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Open Source from the Eyes of a GCI Student

This guest blog post is from Matt, one of our 2017-2018 Google Code-In participants. He penned this impressive piece for one of the tasks he claimed, “Write a blog post on why open source is valuable”.

Open source software is vitally important to the world of computer science and technology in general as it allows for many beneficial things to happen that are simply not possible with proprietary code and non open source code.

Firstly, open source benefits students and anyone interested in coding or technology as through this valuable resource they are easily able to study sample code and learn. If there were no open source software it would be much harder for them to learn well and get a good understanding of what coding looks like in practice. If young people learn how to code well they can apply that knowledge later on to help benefit all facets of society. It will not only benefit society but also the workforce as there will be more talent on the market meaning that companies should have the incentive to create more open source material as that is a way they could be investing in future talent. One last note on the economic side that is very important is the fact that since open source software is not made for profit and is usually free it allows for many people who cannot afford to experience technology to its fullest due to
financial issues to not only use it but also learn how it works. Read more

2017 Google Code-In is Underway

The Mifos Initiative once again has the honor of participating in Google Code-In, a fast-paced six-week long immersion of high school students into open source. For these pre-university students, our community provides a unique opportunity to learn about all aspects of open source collaboration, open source code development, and open source community all while helping to end poverty one line of code at a time.

For us, it’s a meaningful way to share the expertise of our community and our mentors in opening the eager eyes of these students to the many ways to contribute to open source in a technical and non-technical fashion. Since we work with so many new contributors coming in, it’s also a great way for us to improve all the points of entry to our community and have students participate in this as well. Google Code-In catalyzes a cycle creating new contributors and helps us cultivate our community to continue to grow organically.

Thank you to the hard work of all our mentors so far. So many of our past students have really been paying it forward to the next generation of contributors!

Impact Thus Far

We’re only 2 weeks into the program but we’ve already nearly surpassed the total number of tasks completed last year. In 2016 we worked with 34 students who completed 159 tasks. Just 14 days into this year’s program, we have worked with 100 students who’ve completed 141 tasks.  

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Star Contributor of the Month – Dilpreet Singh

We are recognizing Dilpreet Singh, our recent 2017 GSOC intern who worked on our mobile banking app, as our latest Star Contributor of the Month. Dilpreet has become an anchor in our community of mobile developers starting with the exemplary he work during GSOC in which he went above and beyond the requirements of his project. Since GSOC has concluded, despite a busy schedule with university, Dilpreet has continued to actively work on our mobile banking app and we look forward to his presence and leadership in helping to guide continued innovation on our mobile banking apps and more across the community.
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Partner Spotlight – Intrasoft Technologies

In this month’s Partner Spotlight we are featuring Intrasoft Technologies.  Intrasoft Technologies has been an active partner in the Mifos community since Generation 1 of our software. Zayyad and his team provide tireless support to more than a dozen organizations throughout Kenya. Zayyad was recently added as an Apache Fineract commmitter as he’s always sharing requirements with the community and helping us keep pace with the latest innovation in East Africa. He’s out there on the ground championing Mifos as well, helping us build our local chapter and host regional meetings. 

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.

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GSOC Mentor Summit – A First Timer’s Experience

Each year at the conclusion of Google Summer of Code, Google invites all mentor orgs to send two mentors or org admins all-expenses-paid for a weekend-long unconference at Google’s offices in Silicon Valley for mentors to share their GSOC experiences and collaborate on growing open source together. Since I’m so close by, I’ve always deferred to allowing our mentors from abroad this great privilege and reward. But this year when I learned four of our mentors would be coming from abroad (we got a bonus attendee for GCI participation and one more from the waitlist), I figured it was my worth my luck to try and get picked from the waitlist and make the 7 hour drive to Silicon Valley to attend.

Lucky enough to get chosen from the waitlist, I was so glad I had the opportunity to attend my first mentor summit as it was a memorable and eye-opening experience and I regret that I’d missed out on attending all the years before. Here’s a few reflections on the event and my hope that all of our mentors get the chance to experience the mentor summit for the first time as well.

Overall the event was unforgettable in that it was incredible to see how passionate so many individuals and organizations were about open source, to witness firsthand the breadth and diversity of the many GSOC projects, and to see firsthand how much impact GSOC has had over the years.

