Volunteer Positions Available with the Sahana Software Foundation

We have identified several positions where we need volunteers from the community to take on a specific role and responsibilities supporting the Sahana Software Foundation. A lot of this involves doing the RBS (really boring stuff) that it is hard to get volunteers to do without sufficient motivation. So in exchange for their time and commitment, such persons will get an official title and the expectations that go with it - starting with a mention and profile on the Community Page of our web site; but if they don’t do the job, they will get replaced. Eventually, some of the most RBS positions may be supported by a funded core team at SSF - but others will remain volunteer - we are committed to remaining a global volunteer community - and we do not have that funding yet.

What’s in it for you: If a title like “Sahana Software Foundation Social Media Coordinator” and a nice profile on our web site is not enough for you, persons taking on such responsibilities for SSF as volunteers will be prioritized for travel sponsorship for our annual meeting starting next year (in Hawaii!….. no, just kidding about Hawaii) and to represent SSF at other events related to their responsibilities. It will be the responsibility of the Community Development Committee for creating an appropriate incentive and reward program for members and non-members who contribute in this way. (imho, for example, anyone willing to take on one of these roles should be granted Membership into SSF, but that will be for our CDC to decide).

What’s in it for SSF: We get critical things done with clear understanding of who is responsible. Collective maintenance of our infrastructure has faltered in the past or repeatedly fallen upon the two or three individuals willing to help out in this way with no formal reward system or recognition being made for their service. This is also consistent with and advances our program of collective and broad Membership responsibility within the SSF.

Many of these positions would be ideal for new contributors and students (graduate or undergraduate) looking for experience that they can add to their CV or LinkedIn Profile (an expectation of a favorable recommendation would also be reasonable to put on the table as an incentive) or members of our community looking for a way to contribute that does not only involve writing code.

Persons interested in filling one of these positions should apply by sending a note of interest to: volunteer@sahanafoundation.org. Positions will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified.

SSF is currently seeking to fill the following positions. Multiple roles may be filled by the same person (time and willingness permitting). Priority will be given to current SSF contributors, but if suitable candidates are not found, we will open our search to other volunteer and technical communities such as Crisis Commons and the Crisis Mappers Network.

Positions Reporting to the Community Development Committee (Chair)

Member Coordinator

Responsibilities: Conduct polls and votes for Member positions on Executive Committees and help lead/facilitate discussion and decisions on any other issues that need to be made by Members in between annual meetings. Maintain and update membership roster and information pages for Members on the Foundation wiki. (Under the Member: namespace). Coordinate with SSF Secretary on preparing materials for the annual meeting. Liaison with user accounts administrator to ensure all members are given SSF user accounts.

Qualifications: Experience with Google apps, dokuwiki editing.

Volunteer Coordinator

Responsibilities: Our general volunteer coordinator will need to work closely in coordination with the partnership coordinator(s) as the responsibilities are highly inter-related. The focus on the volunteer coordinator is to provide support for incoming contributors to the Sahana Software Foundation no matter what their source - whether from GSOC or a RHoK event or just someone who finds out about us online and wants to contribute. The primary role of the volunteer coordinator is to make these folks feel welcome in the Sahana Software Foundation, to ensure that good introductory how-to-get-involved materials are maintained on our wiki - both technical (such as: how to get started contributing to the Eden project-type materials) and non-technical tasks for volunteers, and that they be brought up-to-speed quickly so they can more easily join the Sahana community as a contributor to one of our projects. This person would also be responsible for organizing volunteer surge capacity contributions to SSF efforts during times of emergency or disaster response activities coming from external sources like Crisis Camps, when it can be difficult to make new contributors feel welcome and that their contributions are useful. This position would also be responsible for filling the gaps for being the liaison with organizations for which there is no dedicated partnership coordinator.

Qualifications: Good organizational and inter-personal skills. Have enough technical knowledge of both Eden and Agasti products to be able to serve as a resource for new developers - at least be able to point them to instructions or be the liaison to a more technical resource.

Partnership Coordinators (multiple)

These persons would serve as the main liaison between SSF and volunteer based organizations that are sources of potential contributors to Sahana - including but not limited to Crisis Commons, Crisis Mappers Network, the HFOSS Project and Random Hacks of Kindness. This would include providing updates on their infrastructure (wikis or google docs) of problem definitions, potential projects or Sahana-related coding contributions that could be supported by these organizations, attending coding events (such as Crisis Camps or RHoK events) virtually or (ideally) in person to help facilitate bringing new developers up to speed and working on Sahana before handing them off to the Sahana projects. This would also entail things like updating the list of Crisis Mapping deployments that the Crisis Mappers networks maintains.

Crisis Commons Coordinator

Crisis Commons organizes volunteers interested in contributing to disaster response activities through technical innovation, and particularly through open source software. SSF has had a strong and collaborative relationship with Crisis Commons since its founding but needs to devote more attention to supporting the relationship. If you are also a contributor to Crisis Commons and like participating in Crisis Camps, this is a great opportunity to serve as the Sahana coordinator and liaison between our communities.

