Reflecting On My Internship Experience


Internships: a chance for university students to sit at desks doing menial tasks that contribute close to nothing while watching professionals work on meaningful projects. This was my initial thinking coming into Ona — I did not expect my experience interning to be anything memorable. However, I’m glad my experience was the opposite of what I expected.

My internship at Ona began on 7 May 2018. I had prepared myself for an uneventful day. I arrived at the office early in the morning hoping to give a good first impression. My day started with a stand up. My soon to be colleagues introduced themselves to me and I did the same. Afterwards, Dickson who is the head of engineering at Ona showed me where I would be sitting for the day.

At this point, I had already accepted my fate as an errand boy. But to my surprise, Dickson asked,“What project do you want to work on ?”. I was flabbergasted. I did not expect to participate in a project at all. He listed out some projects that needed help. I, being adventurous, chose to work on a new Django project called Kaznet. At first, I chose this because Django was something I was familiar with and I was sure I wouldn’t be lost in… but, boy was I wrong! Taking into account that at this point in my life I had never actually worked on an application that someone else would use, I would have no control on what the user would do or encounter.

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Ona On The Data Engineering Podcast


I was recently interviewed by Tobias Macey for the Data Engineering Podcast, the podcast about modern data management. We talked about the history of Ona and some of the technical challenges we’ve had to address to build global data collection platforms in humanitarian, international development, and global health verticals. You can check it out below.

With the attention being paid to the systems that power large volumes of high velocity data it is easy to forget about the value of data collection at human scales. Ona is a company that is building technologies to support mobile data collection, analysis of the aggregated information, and user-friendly presentations. In this episode CTO Peter Lubell-Doughtie describes the architecture of the platform, the types of environments and use cases where it is being employed, and the value of small data.

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OpenSRP is a 2018 Gavi Pacesetter


2018 keeps delivering exciting news for the OpenSRP community. Last week, OpenSRP was named a Gavi Pacesetter at the annual Gavi INFUSE workshop in San Francisco, CA. OpenSRP was one of only four Pacesetters selected from an initial pool of 220 applicants. Gavi Pacesetters are selected for their cutting edge technology and innovative approaches for tackling the challenge of immunization coverage.

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Introducing online payments for Ona subscriptions


Giving users more control over their subscriptions has been a priority for us. Effective immediately, Ona users can pay for a plan and manage the subscription entirely online. In other words, as much as we like receiving your emails, you no longer have to email us to pay for a plan if you’re using a debit or credit card.

We’ve replaced the Billing tab with a Plan tab in your account settings. The Plan tab is where you can upgrade, change plans, view previous invoices, and update your payment method. We’ve also added a direct link in the account dropdown:

Currently, this process supports debit and credit card payments. The billing options supported article has more information about alternative payment options. If you are currently on a paid subscription, you can change your plan as explained in the payments and billing guide.

If you have any questions or concerns, please read more in our payments and billing section or email

Ona At Mapbox Locate


On May 30th to 21st we attended the MapBox Locate conference in San Francisco. It was great to hear about all their new initiatives. We’re glad to have been part of the journey as MapBox expanded from Development Seed into the company it is today.

We took over the Community Booth to present our work on the Gisida library, a declarative approach to define common data map visualizations, such as choropleth maps, using just JSON (no JavaScript skills required).

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