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· 8 min read

We are staring at a concrete block. We are hot, a little bewildered, deeply impressed.

Enouce just laughs (he does that a lot) and leads us up a flight of unfinished stairs, all rough concrete and exposed metal.

It is light and airy now, the last embers of the summer sun fill the empty stairwell as we climb. When we return in an hour or so, it'll be pitch dark and we'll be picking out planets in the clear night sky.

We are in Kenya for our annual company retreat. We do this at least once a year: gathering our team from across Africa and Europe to meet face-to-face, old-school, all-analog (baby). We share a week of smiles, playlists, brainstorms and understanding.

Most of the OpenFn team overlooking the Great Rift Valley
Most of the OpenFn team overlooking the Great Rift Valley

· 4 min read

In Cambodia, 66 per cent of children experienced physical punishment and/or psychological aggression by caregivers in the past month (CDHS, 2021-2022), and 11 per cent experienced online child sexual exploitation and abuse (Disruptive Harm Study, 2022). To strengthen Cambodia’s child protection system so that children are sheltered from harm, UNICEF works with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans & Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), the Ministry of Interior, other Ministries, and in-country NGO partners. This year, thanks to OpenFn-powered automation, these partners have released a new child protection monitoring dashboard that can keep up-to-date with the latest case management information.

Launching the Child Protection Information Management dashboard

In 2021, the MoSVY, with support from UNICEF Cambodia, launched the Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS) dashboard to visualize 50 child protection indicators. For the first time, the dashboard provided key child protection related data in one platform, enabling policy makers and service providers to more effectively monitor and evaluate child protection programmes as well as supporting planning and decision making.

This project was a culmination of work that started in 2018, which included the configuration of CPIMS and development of the monitoring framework for child protection. As part of the CPIMS initiative, UNICEF Cambodia also supported the MoSVY to establish and implement the Primero case management system, a tool that supports government social service workers to facilitate case management for children who are at risk of or experience violence and other child protection concerns in any setting.

cambodia child
Knowledge E, 2020

OpenFn automation keeps the dashboard in-sync

When the CPIMS dashboard was first launched, it was not connected directly to Primero (the system where case information is managed). This meant that the dashboard was not always up-to-date with the case information and “out-of-sync” with what was actually happening in the field.

To ensure this dashboard is always “in-sync”, UNICEF Cambodia collaborated with OpenFn to implement automated data exchange between Primero and the database feeding the CPIMS dashboard. This automated Primero-to-dashboard workflow runs on a regular basis (according to MoSVY’s reporting cycles), ensuring the latest case management and services data are reflected in the dashboard and eliminating the need for manual data entry or tedious calculation of indicator results.

The current Cambodia implementation integrates Primero and a central PostgreSQL database, which feeds the CPIMS dashboard (built on Canopy analytics tooling).

This solution empowers MoSVY to:

  1. Securely share cleaned, anonymized, reporting-ready data extracts publicly for better monitoring, trend analysis, programming and planning;
  2. Make indicator results automatically available for further visualization and analysis by caseworkers, donors, and partners;
  3. Analyze its impact across provinces in Cambodia;
  4. Easily scale and expand its reporting by implementing this solution in other countries or integrating data from other partner systems into one database for centralized analysis.
Snapshot from the MoSVY Child Protection Information Management System supported by UNICEF Cambodia. The CPIMS dashboard includes data on indicator 4.11a on the number of children supported with case management services, one of the sources of which is Primero.

After the reporting requirements were finalized, this OpenFn integration was configured in less than one day, leveraging the existing open-source Primero adaptor. The current implementation integrates one Primero instance and a PostgreSQL database (which feeds the dashboard), but future implementations might integrate data from multiple systems into one database for centralized analysis.

If your organization is interested in automating its reporting processes, you can check out this project’s GitHub documentation page and post your questions on OpenFn Community.

“We are going to share this brilliant piece of work internally within UNICEF as well as Government partners through MoSVY to promote data use and strengthen case management,” said Phanneth Khauv, Child Protection Officer at UNICEF Cambodia.

· 7 min read

Open Solutions for Health (“OS4H”) is an Integrated Systems for Health collaborator and implementer specializing in providing enterprise support for free and open-source systems (FOSS). They customize small, mid-range and large open source health applications for Ministries of Health, medical councils, medical doctor practices, health groups and hospitals in the Caribbean. OS4H is also our first certified OpenFn implementation partner in the Caribbean, trained to deliver workflow automation projects to help their regional partners achieve health systems interoperability.

