Welcome to The Humanitarian FOSS Project @ University of Hartford

The Humanitarian FOSS Project is a collaborative, community-building project that was started by a group of computing faculty and open source proponents at Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Connecticut College. Our goal is to build a community of academic computing departments, IT corporations, and local and global humanitarian and community organizations dedicated to building and using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to benefit humanity.

We are funded by the Directorate for Computing & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) of The National Science Foundation (NSF) under its Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education program (CPATH). The focus of CPATH is to help revitalize interest in computing education. Our project hopes to help revitalization by engaging undergraduates in building open source software for humanitarian organizations.

Our project is part of the growing Humanitarian FOSS Community, a community that was inspired by the Sahana FOSS Disaster Management System, an IT system that was built to aid in the recovery effort following the December 2004 Asian Tsunami. During the past two years, with the help of IT professionals in Sri Lanka and at Accenture Corporation, our students have actively contributed to the Sahana project.

Our approach is not unlike the Habitat for Humanity project: Instead of helping communities build houses, our students help build free software systems that benefit communities. The NSF grant enables us to explore whether engaging students in the Humanitarian-FOSS enterprise will help undergraduates see that designing and building software is an exciting, creative, and (often) a socially beneficial activity.