How Open-Source Software Empowers Nonprofits And The Global Communities They Serve

Article by Steve Francis: “One particular area where this challenge is evident is climate. Thousands of nonprofits strive to address the effects of a changing climate and its impact on communities worldwide. Headlines often go to big organizations doing high-profile work (planting trees, for instance) in well-known places. Money goes to large-scale commercial agriculture or new technologies — because that’s where profits are most easily made. But thousands of other communities of small farmers that aren’t as visible or profitable need help too. These communities come together to tackle a number of interrelated problems: climate, soil health and productivity, biodiversity and human health and welfare. They envision a more sustainable future.

The reality is that software is crafted to meet market needs, but these communities don’t represent a profitable market. Every major industry has its own software applications and a network of consultants to tune that software for optimal performance. A farm cooperative in less developed parts of the world seeking to maximize value for sustainably harvested produce faces very different challenges than do any of these business users. Often they need to collect and manipulate data in the field, on whatever mobile device they have, with little or no connectivity. Modern software systems are rarely designed to operate in such an environment; they assume the latest devices and continuous connectivity…(More)”.

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