Charity Hackathons: August 2020 Report

In September 2019, we shared about the progress of do_action charity hackathons for the year. We went on to work with 15 local communities to organize charity hackathons in 2019, which is a remarkable improvement over the 12 events from 2018.

2020 brought in some unexpected challenges for community organizers across the world due to COVID-19. By March 2020, the pandemic had spread out to most parts of the world, and hence many organizers were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel their planned in-person events. Despite these challenges, community organizers worldwide joined hands with a firm resolve to help charities by organizing online do_action events. As a result, we have seen three online do_action events in 2020 so far, with more events in the pipeline. 

Volunteers of do_action Japan doing a virtual wave.

In pre-COVID-19 times, do_action events were local – with volunteers and NGOs belonging to the respective cities. However, since online events are location-agnostic, organizers decided to experiment with larger do_action events that elicited participants spanning an entire country! The first of such events – do_action Japan – was a success! The event was followed by do_action South Africa in June and do_action India in August. Community organizers have embraced the online event format and are excited about the process.

As geographical restrictions had eased, community organizers went a step ahead and used the opportunity to help out charities located in far-flung areas. Instead of a single day event, local communities experimented with spreading out the event over multiple days or weeks. Organizers, volunteers, and charities also used tools such as Slack and Zoom to collaborate during the event.

A screenshot from a do_action India launch event.

The three events that have already taken place in 2020 saw 359 participants helping out 23 non-profits build their brand new websites. Volunteers also trained these Non-profits on how to use their websites after each event.

Here are some of the websites built at these do_action events:

More than strengthening these charities’ web presence, the websites help these charities in furthering their mission by assisting them to attract volunteers, teach courses, receive donations, and help more people. Our community members’ excellent work goes the extra mile in taking forward the mission and vision of these organizations.

Volunteers of do_action South Africa are helping non-profits learn how to use the WordPress block editor.

We live in challenging times, where the actions of a global community have the power to uplift others’ lives. Unfazed by the challenges of COVID-19, our communities have done stellar work to support charities that contribute to the greater good. As we move forward to the rest of 2020, we are excited to see what our communities do for even more non-profit organizations, and how the do_action program will grow and adapt to an online format!

Update: Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship for WordCamp US 2020

The WordCamp US organizing team has recently made the difficult decision to move WCUS 2020 online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship is intended to provide travel assistance to a woman-identifying contributor with financial need who has never attended WordCamp US before, we will not be issuing the scholarship this year. When it is safe to meet in person, we will resume the scholarship once again for future, in person, WordCamp US events. 

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship for WordCamp US 2020

MAY 8, 2020 UPDATE: Because WordCamp US 2020 will be online, we will not be issuing the scholarship this year.

The WordPress Foundation will once again offer the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship. Kim was a valued and committed contributor to the WordPress open source project, and this is the WordPress Foundation’s way of honoring her memory. This scholarship will be awarded to one woman-identifying WordPress contributor who has never attended WordCamp US before, and requires financial assistance to attend.

The Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship provides travel assistance so that the recipient can attend WordCamp US, including travel from the recipient’s home city, hotel stay for the duration of the event, and a ticket to WordCamp US.  

To be considered, please apply no later than Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12 am Pacific.

For more details, please visit the WordPress Foundation’s About the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship page

Click here to apply for the scholarship.

Successful Open Source Workshops in Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Angola

In 2019, we set a goal of supporting the organizing more “Introduction to Open Source” workshops in parts of the world with less participation in open source: Latin and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia*.

Currently, we have had these workshops taking place in

Vadodara, India

The Introduction to Open Source workshop in Vadodara happened on September 01.

The workshop touched on different open-source licences and a discussion around why major organizations use the GPL license.

Dhruv Pandya who organized the event, felt the workshop would help their meetup grow with newer members.

After the announcement of “Intro to open source” workshop more attendees have become more involved with us

Lahore, Pakistan

The Introduction to Open Source workshop in Lahore happened on September 14.

Abdullah Ramzan who organized the event was excited about discussions around various open source projects, and a session around GitHub.

Thimphu, Bhutan

Ugyen Dorji organized the Introduction to Open Source Workshop in Thimphu, Bhutan on October 5.

Along with a session which introduced people to different types of open source software and their licenses, they combined it with a second session around building sites on WordPress using the new block editor.