Responsibilities: The responsibilities of this person would include:

  • Contact, coordination and relationship management with Crisis Commons and Crisis Camp coordinators.
  • Maintaining project information on the Crisis Commons wiki related to how CC participants can contribute to SSF generally or at disaster event-specific Crisis Camps. This may involve writing up new project descriptions, blueprints or design specifications, providing updated links to SSF wikis to developer support materials, etc.
  • Actively recruiting new contributors to SSF from the Crisis Commons community - this may include both coders and non-coders alike; assist people in setting up developer’s environments, understanding our coding and contributor conventions.
  • Liaison and coordination with the Sahana community to encourage/organize participation at Crisis Camps and other Crisis Commons activities.
  • Attending in person and/or virtually Crisis Camps and other Crisis Commons events. This might include organizing a group of people at a Crisis Camp to work on Sahana-based solutions; coordinating them on site and virtually throughout the Crisis Camp; providing or directing volunteers to technical mentoring and assistance as required.
  • Maintain and cultivate ongoing relationships with new contributors and possible users of Sahana-based solutions we meet through Crisis Commons.

HFOSS Project Coordinator

The HFOSS Project, started at Trinity College but which has now spread to several US colleges and universities, teaches open source programming to students as part of computer science curriculum and seeks to contribute to humanitarian open source projects like Sahana. They also run a summer internship program at Trinity College. They have been significant contributors to Sahana in the past and can do so again, but need technical mentorship and guidance. Their students have a particular interest in developing mobile (Android) applications. HFOSS has several independent projects (such as the POSIT mobile reporting system) that are good candidates for integration with existing Sahana projects or could become independent Sahana projects through an incubator process, which would help develop and support a sustainable community around HFOSS Project projects. There is incredible growth opportunity for SSF through a strong relationship and partnership with the HFOSS Project, which the CEO has been trying to maintain and will continue to support, but it really needs someone more technical who can be committed to this.

Responsibilities: Very similar to administering and mentoring the GSOC program. The primary responsibility is to be the point of contact and liaison with HFOSS Project Chapters - particularly Ralph Morelli and Trishan de Lanerolle at Trinity College. Other responsibilities would include:

  • Develop project ideas for students to work on during the school year (long-term, collaborative projects that are not needed in the near-term for responses) and during the summer (more focused with full-time help available for a couple of months).
  • Provide remote and possibly on site technical orientation and training in Sahana coding conventions.
  • Maintain contact with students and professors; get them signed up and engaged on our developers and main discussion lists, set up with launchpad accounts, working on our infrastructure (launchpad, bzr, ticketing system, wiki, etc.).
  • Help organize and facilitate merge proposals from contributions made from HFOSS students with project PMCs.
  • Organize community support for HFOSS projects that could become integrated with Sahana projects or set up as independent Sahana projects through an incubator process.

RHoK Coordinator

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) events are held every six-months and the sustainability of contributions to projects and volunteers is our main goal. RHoK provides an opportunity to provide visibility to Sahana-based solutions to important stakeholders who attend and contribute problem definitions (UN Agencies, the World Bank, Red Cross chapters, international NGOs) - to let them know that solutions exist - and platforms to build solutions exist - rather than reinventing the wheel every six months, to serve as a possible recruiting opportunity for new experienced technical contributors and then to sustain them, and to help SSF forge partnerships with the sponsoring organizations who are not insignificant in the world (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, NASA). As RHoK is expanding their scope and encouraging organizations to organize events under their umbrella, this is another huge opportunity for the growth of Sahana’s outreach for a self-starter.

Responsibilities: The responsibilities of this person would include:

  • Contact, coordination and relationship management with RHoK coordinators (core team and site-specific organizing teams).
  • Maintaining problem definitions on the RHoK in the form and format they prefer (through rewriting/summarizing existing blueprints and design documents or developing new ones and providing appropriate links to our wikis with technical resources).
  • Liaison and coordination with Sahana technical community to encourage/organize their participation, on site and remote support for new contributors.
  • Attending in person and/or virtually RHoK events to present Sahana-based problem definitions at the opening of the events.
  • Organizing groups of persons at RHoK sites to work on Sahana-based problem definitions; coordinate them on site and virtually throughout the event; provide or direct volunteers to technical mentoring and assistance as required.
  • Maintain and cultivate ongoing relationships with new contributors and possible users of Sahana-based solutions after the events.

Qualifications: Qualifications for all of these position include having enough technical knowledge of both Eden and Agasti products to be able to serve as a resource for new developers - at least be able to point them to instructions or be the liaison to a more technical resource. Ability to write clear problem definitions and/or instructions for tasks for new developers.

Volunteer Positions reporting to the SSF CEO

Social Media Coordinator

Responsibilities: Manage, administer and maintain updates on the organization’s social media sites - including its facebook page, twitter account, flickr account, and slideshare account. Coordinate with the CEO and projects to ensure that timely announcements are shared via the most appropriate means and that SSF’s social media sites are effectively utilized to attract users and contributors to the organization. Outreach to community members to collect photos, presentations and other materials to be posted appropriately to the SSF social media sites.

