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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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Mifos Returns to OSCON

Here’s another blog post from our community development intern, Alex Moses, as we returned back to OSCON for the 7th time.  

Hello Everyone,

I’m back again with another post about another conference! Just two days after I returned home from LinuxFest Northwest, I was boarding a Boeing 737 destined for Austin, Texas. I was heading down to the Lone Star State for OSCON (Open Source Convention).

When I arrived in Austin, I was finally introduced to our President/CEO, Ed Cable. Ed and I ran a booth in the Expo Hall, which was located at the Austin Convention Center. Now I would say that OSCON is like LinuxFest Northwest but on a greater scale, but that wouldn’t do it justice. The Convention Center is enormous and there were times I feared getting lost!

Ed and I were joined at the booth by two great colleagues, Isaac Kamga and Nikhil Pawar. Isaac lives in Cameroon where he works for Sky.labase, one of our outstanding partner organizations. Nikhil is currently a student that has previously worked with Mifos during Google Summer of Code, and he is working with Apache Fineract this summer.

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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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OSCON and the Growing Influence of Open Source Technology

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.

OSCON general

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.

Modern JavaScript Architectures: Clients, microservices, and containers

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.

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OSCON booth

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!

Signing off,

Drew Fass

4th Generation Mifos Intern

2014 Mifos Annual Report

2014 was a breakthrough year for our community as the Mifos X platform established a foothold around the globe and we proved that a platform-centric and partner-driven approach can achieve tremendous scale and impact. Take a few moments to look back at the major milestones from the past year and all the community members who made these accomplishments possible.

At a glance in 2014

  • 2.6 million clients were reached by 110 financial institutions supported by 40 local tech partners across 33 different countries.
  • 80,000,000 transactions were processed on the platform with more than $791,000,000 in loans being managed.
  • 11,630 downloads of our software from 150 countries

Results of the First Mifos Summit Hackathon

If you haven’t seen it, check out the blog of Michael Vorburger for a recap of the day-long hackathon, he and Markus Geiss facilitated at the tail-end of our Global Summit back in March. Decked out in their new Mifos hoodies, our coding Ninjas led a productive day of development on the platform, the community app, and our Android app. They hacked out some solutions to needs that came up during the summit and were able to train and bring up to speed some of the newest developers within the Mifos community.

 

 

How the Silk Road turns into a path to meet Friends

Contributing the first post in our summit wrap-up blog series is Markus Geiss, who attended his first Mifos Summit, and will soon be joining the team full time as Chief Architect. Read on to hear Markus’ tale of his time in Sharjah.

On Monday March 9th I boarded the plane to fly to Sharjah and meet with the Mifos Community at our annual summit. I was all alone and didn’t know what to expect. As I left Sharjah on Friday March 13th my heart was filled with impressions and new friends.  What happened?

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It all started immediately upon my arrival in Sharjah. I met the Conflux Gang right at the airport. As we reached the hotel a crowd of people from all over the world already awaited us and gave us a hearty and warm welcome. During the course of the following three days it simply felt like meeting good old friends who we have not seen for a while. Read more

GSOC Reunion – Interns’ First Trip To Silicon Valley!

In this guest blog post, we’re delighted to have Ishan and Gaurav give a firsthand experience of their travels to the Silicon Valley for the first time to represent the Mifos Initiative as GSOC celebrated ten successful years at its Reunion. Ishan and Gaurav were awesome interns and have continued their stellar contributions in the community since GSOC – this experience was a small reward for their accomplishments. Read on for the recap and check out Gaurav and Ishan’s blog for more of their personal experiences and photos. 

fb-hqFirst off we’d like to thank Edward Cable, Community Manager @ Mifos Initiative, and all our mentors (Vishwas, Nayan, Markus, Sander, Michael, Kojo) for allowing both me and Gaurav Saini to be a part of this 10 year GSOC Reunion in San Jose, California. A dream that we lived through experiencing all the highs that you could get without the use of illegal stuffs 😀 Yeah the food, the weather, the people and the headquarters of the Big Who’s Who in the IT world.

I had travelled on the East Coast (NYC, Washington DC, Alexandria, Jersey City) of the USA for a week before we landed on the West Coast (San Francisco.) Gaurav and I planned to tour the Silicon Valley for three days before the summit. We reached SFO on 20th October, 2014. Playing smar,t we rented out beds in a house in Millbrae, CA that was just 10 minutes away from SFO using AirBnb. It was a hacker house, where we met a few entrepreneurs, a designer, a developer, a director and a teacher too. We immediately realised we were in a good company. I’ll be sharing the pre-post summit experience on my personal blog, lets get to business and explore the GSOC reunion. Read more

Google Code-In – A Whirlwind Week One

GCI-2014-b-squareWith just over a week of Google Code-In under our belts, and just about six weeks remaining, we want to collectively take a breath and thank all the students for their valuable contributions. The energy and enthusiasm of the pre-university students who’ve contributed to our cause has kept all our mentors on their feet, whipping up new tasks to keep these blossoming open source contributors busy. Looking back on this hectic week, we’ve all been impressed with the knowledge and experience of our students and the ease with which they’ve been making an impact. All in all we’ve already 80 tasks completed by 27 different students.

First off, in case you’re wondering what Google Code-In is: it’s a “contest for pre-university students (e.g., high school and secondary school students aged 13-17) with the goal of encouraging young people to participate in open source.” Students complete tasks and earn points and in turn prizes. Tasks introduce students to all the work that makes open source projects possible and can be anything an organization needs help with, from bug fixes, to writing code, to user experience research, to writing documentation. This video does a great job of explaining the program which is now in it’s fifth year.

We are proud to be participating as a mentoring organization for GCI for the first time. As the world aims to bring computer science to millions of students this week through the Hour of Code led by Code.org, students and teachers this a great way to begin coding. Read more

Mifos OSCON Recap

oscon2014_logoIt’s become an annual tradition for our Mifos team to gather in Portland for a week of reaching out to new contributors and immersing ourselves in the latest in open source technology and communities at OSCON. This year we had a busy week with the Community Leadership Summit, our quarterly Mifos Initiative board meeting, an exhibition booth in the non-profit pavilion and a speaking slot on the Business and Javascript tracks at OSCON.

Once again throughout the hallways and in our conference booth, our initiative was very well-received. In general, the sector is  familiar with microfinance and their curiosity is piqued when they discover our initiative, an open source platform for delivering financial services to the poor. This year I noted a larger presence of financial services people more heavily involved in open source, including regulators, payments providers, and those involved in alternative currencies like Bitcoin. We are interested in bringing to bear their skills in both open source technology and financial services.

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