The Power of Technology Volunteerism: How SocialCoding4Good Helped FrontlineSMS Improve Its Open Source Software

By Benetech, posted on

At Benetech, we see our role as larger than just focusing on our own social good products. We’re therefore working to increase the engagement of the technology sector with social good projects beyond the scope of our own programs. At the heart of these efforts is SocialCoding4Good, a Benetech Labs initiative that connects highly skilled software developers with opportunities to lend time and talent to humanitarian, open source projects. As nonprofits, they have lean engineering teams, making volunteer contributions invaluable to their product development.

The impact of the SocialCoding4Good global volunteer community is best told through the enhanced capacity of our project partners. Case in point is how SocialCoding4Good-enabled tech volunteerism helped project partner FrontlineSMS improve its product and better serve its users.

FrontlineSMS is open source software that enables users—including those in “last-mile” settings—to affordably engage their communities with SMS-messaging. It is used by organizations all over the world to reach and communicate with offline communities in healthcare, agriculture, microfinance, education, humanitarian aid, and legal services, among others. On the FrontlineSMS blog, Chief Technical Officer Alex Pitkin describes how Frontline’s partnership with SocialCoding4Good resulted in major improvement to the FrontlineSMS contact search and selection capability, using its newly released Multi Selector tool.

The work on this tool was made possible thanks to volunteer contributions by the team at SolDevelo Sp. z o.o, a software development and information outsourcing company based in Gdynia, Poland, which SocialCoding4Good matched with FrontlineSMS.

Pitkin notes that his team worked together with SolDevelo volunteers to design the Multi Selector tool that is “a foundation element to our new automation software, and empowers Frontline users to effectively communicate and automate within their projects, such as monitoring and managing disaster relief efforts.”

Read the complete story on the FrontlineSMS blog. You can also read a SocialCoding4Good interview with SolDevelo about the company’s approach to technology volunteerism.