Qualifications: experience managing group or organization pages on facebook, twitter accounts, use of auto-posting tools like Twitterfeed.

Web site administrator

Responsibilities: Maintain and administer the SSF’s website - a WordPress 3.1 site hosted at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab. Provide liaison with OSUOSL support team for any maintenance issues. Schedule and make upgrades to wordpress and plugins; schedule and ensure proper onsite and offsite backup of the system and database is conducted; provide CSS support for minor front-end design changes required. Work with Web Site Content editor on any changes/updates needed to widgets, headers, footers, CSS.

Qualifications: Experience administering and providing technical support to hosted wordpress web sites. Design experience a plus.

Web site content editor

Responsibilities: Maintain and update and edit content on the SSF web site. Update existing pages as necessary based on new releases, current events, changes in deployment status; Write stories about news and events. Solicit blog posts from Members about events participated in or new releases. Moderate postings from and approve contributor access for Community Members. Moderate and approve comments submitted to the site. Additionally responsible for updating and maintaining the Sahana wikipedia page.

Qualifications: Experience writing and editing content on a wordpress site. Strong english and writing skills preferred; editorial experience a plus.

Event Coordinator

Responsibilities: Coordinate participation of SSF members at events such as the SSF Annual Meeting and other events SSF is organizing - such as Grace Hopper Celebration Code-a-thons, RELIEF (Camp Roberts) events, etc. These responsibilities may include but are not limited to:

  • maintaining a budget
  • making or approving transportation arrangements within this budget
  • arranging for accommodations (identifying accommodations, negotiating a favorable rate, making reservations)
  • arranging for all aspects of the event or meeting facilities including space, projectors, white boards, internet access, other AV or required materials
  • coordinating meals/breaks/refreshments for the events
  • providing information to all participants as to the arrangements and serving as the single point of contact for questions
  • collecting expense reports (form to be provided by SSF) and receipts from participants and organizing payments from SSF (via the CEO)
  • coordinating with and maintaining all financial records required by the CEO, Financial Oversight Committee, Treasurer/CFO and the SSF’s accountants.

Qualifications: Good with numbers and good organizational skills; good interpersonal and communication skills.

Graphics Designer

We are always in need of a graphic designer with experience in the design and customization of wordpress, dokuwiki and trac themes. We would like to make our wikis look and feel more like our web site with consistent themes. If you have these skills and are interested in contributing to improving the design of our sites, please let us know.

Filled Volunteer Positions with SSF

Positions Reporting to the Community Development Committee (chair)

Community Call Coordinator

Filled by: Michael Howden

Responsibilities: schedule and facilitate two monthly community voice calls at different times (and close to the same date) to ensure maximum participation of our global community. Post an open agenda to allow community members to indicate topics they would like to discuss, news they would like to share, or issues that they would like hear more about. Set up the technical facility for the calls and serve as moderator/facilitator or see that someone else is available to serve in this role.

Qualifications: aptitude with google apps, webex, skype. good organizational, inter-personal and telephone skills.

GSOC Administrators

Filled by (for 2011 GSOC): David Bitner (primary); Mark Prutsalis (backup); Darlene McCullough (Agasti Coordinator); Michael Howden (Eden Coordinator)


  • Complete and submit organization application to Google
  • Organize annual information pages and ideas pages on our wiki
  • Recruit mentors
  • Promote and encourage students to apply with SSF (coordinate with Social Media Coordinator) through outreach efforts to students and universities world wide.
  • Liaison/coordination with PMCs
  • Organize evaluation of student proposals
  • Monitor progress throughout the program and complete required program evaluations.

Qualifications: Good organizational and scheduling skills.

Positions Reporting to the SSF CEO

Sahana Wiki Administrator

Filled by: Darlene McCullough

Responsibilities: Primarily responsible for the main foundation wiki (dokuwiki); providing support for hosted dokuwiki instance hosted by OSUOSL; maintaining oversight of admin functions, including user account and group access according to our wiki standards. See section 5.1.4 for description of the Sahana Wiki Administrator’s main responsibilities. This person, as editor, would actively work to improve the quality of content on the wiki, moving old pages with deprecated information to an archive: namespace, and reorganize and update content throughout. This person would also seek to engage others to serve as administrators/editors for specific namespaces as detailed in the wiki standards.

User accounts administrator

Filled by: Abhishek Arora

Responsiblities: Maintain and administer the google apps account - providing sahanafoundation.org accounts to SSF Directors, Members, Officers, Staff and volunteers with individual roles and positions with SSF; maintaining and updating group distribution lists. Approve new subscription requests to all discussion lists. Moderate postings from non-members. Create and maintain an announcement-only list. Monitor public lists to ensure questions are responded to or forwarded to appropriate groups or individuals for a response.

Qualifications: Experience with administering Google Apps, Googlegroups, Mailman.

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