Gnucoop: a Software House with Humanitarian skills and Free Software Heart

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When the first two “nerds” founders of Gnucoop decided to dedicate their computer knowledge to the Humanitarian AID they knew they should have involved some professionals with experience in several developing countries working in NGOs sector. They strongly believed that the combination of technical competencies with development skills would have given international cooperation projects a better chance to be successful. Gnucoop dedicates a considerable part of its work to activities aiming at providing customized IT solutions and technical assistance to INGOs, UN Agencies and Humanitarian Aid Organisations, supporting them in achieving their purposes. At the beginning, the understanding of the specific language used by developers, the existence of many acronyms, technical terms, simple words used with a completely different meaning didn’t make easy our work. During project implementation we had to use many different tools specific for a Software Development project (i.e. project management platform for agile developers, web-based hosting service for source code). Step by step, project by project, testing by testing, we discovered a new world and now we can say that part of nerds language is also our language.

The merger of these two worlds, which look far from each other in the collective imagination, is our strength. This combination which links nerds, always represented working alone in a tiny room under the light of their PC, and Humanitarian workers, always travelling around the world and surrounded by people, made Gnucoop an uncommon Software House.

Photo Credit: Ong 2.0

For those reasons, it’s a pleasure to share the Digital Development Glossary made by ICTworks and we would like to add some keywords we have already treated in our blog:

E-voucher: Electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) carry information on the monetary value of assistance or items. They can be exchanged through a barcode, a magnetic band or microchip on a card, or by short message service (SMS). Electronic voucher tools (bank card, cell phone, SCOPECARD, etc.) are issued to beneficiaries only once, whereas their refund value or quantity is remotely credited at predefined temporal intervals.

GIS platform: GIS software systems have been used for more than three decades by humanitarian organisations, researchers, and policy makers in order to activate quick responses to natural disasters, to detect early outbreaks of infectious diseases, target development resources, and for public infrastructure planning, such as hospitals and clinics.

And probably the most important issue for us..

Free software: Free software means users have four essential freedoms: users can run the program, study and change the program in source code form, redistribute exact copies and distribute modified versions. Free software gives the possibility of re-using software code, editing and sharing with the community the improvements made to the software code.

An  operating system composed by  free software means that it respects users' freedom

Since its foundation Gnucoop has always believed that no real innovation comes without knowledge sharing.