There is no shortage of open source projects dedicated to social change and improving lives. However, projects with a social good application often do not get the support and attention they deserve. This is unfortunate as the collaborative nature of open source can spark innovation and accelerate social good.
Therefore, in the spirit of Hacktoberfest, we have put together thirty-three projects that show the potential for open source to make a real social impact. The projects have various open issues, many of which are labelled
hacktoberfest and will count towards the four pull requests required of the challenge. Whether you're new to development, a student, or a long-time contributor, you can make positive contributions and help drive open source growth in an ever-growing global community.
The projects below are organized according to technology. We encourage you to contribute to projects within your skillset and explore projects that inspire growth—all while changing the world, one pull request at a time.
Callisto is a non-profit that creates technology to detect repeat perpetrators of sexual coercion and sexual assault. The Callisto online reporting system is used for intake, escrow, matching and secure delivery code.
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) allows blind and vision-impaired people to access and interact with the Windows operating system and many third-party applications. Also has contributor opportunities for those with C, C++ knowledge.
Trends.Earth (formerly the Land Degradation Monitoring Toolbox) is a QGIS plugin that supports land change monitoring, including changes in productivity, land cover, and soil organic carbon. The tool can help to monitor land degradation for reporting to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), as well as tracking progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3, Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).
Consul is a complete citizen participation tool for an open, transparent and democratic government.
This open source stethoscope is research-validated to operate as well as a Littmann Cardiology III (the market gold standard), but can be produced using 3D printed parts for a fraction of the price. The cost of the entire stethoscope is between $2.5 to $5 to make!
REFUGE restrooms indexes and maps safe restroom locations for trans, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals. It provides a free resource to trans* and queer individuals in need of gender-neutral and other safe restrooms.
The Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer (PEcAn) is an integrated ecological bioinformatics toolbox. This project is motivated by the fact that many of the most pressing questions about global change are not necessarily limited by the need to collect new data as much as by our ability to synthesize existing data. PEcAn seeks to improve this ability by developing a framework for sensibly integrating multiple data sources.
SignDict is an open sign language dictionary in which you can contribute to its source code or to the dictionary itself by adding a sign that is missing. SignDict believes that communication is the key to an open society and has created a living dictionary to help increase the integration of deaf communities. Also has contributor opportunities for those with HTML or Elixer knowledge.
Kolibri makes high quality education technology available in low-resource communities such as rural schools, refugee camps, orphanages, non-formal school systems, and prison systems. Also has contributor opportunities for those with Python knowledge.
Terrastories is a geostorytelling application built to enable indigenous and other local communities to locate and map their own oral storytelling traditions about places of significant meaning or value to them. Powered by the Mapbox platform, Terrastories is designed to be entirely offline-compatible, so that remote communities can access the application entirely without needing internet connectivity. Also has contributor opportunities for those with Ruby or Docker knowledge.
Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage and protect forests. This repository contains the GFW web app.
Community Health Toolkit is the core repository for Medic Mobile's community health application framework, which you can use to build responsive, offline-first community health apps. The framework is highly configurable, with support for interactive messaging, decision support, task management, health records, data collection, and analytics.
Mifos enables financial service providers to effectively and efficiently deliver responsible financial services to the world's 2 billion poor and unbanked to speed the elimination of poverty. This repository contains the default web application built on top of the MifosX platform for the Mifos user community.
Sahana Eden is an Open Source Humanitarian Platform by Sahana Software Foundation which can be used to provide solutions for disaster management, development, and environmental management sectors. Also has contributor opportunities for those with Python knowledge.
OptiKey is an on-screen keyboard that is designed to help Motor Neuron Disease (MND) patients interact with Windows computers. OptiKey's on-screen keyboard allows MND patients to complete tasks, such as email composition, using only their eyes when used with an eye-tracking device. OptiKey can also be used with a mouse or webcam. Optikey is free, reliable, and easy to use.
Shadowsocks is a secure socks5 proxy designed to protect your Internet traffic.
EnergyPlus is a whole building energy simulation program that engineers, architects, and researchers use to model both energy consumption—for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and plug and process loads—and water use in buildings.
OBS Studio is free software designed for capturing, compositing, encoding, recording, and streaming video content, efficiently.
A low-cost open source ventilator-ish device or Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR).
There is a global need for an official WHO App to help contain and mitigate COVID-19. The app should support the WHO efforts and be available worldwide, with information tailored to the user's location, culture, and language.
The Rainforest Connection (RFCx) is a non-profit tech startup building scalable, open-source solutions to illegal logging, poaching and environmental threats. Notably, it creates acoustic monitoring systems for those who wish to end illegal deforestation in real-time. Also has contributor opportunities for those with C, C++ knowledge.
Haven turns any Android phone into a motion, sound, vibration and light detector, watching for unexpected guests and unwanted intruders. Haven was designed for investigative journalists, human rights defenders and people at risk of forced disappearance to create a new kind of herd immunity. By combining the array of sensors found in any smartphone, Haven prevents the worst kind of people from silencing citizens without getting caught in the act with the world's most secure communications technologies.
By determining weight and height through a 3D scan of children, the Child Growth Monitor can instantly detect malnutrition of children under five years of age.
This project uses deep learning computer vision to label images taken by motion-activated "camera traps" according to the animals they contain. Accurate models for this labelling task can address a significant bottleneck for wildlife conservation efforts.
That concludes our collection of thirty-three open source projects that you can immediately help and, in turn, impact lives. If you made it all the way through, we would love to hear which projects you're most excited about! Alternatively, if you have or know of another project that you believe is trying to make a change in the world, let us know by commenting below, reaching out on Twitter, or by joining our Developer Community Slack Channel. We would love to highlight more projects in the future and support initiatives that benefit us all.
Lastly, if you are in the process of completing the Vonage Hacktoberfest challenge, you'll have the option to receive a pair of Vonage socks or a $5 Open Collective gift card. An Open Collective is a group of people with a shared mission that operates in full transparency. Many of the projects mentioned in this post, and other projects you may already use, manage their funding with Open Collective. If feasible, we encourage you to continue supporting the projects you're passionate about by donating.
Vonage is thrilled to be a Hacktoberfest 2020 partner. We're no strangers to open source, with our libraries, code snippets, and demos all on GitHub. To fully immerse yourself in the festivities, be sure to check out our Hacktoberfest page for details on all that we have planned!