Peter Ricketts, CEO at OS4H, says the Dominica-based team provides sustainable solutions designed to meet the needs of organizations in small island developing states (SIDS) that will strengthen their health management operations. While OS4H specializes in digital health implementations for the Caribbean, their team of IT specialists also works across other sectors, including education and agriculture.

“At OS4H, our mission is to improve health outcomes by matching the right technologies to the problems and build the supporting framework around it to ensure it is implemented and sustained over the long run. We believe in making high quality data and information available to those who need it, where they need it, and when they need it in a sustainable manner.” - Peter Ricketts

Above: Members of the Open Solutions for Health team based in Roseau, Dominica.

This year, OS4H has been working with partners at the St. Lucia Ministry of Health (MOH) to expand their in-country DHIS2 implementation to monitor key immunization indicators so that they can strengthen management operations against vaccine preventable diseases. Check out this press release to learn more about the project supported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

DHIS2 offers robust dashboard and data visualization options, but St. Lucia’s immunization data was collected in a separate database, along with sensitive patient information that should only be accessed by authorized users. Therefore, to (i) avoid manual data entry and indicators calculations, and (ii) minimize access to sensitive patient data, OS4H sought to automate the reporting of key immunization indicators to DHIS2. After researching secure, open source, and OpenHIE-compliant options for data integration, OS4H decided to deliver this solution using the OpenFn workflow automation platform.

In less than 1 month, OS4H successfully designed and implemented workflow automation on OpenFn that integrates the St. Lucia Health Information System (“SLUHIS”) database with DHIS2, enabling regular, nation-wide monitoring of key immunization indicators for MOH staff and epidemiologists.

This OS4H implementation consisted of two phases: (1) training on the OpenFn platform and(2) implementation of the automated workflow for St. Lucia.

OS4H is now a certified OpenFn implementer

At OpenFn, we have a small implementation team that cannot meet the rising demand for workflow automation we’re seeing worldwide. Therefore, we are investing more in partner enablement to help develop the automation expertise and OpenFn implementation capacity of local IT teams solving local problems–like OS4H in the Caribbean. Earlier this year, our core team launched the OpenFn Implementation Partner Program to offer training on the OpenFn Digital Public Good, as well as on our implementation process.

To quickly learn how to implement OpenFn, the OS4H team completed the OpenFn Partner Onboarding Training to learn about the OpenFn product suite, as well as how to successfully design and deliver workflow automation implementations end-to-end. Over the course of 2 weeks, OS4H team members attended online training sessions and completed “homework” exercises to practice OpenFn fundamentals and prepare for their upcoming, real-world projects. At the end of the training, the OS4H team officially joined the OpenFn Community, received “OpenFn Essentials” badges for OpenFn administration and development, and were prepared to kick off their first implementation with the St. Lucia Ministry of Health.

"After adopting the OpenHIE reference architecture, we began exploring the various referenced technologies. Upon review of the interoperability layer technologies, we quickly appreciated the versatility and ease of use of OpenFn.

When data transformation is needed, OpenFn utilizes JavaScript, a scripting language that is familiar to most developers in the Caribbean. This meant a lower learning curve, enabling us to get up and running relatively quickly. Furthermore, the support from the OpenFn core team allowed us to build in-house capacity for the full delivery cycle of an OpenFn project." - Peter Ricketts

Automating indicators reporting for the MOH

Following the OpenFn training, the OS4H team successfully led the design and implementation of a solution which integrates SLUHIS, the St. Lucia MOH's health information system built on a PostgreSQL database, with their DHIS2 reporting system.

This process involved consultations with St. Lucia MOH partners to understand the SLUHIS data structure and how to map SLUHIS data points to the DHIS2 data model. Once the data mapping requirements and workflow steps were clearly defined, then OS4H was able to configure the workflow on OpenFn and schedule the automation to run hourly.


How the workflow automation works:

  1. On an hourly basis, OpenFn executes complex SQL queries to extract and aggregate immunization data from the SLUHIS PostgreSQL database.
  2. OpenFn next fetches a list of “data mapping rules” from SLUHIS, which inform how municipalities should be reassigned to organization units in the DHIS2 location hierarchy.
  3. OpenFn then maps the SLUHIS aggregated indicators results to related DHIS2 data elements to prepare the data for import.
  4. Finally, using the DHIS2 adaptor, OpenFn imports data values to DHIS2, updating linked indicators and dashboards.

