Hello to the Mifos Community!
Recently, a few members from our Mifos management team went to LinuxFest NW to run a booth and spread our social message of financial inclusion. Led by our Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable, and our two Business Development Interns, Drew (myself) and Jacob, we were able to successfully spread our social message and broaden our Mifos Volunteer corps.
This year marks the third straight year that we have been to LinuxFest NW. Although it is a smaller conference, we are truly thankful for the many volunteers that take time out of their week to put on such a smooth, well run weekend. It is held at Bellingham Technical College, and is mainly run by the students and faculty at the school. While it is easy to overlook these selfless volunteers, we’d like to take a moment to thank them for their service. They are one of the main reasons we continue to come back every year.
With that being said, we had a wonderful time running our booth over the weekend and met many promising volunteers that are eager to join the Mifos Initiative in the fight for financial inclusion. One of the most notable people we met over the weekend was a filmmaker, Ryan Christoffersen. Ryan is known for starring in the Netflix film “Living on One Dollar” in which four students travelled to the town of Peña Blanca in Guatemala and lived on a dollar a day to show how people far below the poverty line live on a day to day basis. It is a truly moving film that aligns very well with our open source platform. I highly recommend you watch it. At the end of the film, it shows how Grameen Joint Liability helps improve the lives of everyone in the village, visualizing the impact that microfinance can have on a community. I highly recommend you check it out.
On top of managing the booth, one of the main draws of the conference is the breakout talks/sessions. Each day is filled with different types of speakers and subjects in which, similar to a Ted talk, you pick and choose which talks you want to see. Throughout the weekend, Jacob, Ed, and myself alternated attending various talks around campus. Here are a few of our favorites:
“The Contributors Guide to the Galaxy”
This was one of the sessions that Jacob and I got to go to together. As business development interns, we saw this as a good opportunity to learn more about our volunteering core. This talk, a parody of the popular book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, focused on the different ways to contribute to the open source community by donating patches of code and helping with the documentation and translation of various training documents. Although you receive no monetary compensation for your work, volunteers are truly the driving force of many open source projects. Surely our Initiative wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without the help of our many selfless volunteers.
“The Command Line – A versatile, future-proof computing environment”
This talk was actually given by Adam Monsen, a good friend and former member of the Mifos Initiative. Adam and Ed worked together with the Grameen Foundation back in the early days of the Mifos Initiative during the mid-2000’s. They are still close and enjoy seeing each other at every LinuxFest NW. Anyways, Adam talked about the ways in which you could improve your Linux command line coding prowess by utilizing a few lesser-known short cuts. As a computer science major, it was nice to see some of the back end coding that volunteers do to help fix the technical issues that come up. It is amazing how many resources there are in the technical community. Hopefully this talk also helped some of the future Mifos volunteers learn more tricks about Linux.
In conclusion, the conference was truly a great experience. From running the booth to attending the breakout sessions and seeing some old friends of the Mifos Initiative, the conference felt much more like fun than like work. To everyone we met over the weekend, thank you for visiting our table and signing-up for our newsletter. We are excited to onboard you all as the next wave of Mifos volunteers in our fight for financial inclusion!