Thursday, November 29, 2012

SocialCoding4Good Going International with Random Hacks of Kindness

It’s a terrific experience to spend a weekend hacking for social good. Knowing that you’re working with literally thousands of others worldwide makes it simply awe-inspiring.

That’s why we love Random Hacks of Kindness Global: 2 days + 30 countries + 3000 geeks working on making the world a better, safer place. Its mission is strongly aligned with our own at our SocialCoding4Good project: build awareness of technology serving humanity, engage technical volunteers to contribute their time and talents to design and develop it, and foster cross-sector collaboration to amplify its impact.

At RHoK Global in June 2012, we joined the RHoK Sustainability Project and invited participants to build solutions addressing challenges in accessibility or human rights, two core program areas at Benetech. One solution would be selected to receive technical development leadership and guidance toward application and organizational sustainability. We were deeply impressed by the creativity of the teams and their projects and, after a challenging decision process, selected Amnesty International’s Invisible Victims project, which seeks to leverage digital services to support migrants, making the invisible crimes against them visible without putting migrants, their families and networks at further risk. Our partnership, launched shortly after RHoK June 2012, continues forward with a focus on data and digital security.

As RHoK Global December 2012 event is taking place this weekend (December 1st and 2nd) worldwide, Benetech and SocialCoding4Good are thrilled to be participating once again. We realized that our humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS) partners had important roadmap projects with tremendous potential, but in many cases lacked the resources to design, prototype and develop them. Each of these partners has established deployments, an active community and a demonstrated history of creating transformative impact. RHoK Global presented a perfect opportunity to support the sustainability of an existing partner and thus connect individual developers and corporate teams around the globe with the chance to apply their energy, enthusiasm and experience for social benefit.

We’ve teamed up with Mifos, The Community for Open Source Microfinance, an open source platform currently being used in 20 countries to deliver financial services to more than a million people and with HP Social Innovation, a Random Hacks of Kindness core partner as well as our own. Mifos is building a world where each person can access the financial resources needed to create a better life for themselves and their family, truly demonstrating the power of technology to empower peoples’ lives every day. Mifos, HP and SocialCoding4Good will have subject matter experts, technical leads and developer teams at RHoK Bangalore, Dublin and San Francisco, focusing on three key projects:

The contributions of global RHoK participants during the course of the weekend and beyond will strengthen Mifos’ efforts to scale towards a vision of enabling 3 Billion Maries to create a world without poverty. Please join us in creating this transformative impact.

Are you ready to RHoK with Mifos? Learn more at and sign up for your local event on the Random Hacks of Kindness website. We’re excited to collaborate with you!

2 comments:

Marc Canter said...

Lots of incredible, ambitious and disruptive ideas - but the devil is in the details. Its all about execution.

But I firmly believe that humanitarian, open source projects can be a major marketing tool in branding and differentiating startups from the "rest of them."

I can still remember meeting Ben & Jerry - and it wasn't their ice cream that made me remember them!

Marc Canter said...

I can still remember meeting Ben & Jerry - and it wasn't their ice cream that made them stand out. It was their commitment to causes, helping people and creating a balance between for-profit and community efforts.

Your ideas are truthful, ambitious and disruptive - but I gotta say - the devil is in the details. Its all about execution - and that's where 99.99% of open source and standards efforts - fail.

Clearly associating one's brand and company with humanitarian and righteous efforts is a great marketing - but all the more dangerous if the open efforts you support - fail.

I've pitched this approach to consulting clients - for over 10 years - and I've actually only succeeded in getting folks to put money after their mouth - once: http://marc.digitalcitymechanics.com/2004/12/04/marqui_pay_blog/

The campaign was called "Pay bloggers to blog"

We took a company with 400 hits in Google up to 160,000 in four months for $85,000. It was fun! But they blew it on the "call to action!" [DON'T get me started....!]

Anyway - sounds like some great ideas!