RapidFTR was conceived at ITP (the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University), by a team of students in Clay Shirky‘s “Design For Unicef” class and further developed by Jorge Just as his Master’s thesis. In 2010 Jorge joined UNICEF to coordinate development of RapidFTR under the leadership of Pernille Ironside, UNICEF’s global Child Protection Specialist in Emergencies on Unaccompanied and Separated Children and Chris Fabian, co-director of UNICEF’s Innovation Unit.
RapidFTR is open-source and volunteer driven.
Initial software development was taken on by Zubair Kahn and Tom Elkin, two software developers from ThoughtWorks, an international IT consulting company. The company’s director of Social Impact Projects, Jeff Wishnie, donated a month of Tom & Zubair’s time to the project, which ended up being just long enough to work out the architecture, flesh out some basic code, and to cement an informal but fruitful partnership between ThoughtWorks and RapidFTR.
More than 100 ThoughtWorks employees, either volunteering on their own time, working as members of dedicated pro-bono teams, or picking up a day or two of work between projects through the company’s Social Impact Program, have devoted time and energy to RapidFTR. The company also deployed three developers (Tom, Zubair & John Hume) to Uganda to support initial field-testing on two separate occasions.
Much of RapidFTR has been built during volunteer code jams—after-work and weekend meetings at which software developers and analysts get together to work on the project. Code jams have been held on 5 different continents, mostly at ThoughtWorks offices, though independent, unaffiliated developers are always welcome, participate frequently, and contribute tremendously.
A huge thanks to the hundreds of people who have devoted time, effort and energy to RapidFTR. Some of those hundreds have spent hundreds of hours on the project. A special thanks to them: