This 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.
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.
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.
We’re recognizing Rajan Maurya, recent GSOC graduate, from Delhi as our Star Contributor. Rajan didn’t wait a moment to continue excelling as a contributor even as GSOC concluded. He has continued his development and bug fixing for the Android field officer app and has graciously helped to mentor any new contributor that has come along. He has also taken the initiative to lead the Android Self-Service App by putting in place a strong architecture and guiding fellow volunteers to contribute. It’s been a pleasure to work with Rajan to see how tirelessly he dedicates himself to the Mifos community at all hours of the night. Join us in congratulating Rajan and follow his lead so you too can be recognized as Star Contributor in an upcoming month.
Google Summer of Code has come and gone in a flash…of brilliance that is. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were flooded with applicants for GSOC – now that we’ve concluded, our seven interns did not disappoint in their contributions throughout the summer. This marked our fifth year as a mentoring organization and each year GSOC continues to unite and grow our community in different ways. Once again, we received incredibly valuable contributions to our Mifos X web and mobile clients this summer; most importantly we have cultivated numerous passionate contributors that will be a part of our community long into the future. This year’s program also taught us many valuable lessons of how we can improve our communications and collaboration to realize the full potential of each of our interns.
Before we recap the new features that the community will soon be able to benefit from, a round of thank you’s:
- Thank You to our GSOC Interns – persistence, patience, and passion were all critical factors needed along with your programming skills to help you succeed in navigating the complex FinTech domain. You have used cutting edge technologies to develop valuable innovation to help move millions out of poverty
- Thank You to our Mentors – thanks to Nayan, Ashok, Pranjal, Antony, Ayuk, Ishan and Gaurav – you are the lifeblood of GSOC – your tireless commitment, your wise advice and your visionary insight have helped shape this next generation of open source contributors. We welcomed five new mentors this year including 2 of our former GSOC participants – Ishan and Gaurav.
- Thank You to Google Open Source Programs – thanks to Stephanie, Cat, Joshua, Mary, and the entire team. Year after year, you continue to make the program more effective including the rollout of a brand new program website this year. We appreciate the attention and commitment you give to the hundreds of orgs and thousands of students you impact in so many ways.
Here’s a brief recap on what the interns worked on over the summer followed by a closing interview on their experiences over the summer.
Want to see all of the brand new features and innovation in action? Register and attend our GSOC Demo Day for a showcase of all their work via GoToTraining. GSOC Demo Day is Thursday September 15 at 1400GMT.
Hello Mifos Community,
There are still 2.5 billion people worldwide that do not have access to basic financial services. Financial inclusion is working to bring this number down. However, financial inclusion only works when available. It is costly to implement and difficult to access for many developing countries. This is why the Mifos Initiative has been working to develop Financial Inclusion 2.0, an innovative approach to allow every person access to financial services using just their phone.
Mobile Money in Ecuador
In 2013, Ecuador reported that there were more mobile phone lines than citizens in their country. Yet, 60% of the Ecuadorian population does not have access to financial services, and that number only gets higher in rural areas. Realizing this, the Ecuadorian government saw an opportunity where a mobile electronic payment system could be the answer to their financial inclusion problems. Ecuador implemented the first-ever state-run mobile electronic payment system that is low cost and easy to access for everyone that has a mobile phone. Read more
Hello Mifos Community!
I’m back again with another post about yet another conference.
Over this past weekend, I was blessed with the ability to go to OSCON, an Open Source conference centered on the power that open source technology can have over a variety of industries, countries, and methodologies. From healthcare reform to open source cloud computing, this conference had an amazing variety of industries that were positively impacted by open source technology. To give you a glimpse of our weekend, I would like to both highlight a few of my favorite moments and give some insight into how the Mifos Initiative has both been a beneficiary and contributor to the open source movement.
Unlike most years, this year OSCON was held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Personally, I thought it was very powerful holding the conference in Austin, (a vastly different city than its predecessor Portland) as it shows how open source is now truly a national movement and is being embraced across the country, even in areas that are historically more resistant to change. With the new venue came a host of new organizations and new speakers, all with new views and stories on how open source has helped advance their respective fields in one way or another. Below are a few of our favorites:
Performance Case Study: Capital One’s quick shift from closed source to open source
This session was especially intriguing to me, as a large bank (Capital One) is finally starting to embrace the open source movement that we at the Mifos Initiative have been a part of since 2006. After the first few minutes of the session, it was easy to see the commonalities between the big banks and our open source initiative. One common thread was the idea that banks must be a technology company first. In other words, in order to be a successful organization, the bank had to produce a banking platform that was easily scalable, user-friendly, and customizable to suit client needs. Sound familiar? All of these features are what we at the Mifos Initiative hang our hat on and are what makes the open source movement so powerful. In our age of agility, scalability, and customization, big banks are beginning to realize the power that the smaller open source initiatives, like the Mifos Initiative, are starting to have on a global scale.
This session was more technical than the other sessions I went to but nevertheless fit very well with the third generation of our Mifos platform. For those of you that don’t know, the third generation of our platform encompasses taking our current MifosX platform and converting it to a series of microservices that we will containerize and navigate using a variety of cloud-based apps. So, as you can already tell, this talk directly correlated to the work we are doing in the conversion from our current Mifos X platform to the third generation of our open source platform. While I am currently on the business side of the Mifos Initiative, this talk helped me visualize how our platform will be set up at the developmental level. It was a great way to learn more about the inner workings of our platform and see how and why we are following the popular trend towards microservices and cloud-based apps.
Want students who are ready to contribute? Here’s what they should know.
As a student at the University of Washington, this session also struck very close to home for me. I’m lucky to have gotten the opportunity to intern for a great organization that works in the open source community, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. For those that do not get exposed to the power of open source technology, how do we, as teachers and industry professionals help mold the future developers of the world? As a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization, the Mifos Initiative deals with this issue quite often. While we hope to get interns that are well equipped to take on any project we give them, we realize that not everyone is set up for success coming out of college. In order to maximize the production of these interns, we realize that we have to utilize the techniques given in the session to make sure all our students are ready to contribute right away so our projects will get done faster and more developers will be getting necessary experience to help them start their open source development careers.
In addition to the new speakers and exhibitor crowd, we were happy to see that a few members from our Mifos community made the trek from Cameroon to learn more about our organization and our industry. Among them was Nyah Check, a good friend of Ayuk the head of Skylabase Solutions, our partner organization in Cameroon working on creating a customized Mobile Wallet/Mobile Money application integration with Mifos. Nyahis currently in the States trying to learn as much as he can about open source technology from the various conferences he’s attended. He hopes to bring this knowledge back to Cameroon so he can build on top of the Mifos banking platform to give needed support to his community back home. He is truly an inspiration to everyone at Mifos and is living proof of just one of the millions of people that we have reached through our open source banking platform.
To wrap up, I would just like to say a quick thank you to our very own director Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable. It was a pleasure running the booth with you and I had a great OSCON experience. I look forward to many more exciting adventures with the Mifos Initiaitive over the summer!
4th Generation Mifos Intern
Google Summer of Code 2016 is officially underway. GSOC is now in its 12th year and we’re proud to be participating in GSOC once again for the third time as the Mifos Initiative and the fifth year overall. This year was our most selective year ever with an acceptance rate of 6.08%. We received 115 proposals and had to choose amongst many exceptional candidates to allocate our seven slots. Selecting our top candidates that balanced with the highest priority needs of our community was a difficult process but we’re delighted to be working with a stellar team of interns from three continents who will be working on mobile apps, our community app, and new modules and integrations.
On the mobile front, Vishwajeet will be building out our first client-facing app – an Android self-service banking app. Rajan will be evolving our Android field operations app to Version 3.0. Our community app won’t be recognizable after this summer with Duplex working on refactoring and re-skinning it, Mohit adding in browser-based offline access and Adhyan adding in actionable notifications and status alerts. On top of the Fineract platform, Daniel will be adding in a module for mobile money integration and Nikhil working on credit bureau integration.
Given we had to be so selective and turn away so many candidates who had impressive applications and meaningful contributions, we’re pushing to run our own Mifos Summer of Code in parallel. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to provide stipends to the students we couldn’t choose but have high-priority projects along with seasoned mentors ready to guide them. Stay tuned for more on Mifos Summer of Code.
Our Google Summer of Code students started their first day of coding on Monday so please welcome them and send a word of encouragement to our mailing lists. As we do each year, here’s a brief intro on each of our interns and stay tuned for a follow-up post with some fun facts on each of them.
|Duplex Kamdjou – Cameroon
||Mohit Bajoria – India
||Adhyan Srivastava – India
||Vishwajeet Srivastava – India
|Rajan Maurya – India
||Daniel Carlson – Cameroon
||Nikhil Pawar – USA
As we look towards bringing on a full class of Google Summer of Code interns, let’s reflect on our recent group of interns who completed our Winter 2015 Outreachy program with Mifos for the first time. Outreachy was a journey for both our interns and our mentors as it brought home many lessons in communications and collaboration across an open source community as our three interns collectively worked on our Android field operations app. After their contributions we now have a refactored and redesigned app, a wide range of new functionalities for field officers, and a mobile UI for capturing surveys. Join us in giving a big thank you to Olya, Nelly, and Nasim, and their mentors, Ishan, Gaurav, and Markus. Read on to learn more about what they built and what their most lasting experiences from their internship were.
Meet Our Star Contributor for March 2015 – Ishan Khanna
Ishan entered The Mifos Community as a Google Summer of Code 2014 participant where he grabbed hold of Android Client and built out the native Android field operations app for Mifos X users. Over the course of last summer, Ishan took the community from no mobile app to full functionality. His work can be seen in the Mifos Android Client User Guide.
Ishan didn’t stop there. He has been active in the Community ever since – even though he has a full-time job with SeekSherpa. He has contributed major bug fixes and engaged others in the community. During the 2015 Summit, he made contributions to several partners including FINA in Georgia to help get their remote app to full functionality. Tengiz Merabishvili from FINA says, “Ishan helped us a bunch, he is a great developer. He is very energetic and knowledgeable. He is a hard worker and once he sets his mind to do something, he always gets it done. I enjoyed our brief time working together, and learned a lot.”
In Ishan’s own words, “I am an insatiable geek, striving for perfection in software. I love giving Tech Talks and motivating people about FOSS Development.” He has two and one-half years Android Platform experience. He has a gained good grip on Java, Android SDK, Git, Gradle and other related technologies in this period.
Q. On what projects are you currently working?
A. I’m working on an app that will allow travellers to connect with locals and change the way travellers see a city these days. TL;DR – Disrupting the Conventional Travel Experience.
Q. What is most rewarding about working with the Mifos Community?
A. The opportunity to meet, work with and learn from people in Global Mifos Summit, having experience in the industry more than my total living age. And to represent Mifos Initiative at Google Summer of Code Reunion in San Jose, California in October, 2014.
Q. How do you play when you aren’t working?
A. When I am not working I am usually digging into new frameworks, languages and tech blogs. Find food across the world through YouTube. Or watching “The Big Bang Theory”.
Perhaps painting his face in support of India while in Dubai slipped his mind. . .
Thanks Ishan for your contributions and your joyful spirit!