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Mifos in Ecuador

Hello Mifos Community,

There are still 2.5 billion people worldwide that do not have access to basic financial services. Financial inclusion is working to bring this number down. However, financial inclusion only works when available. It is costly to implement and difficult to access for many developing countries. This is why the Mifos Initiative has been working to develop Financial Inclusion 2.0, an innovative approach to allow every person access to financial services using just their phone.Mifos in front of Central Bank of Ecuador

Mobile Money in Ecuador

In 2013, Ecuador reported that there were more mobile phone lines than citizens in their country. Yet, 60% of the Ecuadorian population does not have access to financial services, and that number only gets higher in rural areas. Realizing this, the Ecuadorian government saw an opportunity where a mobile electronic payment system could be the answer to their financial inclusion problems. Ecuador implemented the first-ever state-run mobile electronic payment system that is low cost and easy to access for everyone that has a mobile phone. Read more

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

Meet the 2016 Google Summer of Code Class of Interns

Google Summer of Codegsoc2016-sun-373x373 2016 is officially underway. GSOC is now in its 12th year and we’re proud to be participating in GSOC once again for the third time as the Mifos Initiative and the fifth year overall. This year was our most selective year ever with an acceptance rate of 6.08%. We received 115 proposals and had to choose amongst many exceptional candidates to allocate our seven slots. Selecting our top candidates that balanced with the highest priority needs of our community was a difficult process but we’re delighted to be working with a stellar team of interns from three continents who will be working on mobile apps, our community app, and new modules and integrations.

On the mobile front, Vishwajeet will be building out our first client-facing app – an Android self-service banking app. Rajan will be evolving our Android field operations app to Version 3.0. Our community app won’t be recognizable after this summer with Duplex working on refactoring and re-skinning it, Mohit adding in browser-based offline access and Adhyan adding in actionable notifications and status alerts. On top of the Fineract platform, Daniel will be adding in a module for mobile money integration and Nikhil working on credit bureau integration.

Given we had to be so selective and turn away so many candidates who had impressive applications and meaningful contributions, we’re pushing to run our own Mifos Summer of Code in parallel. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to provide stipends to the students we couldn’t choose but have high-priority projects along with seasoned mentors ready to guide them. Stay tuned for more on Mifos Summer of Code.

Our Google Summer of Code students started their first day of coding on Monday so please welcome them and send a word of encouragement to our mailing lists. As we do each year, here’s a brief intro on each of our interns and stay tuned for a follow-up post with some fun facts on each of them.

 

Duplex Kamdjou – Cameroon

  • Refactor & Re-Skin AngularJS Community App
  • Mentor: Pranjal Goswami & Gaurav Saini
Mohit Bajoria – India

Adhyan Srivastava – India

  • Actionable Notifications & Status Alerts
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini & Pranjal Goswami
Vishwajeet Srivastava – India

  • Mifos Self-Service Android App
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna & Swapnil
Rajan Maurya – India

  • Mifos Android Field Operations App Version 3.0
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna and Satya Naryan
Daniel Carlson – Cameroon 

Nikhil Pawar – USA

  • Credit Bureau Integration
  • Mentor: Nayan Ambali and Ashok Auty

Read more

2015 Winter Outreachy Intern Wrapup

As we look towards bringing on a full class of Google Summer of Code interns, let’s reflect on our recent group of interns who completed our Winter 2015 Outreachy program with Mifos for the first time.  Outreachy was a journey for both our interns and our mentors as it brought home many lessons in communications and collaboration across an open source community as  our three interns collectively worked on our Android field operations app. After their contributions we now have a refactored and redesigned app, a wide range of new functionalities for field officers, and a mobile UI for capturing surveys.  Join us in giving a big thank you to Olya, Nelly, and Nasim, and their mentors, Ishan, Gaurav, and Markus. Read on to learn more about what they built and what their most lasting experiences from their internship were.

