Talawa was created through the philanthropic work of the Palisadoes Foundation.
The Palisadoes Foundation
The Palisadoes Foundation’s open-source software projects help community groups organize their daily activities and more. A significant proportion of our software contributions come from university students studying software engineering. Participants often come from under-served communities or geographic areas and are sponsored through the various programs in which we participate. This prepares them for the competitive realities of the working world.
Life started for us in 2016 when a group of expatriate Jamaicans wanted to assist development of new and existing information technologies for the island’s social good. We knew academic and student leadership wanted greater practical exposure to the latest technology. Our team also saw parallel opportunities to increasing awareness of the island’s abilities in the global marketplace.
In response, our pilot Calico Challenge program for Jamaican universities was created with the goal of addressing the issues graduates would face when employed. Calico is modeled on the Google Summer of Code. In 2021 The Palisadoes Foundation was awarded participation in the Google Summer of Code in partial recognition of this success.
After five years of success, members of the Jamaican diaspora suggested we expand our service area to be global. They saw similar needs in their own under-served communities where the digital divide is very visible and thought our experience in the developing world would be useful.
Since 2018 we have focused on creating the Talawa mobile app to help community organizations like ourselves better manage their membership. We first saw the need for a social media component to keep in contact with our volunteers. Later, we realized that these organizations often faced challenges with the project management of events and keeping track of volunteer abilities, roles and responsibilities.
We want to make Talawa useful for any community-based organization such as clubs, small religious institutions, neighborhood groups, and volunteer associations.
There are many software applications that exist for these types of organizations but they assume their memberships are fully literate and have access to email. We wanted to create a system that would work for countries with similar technology and education challenges as Jamaica.
Eventually we want to launch Talawa as a hosted cloud service as many of these types of organizations don’t have sufficient IT skills to do so independently.
Welcome to Talawa!