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Star Contributor of the Month – Naman Dwivedi

We are recognizing Naman Dwivedi, one of our recent GSOC interns who excelled in his project and has continued to contribute extensively since the summer concluded. From the start, we had heard great things about Naman and he delivered beyond our highest expectations; despite not having full clarity around requirements  during the summer he was able to build an entire mobile wallet framework architecture using the Android Clean Architecture approach and two well-designed apps powered by that framework, PixieCollect and MifosPay. Apart from being an Android wiz, Naman is always available, extremely patient, very thorough, and has a strong grasp of the business requirements and strategic importance of the applications he’s building. Since GSOC concluded, Naman has been actively maintaining his codebases, assisting with QA, and assisting in a strategy to help bring these solutions like PixieCollect to market. We look forward to leveraging the gifts and talents of Naman for many eyars to come.
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2017 Google Summer of Code Reflections

Hopefully you read Part 1 of our official recap of the 2017 Google Summer of Code from last week. As is tradition, we always ask our our interns a few questions at the end of the summer to reflect back on their experiences. Here is what they had to say!

What was your most rewarding experience contributing to Mifos this summer?

Dilpreet Singh – Interacting with mentors in meetings was the most rewarding experience for me as every time I end up learning amazing stuff, best practises and get to hear great advices. Mifos helped me improve my knowledge and I always feel great to be a part of Mifos contributing to projects which impact people’s life.

Kumaranath Fernando – There were many rewarding experiences out of all, what I would like to highlight is mastering and writing extensible, flexible clean code.

Mohit Bajoria – Most rewarding experience contributing to Mifos this summer was Maintaining the community app hurdles and learning from them, diving deep about progressive web app, testing on lighthouse. Other than learning, it was my mentor Maulik, Gaurav, who made the GSoC lot more fun.

Raunak Sett – Most rewarding experience for me was interacting with the community and solving problems together and learning a lot in the process.

Rajan Maurya – First, thanks to my mentors, Markus Geiss and Mark van Veen; both of them helped me alot. I never waited for a response, and always got my problem resolved within couple of minutes.

I have been contributing to Mifos from two years on and I always have a goal to write quality and efficient one-time code that will handle everything. It doesn’t matter what will change in future and If anything will break in future, that should be easily fixable. My most rewarding experience was helping GSoC students teaching them good practices and if they stuck be always ready to solve their problem

Nikhil Pawar – This GSOC, I had an opportunity to virtually meet lots of people, both within community and outside community. Meeting new people, means exchange of new new ideas, healthy debates which acts as like a catalyst for logical and critical thinking.

Sanyam: The most rewarding experience for me was interacting with the Mifos Community and my mentors (Dhirendra, Ed, and Aleksander ) and also got the hands-on experience on a Fintech backend application and solving problems together and learned a lot in the whole process.

Gopala Krishnan – My most rewarding experience was to see the changes I had done to get merged in the community-app and be a part of the latest release.

Naman Dwivedi – Most rewarding experience for me was to learn about the different architectures and how using a good architecture design can be really helpful in the long term for the project. My all personal projects before the summer were built to ‘just’ work, but now I can’t imagine writing a project without at least the MVP architecture.

Mayank Jindal – One of the mentors Ishan told that how can we speed up development by avoiding gradle build every time which is the most frustrated thing for an android app developer. It helped me to save many hours of just sitting idle.

Tarun Mudgal – The most rewarding experience is getting to know new stuff – from enabling (after messing a lot) multi-dex, to learning the right way to debug to code and following the best practices. I did expect such an experience and now, I am quite contented that it happened so.

Courage Angeh – I got to learn a lot more and I got more used to the organization.

Vladimir Fomene – I did not have a most rewarding experience, but the lessons I learned from this internship is priceless.  I have learned how to work in a team of software developers from diverse backgrounds. I also learned a lot of tools while working on the project and last but not the least I learned that having goals and deadlines while working on a project is key in helping you evaluate your progress.

Alex Ivanov – Working with the community was amazing! I met some really cool people in Mifos community. Seeing what other GSoC interns were working on and the internal feedback.

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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.

 

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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