The VMware Foundation, which matches employee giving and provides up to 5 days of paid leave for community service, also encourages employees to participate in service projects by holding the #iServe Challenge. Every quarter, they choose the top 5 most popular service projects. All you have to do to participate is explain how you served and what you learned. Here’s what I wrote to win $1000 for Mifos…
Last week I had the opportunity to speak about my Take 3 experience at the vUE conference (VMware User Experience). I thought about how my Take 3 project has impacted my design thinking and vice versa. I talked about what I called “reminders” because we all learn these things as designers, but it’s easy to forget as we get caught up in the day-to-day activities of getting a product shipped. Continue reading
Wow – two of my three months of community service “sabbatical” is over! I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I left for India and Kenya. The two weeks of travel flew by, but I feel like I just got back and two more weeks have gone by. Now I’m feeling a bit crunched that I only have one month left to do all the design work!
I was reminded this week of an Einstein quote. When asked what he would do given one hour to save the world, Einstein replied: “I would spend 55 minutes to understand and formulate the problem, and 5 minutes to come up with ideas/execute the solution.” Continue reading
After two weeks of travel, I am happy to be home. The visits were totally worthwhile. I learned a whole lot about how these microfinance institutions operate and how different the India operations are from the Kenyan ones. Without seeing them in action, I would not even have known what questions to ask.
M-PESA (m for “mobile”, pesa is Swahili for “money”) is a mobile-phone based money and microfinance service offered by Safaricom in Kenya. According to Wikipedia, it is “the most developed mobile payment system in the world. M-Pesa allows users with a national ID card or passport to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily with a mobile device.”
Missions of Hope is located within the Pangani Slums in Nairobi. They provide child sponsorship, education for both children and parents, and support for building a business through their microfinance operations. It turns out their use of Mifos as their MFI platform is very different from the MFIs in India.
My week in Bangalore is coming to a close. It was extremely interesting and informative. My host, Vishwas, was very welcoming and took very good care of me – taking me to dinner, helping me get my local mobile phone working, and even shopping and sightseeing. (Getting the mobile working was no small feat, Continue reading