Star Contributor of the Month – Bharathi Ram and Donnie Tuck

Documentation Star Contributors

For the months of January and February, we’re showcasing two Bankers without Borders volunteers who have been updating and expanding our documentation. Bharathi Ram and Donnie Tuck have brought an understandable voice to some of the complex new features in our most recent releases. They’ve updated our user manual so you can use the new features and understand the value they can provide.

There are many ways to contribute to the Mifos Initiative and our vision of 3 Billion Marieswriting code, enabling collaboration, translating the software, providing feedback. This is the first time we’re recognizing a Star Contributor for their documentation efforts but it’s a big need that we have. Documentation is a crucial factor in the successful adoption of open source software – whether it be installing Mifos, configuring it, generating reports, etc. OpenMRS, in fact, just announced that for 2011, documentation will be one of their key focus areas. Mifos 2.0 and 2.1 contained some of our most significant new functionality to date – question groups, full support for PPI, integration with M-PESA, variable installment loans, new interest rate calculations, and more.

Join us in thanking Bharathi and Donnie for documenting how to use these features in our user manual on FLOSS manuals.  With little knowledge of our product, they came in and crafted detailed, yet easy to follow, documentation so you can use these features on a day to day basis.  You too can help others use the Mifos product – join our community and become our next Star Contributor.

Bharathi Ramasubramanian – Boston, MA (currently India)

Bharathi Ramasubramanian

Brief Bio (in the words of Bharathi): I spent the first three years of my professional life in the IT industry, as a software developer and IT analyst, before switching the focus of my career to the social sector. I’ve since been involved in secondary research on international development/ microfinance and have worked with few NGOs in the US and India. 

Relevant Skills: Writing/ editing, microfinance research and documentation. Mifos is my first open source project.

Bharathi’s Impact:

Discovering Mifos: Through a news article on a microfinance website.

Contributions Made to Date: Documented features of Mifos 2.0 release in the User Manual including Importing Transactions via the M-PESA plugin, Managing Batch Jobs, and Waiving of Interest on Early Repayment of Loans.

Current Projects: Documenting Mifos 2.1 release features including Variable Installment Loans, Early Repayment of Fees

Impact on the Poor: I hope the manual helps all end-users to, quickly and easily, understand the various functionalities of the Mifos system. Hopefully, this understanding will help MFIs to use the software most effectively and serve as many needy people as possible.

What’s Rewarding about Working on Mifos:

Considering the profound impact of microfinance, the opportunity to contribute in some way towards global poverty alleviation is very satisfying, deeply humbling and rewarding.”

Advice for Others in Mifos Community:

“I’m no good at giving advice 🙂 Just want to wish everyone the very best for continued success with the Mifos program.”

Fun Facts about Bharathi:

Favorite Food: Indian, Mexican

Favorite Open Source Project: Mifos, Ushahidi

If Bharathi Could Travel to One Place in the World: The Wimbledon Center Court on finals day!

Interesting fact about Bharathi:  I’m a HUGE fan of the Harry Potter series. I can just go on and on about the series and my 13 year-old cousin adores me for that. According to him, I am the only “sensible adult” around 🙂

Donnie Tuck – Hampton, VA

Donnie Tuck

Brief Bio (in the words of Donnie): Hampton City Councilman (elected in May 2010); Technical Writer; Former Municipal Government Division Manager. Native of Chapel Hill, NC; 1976 Graduate of Duke University; 1993 Graduate of Old Dominion University (Masters in Public Administration).

Relevant Skills: 12 years experience as a technical writer.

Donnie’s Impact:

Discovering Mifos: Over a year ago, I was conducting online research on economic development and saw information on Bankers without Borders and its need for volunteers to assist in its documentation efforts.

Contributions Made to Date: Documented how to use “Question Groups” and “PPI” sections for Mifos 2.0. (this is one of the biggest features we’ve built in Mifos to date)

Current Projects: Whatever Bankers without Borders needs. For Mifos, documentation on how to use community collaboration tools.

Impact on the Poor: Hopefully, my contribution will help improve the efficiency of providing assistance and tracking the assistance to the poor.

What’s Rewarding about Working on Mifos:

The personal challenge of creating documentation that can be understood by individuals about whom I have no idea of what their capabilities are.”