Last night I attended a BOF (Birds of a Feather session) about HFOSS – Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software. There were a number of organizations represented, including Ushahidi and OpenMRS, two projects that I’m a big fan of.
HFOSS is an interesting set of software projects, since, for the most part, the developers on the projects are not users of the software. It’s typically software that’s developed for a non-technical audience, often in the third world. As such, it’s often hard to attract developers to these projects, but the people that do end up working on these projects are people who are passionate about issues of poverty, social justice, hunger, the digital divide, and so on, and want to use their skills to help those who are not as privileged as ourselves.
If you are such a person, I encourage you take a look at the Humanitarian FOSS Project, as one place where these projects congregate. This is not, by a long shot, a comprehensive list of projects in this space, but it’s a good place to start looking for places you can plug in.