Luanda, Angola

Marcio Zebedeu organized the Workshop Introdução ao Open Source on October 25. It was a small meetup hence they mainly decided to have a discussion around the GPL licence and how open source software would help their local community.

Marcio feels the workshop has helped recruit more local organizers for meetups around translating WordPress to Portuguese (Angola).

More workshops in the pipeline

There are a couple of workshops being still being planned that will happen in 2019. They are not announced as yet.

In the next couple of months we will open applications for Open Source Workshops for 2020.

*According to a recent study, the majority of Github participation in OSS projects is centered in North America and Western and Northern Europe.

Charity Hackathons: September 2019 Report

At the end of 2018 we reported on the progress of the do_action charity hackathon event series for the year. At that time, we had worked with twelve local communities over the course of the year to help them run their own do_action events — a step up from four events the previous year!

Participants at the do_action event in Karachi.

So far in 2019, eleven successful do_action events have been organized across Europe, Africa, Asia and Central America, while another five are on the schedule for the rest of the year. Of these eleven events, nine were the first-time do_action events for the city. This kind of growth has been great to see and we are encouraged by the way the do_action program has been embraced by so many new communities.

A group of the do_action Rotterdam participants.

At the eleven events that have already taken place, there were a total of 465 participants from the local communities and a total of 75 non-profits organizations that received brand new websites, as well as WordPress training on the day of the event.

do_action teams working hard in Lagos.

Some of the websites built at these do_action events are:

All of the participants who took part in the Manila do_action event.

While these websites all look great, they offer these non-profits so much more than a fresh online presence. With their new websites working for them, each of these organizations is able to receive donations, attract volunteers, help more people, and further their charitable work. It is a great gift that goes beyond a bit of programming and really touches the heart of what the founders of organizations like these set out to do in the first place.

As we look ahead to the rest of 2019 and beyond, we’re excited to see what our communities do for even more non-profit organizations and where the do_action program will grow from here.

One of the do_action Bengaluru build teams hard at work.

See the do_action website to find a local event near you, and read through the Organizer’s Handbook to find out more about organizing one yourself.

2019 Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship Recipient: Carol Gann

This year’s Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship recipient is Carol Gann, an enthusiastic WordPress developer, meetup, and WordCamp organizer from the Orlando community. Carol’s passion is empowering people with WordPress. In particular, she enjoys helping small business owners and bloggers be comfortable and conversant with their WordPress websites, and has created numerous, online WordPress tutorials and videos.

The WordPress Foundation created this memorial scholarship in 2015, to honor the memory of longtime WordPress contributor Kim Parsell. This scholarship provides financial support to a woman who contributes to the WordPress open source project, who would not otherwise be able to attend WordCamp US. More information on the scholarship, including information on past recipients, is available here

You can read more about Carol and what led her to this opportunity on the WordCamp US 2019 site

Call for Organizers: Introduction to Open Source Workshops for 2019

Last year, in an effort to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software (OSS), the WordPress Foundation helped fund four “Introduction to Open Source” workshops in Ghana, India, Colombia and St. Lucia.

The goal of this workshop series is to highlight the potential of open source software in regions where there is less participation in OSS projects.

Last year’s workshops were quite successful, so in 2019 we’re expanding this program to support up to ten separate events.

We are particularly interested in funding event held in regions where there might be less awareness of — or support for — participation in open source, specifically Latin and South America, Africa, Oceania and Asia*.

Event title: Introduction to Open Source

Event description: What do people mean when they use the term Open Source when referring to software? This workshop will cover that question as well as what the GPL software license provides, why WordPress is an open-source project, and how this is important for both the users of WordPress and the contributors to WordPress.

Event purpose: Spread knowledge and understanding of the open web and open source through two-hour training events, staffed and organized by local communities, and financially supported by the WordPress Foundation, using training materials here:

Financial support: up to $200 USD per event, available to cover costs associated with event venue, refreshments, and/or videography / photography.

Expectations for organizers: Event should be free of cost, open to anyone, and organized/held in 2019. Strong preference will be given to organizers who are already members of a community group that is part of the WordPress open source project’s meetup chapter program, but has not yet organized a WordCamp.

Organizers should not need to solicit additional event sponsorship. Financial support will be provided via Paypal or wire transfer, and will require documentation. This financial support will be in the form of reimbursement after the event has taken place.

