For Good First Issue is a curated list of open source projects that are also digital public goods and need the help of developers.
The GitHub Social Impact, Tech for Social Good team is excited to announce the launch of our new report, Open Source Software in India, Kenya, Egypt, and Mexico!
For the past 3.5 years, GitHub Tech for Social Good has explored the intersection of open source software (OSS) in the social sector. In April 2020, we published our first research report on the topic, which focused on OSS that was built in high-income countries, like the United States. We learned of key challenges the social sector faces when building or using OSS, such as budgeting for required labor costs, creating sustainability with limited funding, and finding volunteer support.
We shifted our geographic focus for our new report. Many of the OSS that the social sector builds, including digital public goods, are deployed in low- and middle-income countries. In order for us to encourage inclusive design and development, we needed to understand more about OSS communities and the challenges they face in these countries. We selected four low- and middle-income countries that have strong tech ecosystems: India, Kenya, Egypt, and Mexico. Alongside our research partner, OBI Digital, our OSS research project connected us with 53 experts and 578 survey responses.
We discovered a ton of interesting insights! In India, we found out that individual tech entrepreneurs are personally funding major open source initiatives to support vulnerable communities. The social sector in Kenya and civic tech projects in Mexico have been a key driver of OSS in the two countries. In Egypt, student perceptions of OSS have greatly changed in recent years. And interestingly:
All four countries have at least one federal policy on OSS.
One of the best parts about creating our report was the experts with whom we connected.
Here are some of our favorite expert quotes related to the key report themes:
OSS governmental policies and government-adopted digital public goods
OSS in high education, non-traditional education routes to OSS, spoken language and regional differences
Intellectual property, perceptions of OSS, foreign investments, (un)sustainable funding, and sustainability through community building
Building open source communities, social dynamics to participation, and global technology influencers