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Tech for Social Good 2022 Recap

Mala Kumar image

Mala Kumar @malakumar85

Director of Tech for Social Good, GitHub Social Impact
Cynthia Lo image

Cynthia Lo @csmlo

Program Manager, Skills-Based Volunteering, GitHub Social Impact
Sean Marcia image

Sean Marcia @seanmarcia

Tech for Social Good Engineer
Bonnie Wolfe image

Bonnie Wolfe @bonniewolfe

Open Source Community Manager

December 20, 2022 // DevelopersSkills-Based VolunteeringPartnerships

Published on: December 20, 2022

Another year has quickly gone by! We’re grateful that in 2022, we were able to connect to so many of our colleagues in person. As was the case in 2021, the GitHub Social Impact, Tech for Social Good team has had an eventful, productive, and insightful year. Below is a recap of our work in 2022, as well as a preview of what to expect from us in 2023. We sincerely thank everyone who helped bring our work to life this year. We’re excited for what’s to come!

2022 highlights by program


We concluded our second open source software (OSS) research project. We then wrote and published our report, “Open Source Software in India, Kenya, Egypt, and Mexico” in September. You can download the English, Spanish, and Arabic version for free here.

Our standardized metrics research project concluded. The report will be out in early 2023.

Skills-Based Volunteering

Our Skill-Based Volunteering program wrapped up 5 projects. One was the UNDP data visualization tool called the Digital Development Compass that we launched at UNGA77 (see more below). Read the project case study here.

Skills-Based Volunteering engaged ~200 GitHub staff in numerous initiatives, from tech training for food security to using GitHub Actions for wet labs machine learning models. We also filmed a documentary with Comunidades Indígenas en liderazgo (CIELO) on the lotería game we built to teach children an indigenous language. Watch the film here.

SBV-documentary-loteria SBV documentary - building the lotería game, November 2022 - Los Angeles, CA

MERL Center

We welcomed our new OS Community Manager and worked with three contractors to create a WhatsApp community, data visualizations, and a mentorship program. Five new stipend recipients were selected and started. The MERL Center gained another 25 members from more than 10 countries.

Four MERL Center members presented at the SAMEA conference in September. MERL Center members published articles on evaluating OS vs proprietary software, leveraging OSS to build a mature data ecosystem, the pros and cons of open data, OSS use in east Africa, and lessons from the impact assessment of Global Forest Watch.

Engagements with the UN system

WHO launched their OSPO in March and their OSPO lead started in October. GitHub pledged to help the creation of more OSPOs in the UN as part of the ITU’s Partner2Connect initiative. As a result of the pledge, we connected with and worked with the ITU on the scope of their new OSPO. In December, we met ITU staff in person to finalize the discussions.

GitHub at ITU GitHub and ITU OSPO Meetings, December 2022 - Geneva, Switzerland

GitHub hosted side-events at the UN General Assembly for the first time. WHO joined us to talk about their OSPO journey - watch the video here. UNDP co-hosted a side-event with us on the Digital Development Compass tool that our Skills-Based Volunteering staff created. Thank you to everyone who attended!

GitHub at UNGA77 photo collage GitHub side-events at UNGA77, September 2022 - New York City

Digital Public Goods

For Hacktoberfest in October, we worked with Digital Ocean to highlight digital public goods (DPG) that are open to external contributions. We created guidance tools, including a video and a ReadMe generator, to help DPG maintainers prepare for Hacktoberfest contributions.

In June, we traveled to Oslo, Norway to participate in the DPGA members meeting. It was wonderful meeting several of our colleagues in person for the first time!

GitHub at DPGA members meeting DPGA Members Meeting, June 2022 - Oslo, Norway


Two of our partner organizations - WHO and the Norwegian Refugee Council - spoke at the GitHub Universe day 2 keynote speech in November. Universe is GitHub’s annual product conference.

What’s coming in 2023

  • Annual recap of how our time in 2022 mapped to the SDGs. See our 2021 mapping here.
  • Standardized metrics papers + other data announcements
  • A new program we’re launching called “Activating Developers”
  • Major updates on OSPOs in the UN system
  • More Skills-Based Volunteering case studies
  • A new DPG guidance repo
  • More insights blog posts
  • More articles from the MERL Center

How to get involved in 2023

If you’re a DPG maintainer, check back in February for announcements about our new DPG guidance repo and our “Activating Developers” program. We’ll also announce how social sector researchers and program designers can use GitHub platform metrics to support their work. Please fill out this form if you want to join or support the MERL Center. Email if you have a Skills-Based Volunteering project idea, would like to include Tech for Social Good in a conference or panel, or would like to otherwise collaborate on our programs.

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