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Sigmah Phase 2: the project changes scale!

Managing project information is the cornerstone of adopting a Quality approach within an organisation in concrete terms. Sigmah, open source software for the shared management of international aid projects, was created due to the convergence of Groupe URD’s work on Quality and the needs of NGOs. After a successful Pilot phase, co-funding from the French Development Agency is now going to allow Phase 2 to be launched. Sigmah’s Steering Cooperative calls on new financial and operational partners to join them.

This month, Sigmah will be launching Phase 2 of its strategic plan! Due to joint funding on the part of the French Development Agency and the NGOs already involved in the project, a two-year project which already has 65% of its funding will mean that the initiative, which so far has been in its pilot phase, will be able to change scale. New operational and financial partners are welcome to join us!

Sigmah is an open source software project for the shared management of international aid projects steered by an open group of eleven NGOs and facilitated by Groupe URD. It came into being following a needs assessment that a number of French NGOs who were suffering from “infoxication” asked to have carried out in 2008-2009. Phase 1 of the project led to the launch of an initial version of the software in June 2011, and it has continued to evolve since. 8 NGOs who are members of its “Steering Cooperative” are in the process of adopting it, and 6 of these have begun to use it concretely (more information at http://www.sigmah.org/home).

Sigmah has a simple objective: to allow every NGO, whether in the global North or South, to improve its project management capacity by adopting a software which has been collaboratively designed as the common property of the international aid sector. In order to do this, the software solution is distributed with an open source license, with the aim of making it intuitive and totally parameterisable without the need for specific IT skills. The pilot phase showed that the software could be adapted to young organizations like the environmental NGO Etc Terra, which was able to adopt it without any external assistance or training (read their feedback at: http://www.sigmah.org/fr/node/781), as well as larger organizations like Handicap International.

Phase 2, called « Wider adoptions » aims to achieve a change of scale : doubling the number of partner NGOs within 2 years and extending several pilot adoptions which are currently limited to one project or to one department to complete, organisation-wide adoptions. More precisely, phase 2 has the following objectives:

  • Doubling the number of partner NGOs: 20 NGOs by the end of 2015, with at least one NGO from the global South. This objective includes an ambitious communication plan.
  • Development of version 2.0 of the software, with an offline mode, the revision of the system for managing indicators, even greater flexibility, etc.
  • Designing new training and adoption tools, including e-learning modules.
  • Reinforcing the community of voluntary developers working on the project, and reinforcing the economic model of the project.
    For more information about Phase 2, see the note attached.

Since the beginning of the year, more and more contacts have been made. The initiation workshop in April, organized by Coordination SUD, who are also partners of Phase 2, made it possible to meet new people. These led to two new adoption processes being launched: the NGO, Equilibres et Populations is already registered on Sigmah Central and will be trained in January, and another Sigmah Central account was created for the GIZ’s PAPDEV project in Senegal.

With the launch of Phase 2, we would like to extend our invitation to the international aid sector to join us and bring their ideas, their resources and their needs to help us move forward together with this collective project. Financial partners, we are looking for new partnerships to cover the remaining 35% of funding for Phase 2. Operational partners, contact us, either directly (contact@sigmah.org) or by taking part in the initiation workshop organised with Coordination SUD on 28 November .