Country/User Participation in OpenLMIS v3

The OpenLMIS Initiative Today

The OpenLMIS initiative continues to evolve, both in scope and in geographic implementations. The initiative is currently deployed in six geographies (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia, and Zanzibar), along with a planned deployment in Malawi. Additionally, other opportunities for future implementations continue to arise. As the scope and breadth of the initiative expands, maintaining strong governance of its community and encouraging participation by in-country implementers and partners stand out as two primary goals of the initiative in 2016. This document outlines the current state of governance of the OpenLMIS initiative and community as well as the vision shared by partners for its growth and expansion into further geographies and programs.

OpenLMIS Participation Vision

The open-source community, one of the initiative’s core principles, has made great strides in its organization and governance over the past several months. While all committees (Product, Technical, and Governance) enjoy strong participation by US-based partners, the initiative is currently lacking in participation by current implementers and host country professionals. Deeper involvement by these individuals and organizations would benefit the initiative through:

  • Increased visibility into product performance for program evaluation
  • Increased technical feedback on product performance
  • Feedback to community to improve support and communication
  • Greater sense of ownership by implementers
  • Potential for program and/or geographic expansion

Key Principles

  1. Country-level participation from implementing partners, MOH representatives, and regional/educational bodies, are essential to the OpenLMIS Community
  2. Mailing lists and committee calls are open to anyone who wants to attend, including country participants
  3. Additional engagement mechanisms targeted at country-level partners and MoH representatives will be started to fully engage country-level participation 

Types of Country Representation

There are several types of country representation which could benefit the OpenLMIS initiative and community at large. In particular, the community should focus on engaging:

  • In-country implementers where OpenLMIS is deployed
  • In-country partners working in logistics and supply chain programs
  • Logisticians associated with partners or Ministries
  • Ministry of Health employees working in logistics management units
  • ICT organizations or individuals
  • Universities and institutes of higher education

Participation by these individuals and organizations could take different forms. One option is creating a user group within the OpenLMIS community (similar to the existing groups) focused on conveying the user experience. Through this group, implementers, partners, developers, and logisticians could discuss case studies, challenges/solutions, and potential for expansion.

Additionally (or alternatively), users could participate in existing groups, engaging in ongoing discussions with US-based partners.

Planned Activities for 2017

To achieve greater in-country participation, and to stimulate discussion in the existing community, several activities have been planned for 2017.

  • OpenLMIS v3 Roadshow 
      • A visit to several countries (both current implementers and prospects) to demo OpenLMIS v3 features, build relationships with key contacts, and increase the overall involvement and connectivity of OpenLMIS community members. Date to-be-determined, as well as participating members of the roadshow team
  • User Group Forum and User Group Gatherings – Date: TBD
      • Creation of a user group forum via the OpenLMIS wiki where current implementers and other country contacts can communicate and share experiences. Additional idea includes user group gatherings, where key in-country contacts can meet in a centralized location in Africa to share experiences, ideas, and resources

Next Steps

In order to increase country participation in the OpenLMIS initiative, the community will need US-based partners and committee members to provide suggestions and mechanisms for outreach to their field-based implementers. This includes:

  • Providing feedback on creating a user group, and other proposed 2016 activities
  • Providing key contacts within field offices and ministries
  • Inviting key field contacts to existing OpenLMIS community groups and/or to a newly created user group
  • Providing feedback on the materials needed to effectively convey the OpenLMIS message and increase country participation (ie. OpenLMIS overview piece, re-architecture one-pager, etc.) 

Additional Notes for 2017

Current challenges:

Lack of cohesive training/understanding of OpenLMIS by our own staff

Revisit the idea of a “roadshow” with partners to showcase new version, perform training, increase user engagement, visit universities, set up/develop academies

  • OpenLMIS Re-Architecture Webinar – Scheduled
    • Scheduled for January 27, 2016, the webinar is open to all community members, and in-country partner participation is highly encouraged. The webinar will review the current OpenLMIS re-architecture plan, and 2.0 release tag. Please visit the OpenLMIS Re-Architecture Webinar wiki page for details. 
  • OpenLMIS Community Webinar – Date: March 2016 (Tentative)
    • The first of planned quarterly webinars to update the community at large on major activities or accomplishments of the initiative, and a chance for users, partners, and any other participants to ask questions or address concerns. Will include roadmap review. Welcome all participants to future community meetings.

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