OpenSRP Nairobi technology sprint, take two!


OpenSRP whiteboard notes

In mid-March, Ona hosted the second OpenSRP engineering sprint, bringing engineers from around the world to Ona’s Nairobi office. Engineering partners from SID (Indonesia), mPower (Bangladesh), IHS (Pakistan), OpenMRS, ThoughtWorks and Jembi (South Africa) joined the sprint to enhance the user experience and performance of OpenSRP, an mHealth platform that empowers frontline health workers in developing countries to deliver more effective healthcare. Ona is the technology lead on OpenSRP, coordinating engineering efforts among teams.

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Five additions to the Ona team


Ona in nairobi

Two weeks ago, the entire Ona team was together in Nairobi. It was a great opportunity to take a pic outside our office.

If you look at the photo carefully, you’ll notice we’ve added a few vital roles. A warm welcome to Faith, James, Njagi, Rosalia and Sandra.

Faith is joining our support team to work with customers using data for positive social impact. She has a data analysis background and a BSc. in Mathematics and Computer Science. She is an avid traveler.

James is joining our OpenSRP team as Technical Manager. He will be working with engineers from IRD in Pakistan, SID in Indonesia and mPower in Bangladesh to build a next-gen frontline health worker app. James has contributed to the ROK mobile project and MyFitnessPal, among others, and advocates the KISS principle.

Njagi is joining the Ona platform team as an engineering intern. He is currently at Moi University working towards a Bachelor of Science in Informatics, Computer Software Engineering. He is an avid contributor and developer of free and open source software.

Rosalia is joining Ona as Operations Manager. She has 8+ years’ experience in developing financial systems, implementing internal controls, budget planning, procurement, property management and HR management. Rosalia has an MBA in Finance from U.S. International University, CPA-K and BBA in Finance and Accounting.

Sandra is joining the engineering team as Software Engineer in Test. She will lead the testing and quality assurance effort at Ona. She enjoys mentoring with youth incubation centres to demystify STEM to young girls and was awarded for these efforts as a 2014 TechWomen emerging leader.

Welcome to the team, everyone!

Ona endorses the Principles for Digital Development


Ona endorses Principles for Digital Development

Ona is proud to endorse the Principles for Digital Development.

While both improving our technology platform and consulting with partners, our team is guided the Principles on a daily basis.

Technology affords new opportunities for governments, development and humanitarian organizations and communities to be increasingly data driven, collaborative and accountable. We believe the principles provide important guidance as we seek to build tools that empower people to make a positive impact with data.

Updates to user permissions in ODK Collect


One of the major new features that we introduced with the release of our new platform last fall is the ability to assign role-based permissions to projects. This had been one of our most requested features from the previous Ona version, and we’re excited to support this now for all users on

Users can now create projects on Ona and add project collaborators who have separate Ona accounts. You can add as many collaborators as you need, and each collaborator can access the project and the forms using their own account login and permissions. To learn more about managing projects, visit our help site and you can also read more from this blog post.

This greatly improves account security, as there is no longer a need to share your login information with everyone who needs access to your project. You can also control who can submit data to your project and who can view and access your data.

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Exporting data with labels


A few emails have come in requesting support for questions as headings in data exports. We have heeded your call and are glad to announce this is now possible. When exporting CSV, Excel and CSV Zip files, you can choose whether labels and/or names show up as column headers.

Using XLSForm syntax, the label column contains the actual text of the question you see in the form. The name column in the survey worksheet defines the unique variable name for the question.

Exporting data with labels is helpful when using statistical software for advanced data analysis, because it minimizes the work of replacing your variable names with labels. Also, if your variable names are not descriptive enough or are codified, having labels as column headers means you will no longer have to refer to the XLSForm to reference questions.

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