2nd semester of my college.

Mohit: I was very much fascinated with the computers since my early years. I started a little bit of coding when i was in the 10th grade. It was so much exciting to see how u can automate the task from some lines of code. I started Coding because it was fun and all the stuff which can be made excites me a lot 😉

Mayank: I started coding in first year of Bachelor’s degree and  I came to know that Coding skills are required almost in every field irrespective of your Major. That was the time when I started my coding journey.

Thisura: I started coding form my school age. First I started coding with Dos, VisualBasic and then moved on to c#. Lately I learned java somewhere around 2010. I simply enjoy coding. I like to learn new technologies, concepts in computer science and coding is a part of that.

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