Taarifa started at the WaterHackathon in 2011 as a bunch of hackers trying to solve the problem around citizen led water delivery, after a pilot and development we ended up winning the global Sanitation Hackathon. But we were still missing something, our community had grown – as had our userbase – both in terms of organisations deploying Taarifa, but in terms of citizens using it to report. But we felt we could do more and be better.
Enter GWOB. GWOB provided us with structure and mentorship. This involved pulling the community together hanging out on a fortnightly basis, linking with up mentors helping us in design, engagement and governance. At times this provided great direction, at other it helped as a sounding board to either validate the community’s thoughts and/or provide a sounding board for discussion. Throughout this process GWOB didn’t charge a cent, they were focused on building a better world for post-hackathon applications, regardless of time and energy.
Then we changed. Taarifa was the subject of a Innovation Challenge of the World Bank. This called for a series of hackathons globally then focusing on Taarifa’s Tanzanian developer community, and expanding it post hackathon with dedicated support. GWOB took care of the hackathon planning and execution in Boston and London, here we rounded off the rough edges around Taarifa and got more developers involved. This is all documented here. Finally, we landed in Tanzania to support the Taarifa community in Dar, GWOB was with us from that hackathon, then supporting in the field from helping convene local community members to eliciting in-depth user feedback and future requirements – making Taarifa more relevant to its users from citizens to water engineers, ultimately improving the local rural water supply.
Please support them, if not for Taarifa, but for any of the other cool projects that they do, Taarifa is just one open source project in the commons. We can improve the world as we see it by supporting the global commons, supporting one project supports it all.