Starting my OpenMRS journey as Community Management Fellow πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Hi everyone,

I am Nikesh Balami, an open data advocate and tech researcher based in Nepal. In my day job, I work for Open Knowledge Nepal, a civic tech organisation working in the field of open data with a focus on developing quality data sources and solutions for civic tech projects.

Super glad, a bit nervous, and very excited to start as OpenMRS Community Management Fellow 2022. Super glad because I landed on the fellowship opportunity while working on the research project and got selected; a bit nervous because I am very new to the community; but very excited because I can’t wait to explore what is in the bag for me.

Joined the fellowship onboarding in May but haven’t been able to start formally due to travel and personal commitment but finally :handshake: marking June as an official start. Many thanks to my mentor @jennifer for helping me with onboarding and guiding me through the process :pray:. Also thanks to @christine for all the support and looking forward to working with you closely.

As the title suggests β€œCommunity Management”, during my fellowship I aim to work closely with the OpenMRS community and dedicate my time for coordination, communication, and collaborations.

I plan to utilize my first month as a getting started month, where I look forward

  • To learn more about the community by reading, listening, and attending meetings to get a better sense of the community.
  • Communicate with fellows to help them with frequent check-ins.
  • Host an open house to bring fellows to share their progress, experiences, and explore synergies.

Many thanks to OpenMRS for this wonderful opportunity.

Nikesh Balami


Congrats, Happy to see you ,Best of Luck :+1:

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Thank you so much @sharif, excited and looking forward!

A huge welcome to you Nikesh. I have already seen your posts in the Fellowship classrooms and they were helpful for me as well :slight_smile: Welcome :bouquet:

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Thank you so much @grace :grinning:

Catching up: my first month

Reflecting back on the first month of my fellowship; started it with a nervous feeling but ended it with much confidence. Glad that I marked the first month as a β€œgetting started month”.

Looking back first-month engagement :man_technologist:

  • Slowly increasing the engagement with fellows: As I stated to get a better sense of the community, have been slowly increasing the engagement with fellows. Doing it by sending out the frequent reminders of activities at Google Classroom and Slack so that we can keep everyone onboarded. Also, helping them schedule check-ins call to share updates. The plan is to build synergies between fellows and make sure they feel connected.
  • Attending operation and events calls: Have been attending the weekly calls of Operation and Global Events with @jennifer and @christine, which is helping me understand what types of events are coming up. Looking forward to supporting in all possible ways to help with the upcoming hackathons and implementor conference.
  • Planning β€œFellowship All Hands”: To build synergies and bring fellows into the same room, we have finalized the concept of Fellowship All Hands. The date, time, objectives, and agenda have been all set. Working on some final preparation.
  • Brainstorming the update of dev stages: Have started brainstorming a few ideas on how we can update the dev stages with action orientation key descriptions, which will help in the professional development. The work will be continued in next month.
  • OpenMRS personas: Some initial work around the concept of OpenMRS Community Personas shared by @jennifer, but much of the work is yet to be done state. Will be continued in next month.

What’s in the bag for next month? :school_satchel:

  • Continue working with fellow and help them with anything in all the ways possible.
  • Host Fellowship All Hands and bring fellows into the same room.
  • Provide support to update of dev stages.
  • Dive deep into OpenMRS personas.

Looking forward to the exciting July!


Hi everyone, good to be back with an update reflecting July activities.

Looking back on July engagement :man_technologist:

  • Fellowship all hands: Hosting the fellowship all hands call was one of the highlights of July for me. Was super nervous in the beginning but glad that we pulled that off. Many thanks to @paul, @janflowers, all the fellows, and mentos for joining the all-hands call. Special thanks to @suruchi, @jnsereko and @kdaud for their presentation. The blog is on the way.

  • Preparing for the events: Have been closely working with @jennifer and @christine for the global events. August and September are all heated with a virtual design conference which is scheduled for August 31 - 2 September 2022, and OMR22 which is scheduled for November 28 - December 3, 2022, in Nigeria. I am mostly focused on the virtual design conference closely working with the product team. Started the work by attending the Product meeting, and the current work is the finalize the theme and objectives of the conference. Please feel free the suggest the idea for the conference here, if you have any. Next, I will be working to prepare the conference schedule.

  • Merging the personas and dev stages activities for my capstone project: Starting August mid, I will be working on my capstone project proposal and activities. Currently, I am helping develop the project proposal template for the fellows. For the capstone project, I plan to merge the activities to develop the OpenMRS community personas and dev stages update. Not much confidence in how that will look, but looking forward to working on it. Please share any tips and ideas if you have any regarding the personas.