Read more

Star Contributor of the Month – Ishan Khanna

 

Meet Our Star Contributor for March 2015 – Ishan Khanna

Ishan entered The Mifos Community as a Google Summer of Code 2014 participant where he grabbed hold of Android Client and built out the native Android field operations app for Mifos X users. Over the course of last summer, Ishan took the community from no mobile app to full functionality. His work can be seen in the Mifos Android Client User Guide.

IK SummitIshan didn’t stop there. He has been active in the Community ever since – even though he has a full-time job with SeekSherpa. He has contributed major bug fixes and engaged others in the community. During the 2015 Summit, he made contributions to several partners including FINA in Georgia to help get their remote app to full functionality. Tengiz Merabishvili from FINA says, “Ishan helped us a bunch, he is a great developer. He is very energetic and knowledgeable. He is a hard worker and once he sets his mind to do something, he always gets it done. I enjoyed our brief time working together, and learned a lot.”

In Ishan’s own words, “I am an insatiable geek, striving for perfection in software.  I love giving Tech Talks and motivating people about FOSS Development.” He has two and one-half years Android Platform experience. He has a gained good grip on Java, Android SDK, Git, Gradle and other related technologies in this period.

Q.  On what projects are you currently working?

A.  I’m working on an app that will allow travellers to connect with locals and change the way travellers see a city these days. TL;DR – Disrupting the Conventional Travel Experience.

 Q.   What is most rewarding about working with the Mifos Community?

A.  The opportunity to meet, work with and learn from people in Global Mifos Summit, having experience in the industry more than my total living age. And to represent Mifos Initiative at Google Summer of Code Reunion in San Jose, California in October, 2014.

 Q.  How do you play when you aren’t working?

India Love in DubaiA.  When I am not working I am usually digging into new frameworks, languages and tech blogs. Find food across the world through YouTube. Or watching “The Big Bang Theory”.

Perhaps painting his face in support of India while in Dubai slipped his mind. . .

Thanks Ishan for your contributions and your joyful spirit!

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

Banking Reinvented – Open, Cloud & Mobile

Video from James Dailey’s talk at FinDEVr is now live. Watch his invigorating talk on using the Mifos X open technology platform to bring financial services to the 4 Billion underbanked worldwide. We’re helping financial innovators deliver banking as a service in the cloud and via mobile devices. For full details, see our page on the Finovate website and James’ blog from the event.

 

2014 Google Summer of Code Wrapup – Bigger and Better than Ever

It’s been just over a month since the 2014 Google Summer of Code program has officially concluded so now that things have settled down it’s due time to recognize our fantastic students, their dedicated mentors, and their long-lasting contributions they have made to the community. Each of our students excelled in their projects and have cemented themselves as anchors in the community, eager to contribute more code and continuing as they’ve done this summer. A huge thank you to Google for allowing us to be a part of GSOC – Carol, Cat, and company have done a remarkable job with the program in its tenth year.

Read more

Ishan’s GSOC’14 Experience with Mifos

Story So Far

gsoc-aspirant@mifos: Finding Organisation….[Done]
gsoc-aspirant@mifos: Introduction to Developer Community….[Done]
gsoc-aspirant@mifos: Finding a Project….[Done]
gsoc-aspirant@mifos: Contributing – Iterating – Contributing…………………………………………….[Done]
gsoc-aspirant@mifos: Selected @ Mifos
ishan@mifos: Developing Android Client………………….[Working]

 

androidThis is my first experience as an open source developer for an organisation and undoubtedly it’s been awesome so far. Working alongside experienced developers is always fun, for I love learning from others’ experiences.

Writing code that others can contribute to as well had always been a challenge, until I started with my android-client project. What can give nightmares to others is now a child’s play for me. A cool thing about Mifos is that I just don’t have one mentor, but anyone I ask for help behaves like a kind mentor to me. Always ready to help! Full of zeal and readiness to clear all your doubts! Read more