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Seattle, WA, United States, 2008/07/25 - Mifos, an open source management information system (MIS) for microfinance launches Mifos 1.1, a new release of the open source platform with enhanced configuration capabilities, reporting, internationalization & support for social measurement - Mifos.org.
Mifos, an open source management information system (MIS) for the microfinance industry, announces that George Conard, Executive Director of the Mifos Initiative at Grameen Foundation, will share his strategy and experience for driving a socially motivated open source project at this year’s O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON). The Mifos Initiative is a pioneering approach that uses open source as a tool in the fight against global poverty. Grameen Foundation unveils Mifos 1.1, a new release of the open source platform with enhanced configuration capabilities, reporting, internationalization and support for social measurement. This release was led by significant development contributions from the Mifos team and IBM, and supported by widespread participation throughout its global community.
Microfinance has proven to be an effective means of alleviating poverty by providing small loans to the poor, unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit to rise out of poverty. According to UN Human Development and Microcredit Summit Campaign, of the 1.8 billion adults living on less than $2 per day, only 11% have access to financial services through microfinance. “Inadequate technology poses a serious barrier to the continued growth and effectiveness of microfinance and its ability to reach more of the poor with broader financial services. Microfinance needs an open, flexible platform and a local technology ecosystem to drive support and innovation,” says George Conard.
The Mifos Initiative
Previous solutions for microfinance have failed to deliver flexible, scalable technology or the local support to make the technology effective. Grameen Foundation launched the Mifos Initiative in November 2006 to create a standard technology platform for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and a global ecosystem of technology specialists in developing countries. Mifos, a web-based MIS platform distributed under the Apache 2.0 public license, leverages the collaboration of open source software development to accelerate the development of the platform and propel innovation. Mifos has attracted widespread global interest with online community visitors from more than 180 countries.
”An open source platform like Mifos gives me and my team the flexibility and support to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our local MFIs,“ said Soham Dhakal, co-founder of Magnus Consulting Private Ltd, a local information technology specialist in Nepal. “Through community support we discovered new technology approaches to specific business processes and were able to contribute back key findings of our own. We are motivated to help drive this open standard that enables us all to do our part in the alleviation of poverty.” Soham and his colleagues have independently taken the Mifos source code, contributed a feature to the new release, and are deploying Mifos at two microfinance institutions in Nepal serving more than 75,000 poverty-level borrowers.
New Release of Mifos Delivered
The Mifos community reached a significant development milestone with the release of Mifos 1.1 on July 11. New capabilities include enhanced reporting, expanded configuration options, internationalization support, new loan and meeting scheduling, and client surveys. In addition, social impact tracking and measurement is now available, initially supporting the Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index (PPITM) for India. As a testament to the unifying power of open source, Mifos 1.1 incorporated code submissions from more than five countries ranging from core architecture work led by the Mifos team in Seattle and IBM development staff in Ireland to feature enhancements by local entrepreneurs in Nepal, and performance testing by IBM India.
IBM, which began collaborating with Mifos in October 2007 as part of its global microfinance initiative, was a vital contributor to the success of Mifos 1.1. More than a dozen full-time IBM staff helped to develop new features, build additional reporting capabilities, improve database management, and conduct thorough testing of the application.
Lee Tenny, Project Manager for IBM Microfinance, said, “IBM is investing in the proactive and cooperative development of an open standards platform for microfinance, which is playing a pivotal role in helping to drive broader access to financial services for the poor. We are especially keen to support Mifos’ key role as a catalyst for the microfinance industry and have been working closely with Grameen, with whom we share an interest in open collaboration and grassroots innovation, to help technology keep pace with the rapid evolution of microfinance.”
Mifos at OSCON
George Conard will discuss the challenges and evolution of Mifos during a 45-minute session in the business track, room D137 on July 24, 2008 at 11:35 am.
About Grameen Foundation and the Mifos Initiative
Grameen Foundation (grameenfoundation.org) is a global non-profit organization that combines microfinance, technology, and innovation to empower the world's poorest people to escape poverty. It has established a global network of partners in 28 countries that has impacted an estimated 34 million lives in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East. Based in Washington, D.C., Grameen Foundation was founded by Alex Counts, who began his work in microfinance with 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank. Dr. Yunus is a founding and current member of Grameen Foundation’s board of directors. For more info please visit our website.
Mifos (mifos.org) is an initiative of Grameen Foundation’s Technology Center to pioneer an open source technology platform purpose-built for the microfinance industry. Mifos leverages a widespread global community and ecosystem of technology professionals to provide a holistic information management solution that enables microfinance institutions to more effectively deliver financial services to the poor. The impact of Mifos can be unparalleled; participation occurs at any level – play your part in this global collaborative effort.