We’ll select and notify our first round of shortlisted groups by the 31st May 2019 and the second round of shortlisted groups by 31st August 2019.

The application form will be closed on 15th July 2019.

Interested in organizing an event like this? Fill out this 10-question application!

*According to a recent study, the majority of Github participation in OSS projects is centered in North America and Western and Northern Europe.

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship for WordCamp US 2019

The WordPress Foundation is once again offering the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship, a travel assistance program. Kim was a valued and committed contributor to the WordPress open source project, and this is the WordPress Foundation’s way of honoring her. This scholarship will be awarded to a woman-identifying WordPress contributor who has never attended WordCamp US before, and requires financial assistance to attend.

The Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to one recipient every year, and covers travel to WordCamp US from the recipient’s home city, hotel stay for the duration of the event, and a ticket to WordCamp US.  

To be considered, please apply no later than Friday, May 31, 2019 at 12 am Pacific.

For more details, please visit the WordPress Foundation’s About the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship page.


Click here to apply for the scholarship.

Successful Open Source Workshops in Ghana, India, Colombia and St. Lucia in 2018

In 2018, we set a goal of supporting the organizing of four “Introduction to Open Source” workshops in parts of the world with less participation in open source: Latin and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia*.

This was accomplished with events in

Kumasi, Ghana

The Introduction to Open Source workshop in Kumasi was held on November 15, 2018 at HapaSpace.

Albert Opoku, the main organizer for the event, commented that after an introduction to open source philosophy and relevant examples, there was a good discussion amongst the attendees.

The issue of Africa’s low contribution to Open Source was widely discussed, participants discussed what were the challenges and also came up with a few suggestions to increase our participation in open source.

The WordPress Kumasi meetup group was founded a little over two years ago, and currently has 130 members. A few new members signed up for the meetup group during the workshop, to get involved with the community.

Udaipur, India

The Introduction to Open Source workshop in Udaipur was held on November 18, 2018 at CTAE.

When asked about what the impact of the event had on attendees, main organizer for the event, Surbhi Jain commented

A lot of young students from schools and colleges took a keen interest in joining further local meetups.

The WordPress meetup group for Udaipur was formed over 3 years ago. The workshop was attended by well over 50 attendees.

Barranquilla, Colombia

The Introduction to Open Source workshop in Barranquilla happened on November 24 at CUC University.

The main organizer, Fabian Altahona suggested that many of the attendees were not aware of how to go about contributing to open source projects and would get more involved.

Many people thought open source and contributing was not that common, and they contacted the speakers to share their fears and doubts about it. Based on this experience, we would think they will actually become more involved in open source.

After the workshop in Barranquilla was planned, the Barranquilla meetup group found a sponsor to pay for refreshments and was also able to find a free venue — which meant they did not need financial from the WordPress Foundation for this event.

Castries, St. Lucia

The final Introduction to Open Source workshop was in Castries, St. Lucia also on November 24 at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

The organizer, Uriahs Victor, felt that the workshop helped get more attention toward the WordPress meetup group in Castries. A hot topic of discussion at the workshop was security and updates in open source software.

Looking forward to more workshops in 2019

Based on the success of these four workshops, we hope to expand this program in the future. If you’re interested in organizing an event of this kind in your community, please keep an eye out for the next call for organizers, which will be posted in the coming months!

If you’re interested in helping the WordPress Foundation support open source education all over the world, please donate today!

*According to a recent study, the majority of Github participation in OSS projects is centered in North America and Western and Northern Europe.

2018 Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship Recipient: Nidhi Jain

This year’s Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship recipient is Nidhi Jain, a developer who enjoys helping her clients learn how to use WordPress. Over the past four years, she has contributed to the WordPress Core, Polyglots, Support, Community, Themes, Plugins and Meta teams. Jain recently served as the lead organizer of WordCamp Udaipur 2018, and continues to participate actively in her local WordPress community.

The WordPress Foundation created this memorial scholarship in 2015, to honor the memory of longtime WordPress contributor Kim Parsell. This scholarship provides financial support to a woman who contributes to the WordPress open source project, who would not otherwise be able to attend WordCamp US. More information on the scholarship, including information on past recipients, is available here.

You can read more about Nidhi and what led her to this opportunity on the WordCamp US 2018 site.