Recapping Random Hacks of Kindness

Two days. Three continents. Twenty volunteers. One mission – 3 Billion Maries.

rhok_logo_CS4-300x95Earlier this month, volunteers from HP and the broader geekspace  came together to “hack for humanity” as part of the global Random Hacks of Kindness. With support from Social Coding 4 Good we united in various worldwide locations to take on three different challenges we had presented to strengthen the Mifos X platform.  In Bangalore, Dublin, San Francisco, and via a remote bonus team in Chennai, we set out  to build solutions to our three problem definitions along with volunteers from  HP Social Innovation – 1) Mobile App for Mifos X, 2) Integration of SMS communications, and 3) Creation of a WYSIWYG document generator. Across all three sites our volunteers gravitated towards working on the mobile app for Mifos X, tackling it from all different angles of smartphone solutions including native apps for Android and iOS as well as cross-platform apps via Titanium and PhoneGap. We made some solid progress on the actual apps that is nicely summarized on our HackPad which tracked the weekend’s activity. We now have a working iPhone app that supports logging in, retrieving a list of clients and displaying a summary of their loan accounts (watch the demo!). On top of that we have a native Android app that supports on and offline authentication and syncing down office data.  All these apps serve as great starting points as full-fledged mobile applications on top of Mifos X.

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Remixing Microfinance with the Client at the Center

From the onset, a fundamental part of our product vision for Mifos X has been to be a flexible platform agnostic of any one microfinance methodology. During the Mifos Summit (more takeaways to come in a future post), a key finding that emerged was the centrality of the relationship with the client in both the data model and the platform architecture.  Regardless of whatever methodology supported, relationships can be defined between the client and whatever account, entity, or structure you would like.

Gripped by a comment made by Rupal Patel on the importance of client data during our Setting the Mifos X vision, Craig came up with a quick sketch that is a good first pass at our vision for Mifos X.  Client Data is at the center and the various flows of money or information that are coming in and out of the platform are clearly visualized.

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Announcing the Esha K Release

Development is underway on the final major functional release on the Mifos 2.0 codebase. Since this will be the last feature development before before we transition development over to Mifos X, we wanted this to be a big release that closes many existing gaps. This is definitely the case as we’re tackling a number of areas across the product.

Esha – Our Inspirational Marie

This last major release is code-named Esha K in recognition of Esha Omar Athman, a borrower  at Fursa Leo in Mombasa, Kenya.  Esha has been a client at Fursa Leo since July 26, 2011.  In that time, she has taken out 3 business loans and has significantly expanded her business enabling her to uplift the living standards of her family through a new home, better meal, and sending her son to school.

Esha came to Fursa Leo, eight months pregnant seeking start-up capital for her failing ice cube business while her husband struggled to help them pay their bill and provide for their family.  Through Fursa Leo’s mandatory financial literacy program and graduation through three larger loan cycles, Esha has brought her humble ice cube business from failure to prosperity.

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