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June 19, 2018

The Digital Impact Alliance Open Source Center Announces Strategic Grants to Foster Ecosystem Change

By | Newsroom

OSC continues to support projects aimed at improving the capacity and use of technology to advance development and humanitarian efforts

WASHINGTON, DC — The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) Open Source Center announced its Request for Applications (RFA) for strategic grants to fund open source projects serving the international development and humanitarian sectors. The Strategic Grants Program supports solutions to common challenges many technology for development (T4D) projects face when designing and implementing free and open source software (FOSS) projects. This is the first round of strategic grants and the Open Source Center recently closed its second round of catalytic grants.

Up to five grants totaling $900,000 will be awarded along with up to 480 hours of in-kind support to projects that foster a healthy, sustainable, open source community and products. Eligible proposals will involve one or more of the following activity categories: Enterprise-Level Quality Improvements; Multi-stakeholder Collaboration; Platform Building and Generalization; Product Consolidation; and Managing Upstream Dependencies and Downstream Forks.

Over the last decade, the international development community has been exploring how digital technologies, such as open source software, can extend the reach and increase the quality and efficiency of development efforts. The DIAL Open Source Center’s mission is to convene a vibrant and inclusive community for builders of free and open source software – promoting knowledge sharing, collaboration and co-investment in technology and human capacity to support positive social change in communities around the world.

The grants programs, which includes both strategic and catalytic grants, are designed to support existing FOSS projects to further their reach, functionality, and creativity. Through the Strategic Grants program, DIAL and its partners are committed to addressing the systemic barriers to open source projects and promote practices that better align with the Principles for Digital Development. While these grants aim to promote all aspects of the Principles of Digital Development, the categories in this round of funding are focused on Understanding the Ecosystem, Building for Sustainability, Reusing and Improving, and Using Open Source.

“The themes addressed by the Open Source Center Strategic Grants Program represent a unique effort to create systemic change in the T4D ecosystem,” said Jake Watson, Senior Director at DIAL. “We believe these grants will amplify the efforts of open source communities by promoting concrete, practical and technologically-sound projects that demonstrate alignment with the Principles for Digital Development.”

Proposals for funding of new and existing open source projects may be submitted now through July 31, 2018. Software project leaders should coordinate applications within their open source communities, and submit no more than one proposal per open source project. Submissions should represent the community’s best idea(s). Interested applicants can visit http://www.osc.dial.community/grants.html for more information on the Open Source Center and its grant programs.

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About the Digital Impact Alliance

The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) aims to realize a more inclusive digital society in emerging markets, in which all women, men and children benefit from life-enhancing digital services. A partnership among USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Swedish Government and the United Nations Foundation, DIAL’s efforts help accelerate the collective efforts of government, industry and development organizations to realize this vision. http://www.digitalimpactalliance.org/

May 01, 2018

DIAL Open Source Center Announces Catalytic Grant Recipients and Categories for Second Round of Funding to Support Technology for Development Projects

By | Newsroom

Today, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) Open Source Center is thrilled to announce the recipients of its first round of catalytic grants to support technology for development (T4D) projects. The Open Source Center’s Catalytic Grants program is an offering of financial support for free and open source software projects working in the humanitarian response and international development sectors. These grants are intended to support vital work that has been traditionally neglected or not completed. The three grant recipients include Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, OpenDataKit, and LibreHealth.

Over the past decade, the international development community has been exploring how digital technologies, such as open source software, can extend the reach of development efforts. However, a lack of long-term investment,has prevented projects from maturing and scaling to achieve widespread adoption throughout the development sector.

With the Open Source Center, DIAL and its partners are committed to changing this paradigm. By engaging a community of engineers and implementers, meaningful investments can be made to help high-impact international T4D projects reach their potential. As part of its collective action to assist its members, the Center will make available a variety of shared services, either directly by participating organizations or through a variety of coordinated service delivery partners.

“Free and open source software platforms have become critical components of technology-driven international development projects,” said Michael Downey, the OSC’s Director of Community. “These collaborative technology projects often struggle to find resources for key foundational tasks that keep the software performing reliably for its users. We’re excited about the outcomes and benefits for the community that our Catalytic Grant program will make possible.”

The grant to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) provides resources to address a challenge the organization has experienced over the past few years – engaging and onboarding volunteers to contribute to non-mapping tasks such as marketing, writing content, and developing code for tools. As part of this initiative, a technical community manager will create clearly defined processes, guidelines and infrastructure for volunteers to contribute code, content and documentation to four core HOT tools: Tasking Manager, Export Tool, OSM Analytics and OpenAerialMap.

The Open Data Kit (ODK) ecosystem is tied together by the XForm specification. Enketo previously worked on improving documentation for both XForms and XLSForm, a utility for authoring XForm content. With this grant, Enketo will lead work on the current issue backlog and propose processes for enhancements to the specifications. This work benefits all members of the ODK community by making it easier for developers to build more tools to grow the ecosystem and enable greater interoperability among them.

The LibreHealth EHR platform is a large application that is used and frequently distributed as a full web stack installation. Installation and setup typically requires a technically savvy user as LibreHealth does not have “one-click” deployment functionality. This grant enables reconfiguring the core structure of the platform so that it can be deployed as a series of containers using common management standards, such as Kubernetes.

The Open Source Center also announced that its second round of catalytic grants is now available. DIAL will fund up to six offers, each up to $25,000 USD, to advance the mission of fostering healthy, sustainable open source communities and products. Submitted proposals will focus on one of the following high-impact areas: neglected maintenance and performance work, improving a software project’s ability to support security and privacy, and development of improvements to the software’s user experience. Read a full description on the categories here.

Interested open source projects applicable to the T4D field can apply by filling out a form on the Center’s website. Project leaders should coordinate applications within your open source community and submit only one single proposal per open source project that represents your community’s best idea. Deadline to submit is May 31. Apply for a grant here: http://www.osc.dial.community/grants.html

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About the Digital Impact Alliance

The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) aims to realize a more inclusive digital society in emerging markets, in which all women, men and children benefit from life-enhancing digital services. A partnership among USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Swedish Government and the United Nations Foundation, DIAL’s efforts help accelerate the collective efforts of government, industry and development organizations to realize this vision. http://www.digitalimpactalliance.org/

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