As the workflow runs, all activity history can be centrally monitored in the OpenFn platform, and alerts are configured to notify St. Lucia MOH partners if any errors are thrown.

Above: Screenshot of the test DHIS2 dashboard for key immunization indicators, which displays data from SLUHIS that is aggregated and updated by OpenFn daily. This image contains test data only.

For the MOH staff and epidemiologist end users, the DHIS2 immunization dashboards are updated automatically and regularly, ensuring access to timely and accurate information. MOH dashboard users don't need to worry about manual reporting and data analysis tasks. Automation enables MOH staff to focus on identifying trends and patterns in the administration of vaccines to improve program management operations.

These users might not even be aware that OpenFn is engine powering the workflow automation under the hood—for them, the dashboard just works.

Above: Screenshot from online meeting with Taylor Downs (OpenFn) and Clem Francis (Developer, OS4H) celebrating the successful setup of an OpenFn workflow that automates calculating and reporting aggregated data values for key indicators to DHIS2.

What's next?

In April 2023, OS4H successfully launched the DHIS2 dashboard solution and handed over the monitoring of the OpenFn automation to the St. Lucia MOH team for the duration of the pilot. In the coming months, the St. Lucia MOH and OS4H will consider adding functionality and deploying the solution on a local, ministry-managed server, using OpenFn Lightning (the OpenFn “v2” fully open-source web app) for continued use at a greater scale.

In the meantime, the OS4H team is continuing to deliver transformative digital solutions for partners across the Caribbean and is lining up its next OpenFn project.


If your organization, like OS4H, is hoping to develop in-house workflow automation expertise, contact to learn more about the OpenFn Partner Program and training options. Also check out OpenFn Community and OpenFn Documentation to learn from other OpenFn partners and implementers from our open source community.

· 6 min read

The team behind OpenFn has secured a $2M investment from the Steele Foundation for Hope to help us scale our impact.

tl;dr: OpenFn, the open source Digital Public Good (DPG), Global Good for Health, and increasingly important part of the digital public infrastructure that's relied on by governments and NGOs around the world, is now in a better position than ever to serve our growing community of global users.

What follows is a description of what the company behind it is doing and why—specifically in terms of what it will mean for the future of the OpenFn DPG.

· 3 min read

It's been a wild year and we're excited to announce the next generation of OpenFn's digital public good for workflow automation, OpenFn Lightning ⚡

We've just "soft launched" OpenFn Lightning and here's what you should know

Lightning represents our commitment to open source and the DPG community. It is a fully open source web application designed for governments and NGOs who need a flexible solution to integrate and connect any system. It reuses our existing tried and tested technology whilst lowering the technical barrier to building robust workflow automation solutions and integrations through a more intuitive, user-friendly UI.

· 5 min read

I am in the wrong hemisphere.

Six months ago, I joined OpenFn, intrigued by the mission to automate workflows in critical, but often neglected, humanitarian processes. For personal reasons, I didn’t really plan on being here long - but I thought I could help out for a while.

"Hey," says CEO Taylor Downs, one winter’s morning. "Do you want to come to Cape Town with us?"

· 4 min read

Itaú Social is one of the largest organizations in Brazil dedicated to improving Brazilian public education. The foundation manages programs to train education professionals, strengthen civil society, offer online education to students, and conduct search in the education sector. Itaú Social has trained 112,000 professionals and benefited 7.6 million students across Brazil, according to Itaú's 2021 integrated annual report.

· 4 min read

Since 2020, the Wildlife Conservation Society (“WCS”) has leveraged the OpenFn Integration Toolkit to collect, clean, and integrate critical data for critical conservation programs targeting the world's largest wild places. WCS and its partners work at the frontline of conservation, and with support from OpenFn, they can automatically and seamlessly integrate and quickly analyse the masses of data collected across dozens of countries.

· 3 min read

I attended the OpenHIE Academy Live Event last week and learned about the function and application of the OpenHIE Architecture framework and its components. What's a health information exchange, and what does it mean for people in everyday terms?

· 6 min read

In 2020, Robert MacTavish, a child protection specialist at UNICEF Primero lead, met with the team at OpenFn and laid out a massive challenge facing the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation in Cambodia. He explained that there was no secure, stable, scalable way to share data between different case management systems operated by the government and partner agencies. The result, he went on, was not merely an increased administrative burden but re-victimization. Children might have to recount their whole case history, reliving their traumas time and time again in order to register and access each critical support service they needed.