What’s in the bag for next month? :school_satchel:

  • Fellowship support: Will continue closely with the fellows to provide them with the necessary support of any type. With close coordination and support, we aim to make the fellowship experience better and make sure the fellows achieve their learning goals.
  • Capstone project: In August, I will start working on the capstone project proposal and activities. Through this project, we will map the OpenMRS community and better understand them.
  • Virtual Design Conference: As the date of the virtual design conference has been already finalized. I look forward to closely working with the event and product team in finalizing the objective, schedule, and hosting the conference.
  • OMR22: Will continue attending the weekly OMR22 planning meeting, and look forward to providing any needed support.

Very much excited for August :grinning:


August has been a busy month with lots of activities around the 2022 UX Design Conference and Quarterly Community Mini-Meeting.

Looking back on August engagement :man_technologist:

  • Fellowship: Started my August month by finalizing and publishing the July All Hands blog post. Please feel free to check out the blog here. Also, got an opportunity to facilitate the β€œFellowship Session” at the UX Design Conference, the idea of the session came at the very last moment, but very glad that we pulled that out. Many thanks to my colleagues @hadijah315, @jnsereko, and @tendayi.mutangadura for presenting their fellowship journey and experiences.

  • Global events: 2022 UX Design Conference and Quarterly Community Mini-Meeting were the highlights. Glad that I got a chance to play a facilitator and supporter role in organizing it. Many thanks to @jennifer and @christine for trusting and encouraging me. Special shout out to @grace, @pauladams, and many others from the Product and Design Squad for helping us shape the conference objectives and agenda. Also, thanks to everyone who joined the conference.

  • Capstone project: In August, I also had a call with my mentor @jennifer to discuss the potential ideas for the capstone project and we thought updating the dev stage work and design conference can be a wonderful project for me to work on. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to start writing the project proposal yet, I will keep that as my priority in September, but have already worked on the design conference which was part of the capstone project.

What’s in the bag for next month? :school_satchel:

  • Global events: The UX Design Conference and Quarterly Community Mini-Meeting is completed, and it has been a great learning journey. In September, I plan to contribute to the post-conference activities like reaching out to all participants with a thank you email and feedback survey and helping with the Project Journey report. I also plan to join the OMR22 planning call regularly.
  • Fellowship: Like the previous month, I will continue closely with the fellows to provide them with the necessary support of any type.
  • Capstone project: Since I have tentative clarity with my capstone project, I will now prioritize writing my project proposal and start restarting the work with the dev stage update.

I have a very long holiday plan for October month when I plan to go for Manaslu Circuit Trek. Therefore, September is the month with lots of work, very much looking forward to it.


Awesome, and keep up the good work Nikesh

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Good work Nikesh, it’s so great to have you in the community!

WOW looks amazing - are you planning to hike all 180km?!

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Thank you so much @tendayi.mutangadura :grinning:

Thank you so much @grace, I am very much enjoying the fellowship journey so far.

Regarding the trek, Yes :grinning: that’s to plan, to go crazy.

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September went so quickly; didn’t get enough time to clear a lot of my backlog which was on my TODO list before I go for the holidays. As the Dengue case surged in Kathmandu and created a horrible situation; I also got sick for one week as I got caught by it. Glad that got successfully recovered with not many side effects.

Looking back on the September engagement :man_technologist:

  • Fellowship: Have been providing the usual support to the fellows. Got an opportunity to join the check-in meeting of @suruchi, @corneliouzbett, and @jnsereko. It always inspiring to listen to their journey; check-in meetings always motivated me to push more to improve my own fellowship journey. Recently, I have also started to join the fellowship structure open discussion meeting.
  • Global events: As the work on the UX Design Conference is completed, the global events team is shifting all its focus to the OMR22. Have been joining the weekly planning meeting and looking forward to providing some notable help once I return from the holidays in November.
  • Capstone project: Finally was able to complete my capstone project proposal, which included the work of the UX Design Conference and dev stage update. As the conference activities are already completed, I will be working on the dev stage work.

What’s in the bag for next month? :school_satchel:

As I will be on holiday until 18 October 2022 so have only a few things planned for next month.

  • Fellowship: Will continue joining the fellowship structure open discussion meeting so that we can test out some of the discussed ideas for the 2013 fellowship cohorts, and make sure we improve the fellowship experiences for everyone.
  • Global events: Will continue to join the OMR22 meeting and help in every possible way.
  • Capstone project: As the project proposal work has been finally completed; I will be using my October and November timeframe to work on the project activities. Have already brainstormed some of the potential ways forward, and looking forward to working with the broader OpenMRS community for this project too.

October has very less working days for Nepal, as we have Dashain and Tihar, which is one of the major festivals and I also have some travel planned. Looking forward to the exciting September!


October has been a slow month with a lot of festival vacations. I took one of the long holidays (15 days) of my professional carries and spent quality time with my family.

Looking back on the October engagement :man_technologist:

  • Fellowship: We are in the process of wrapping up a lot of activities for the 2022 fellowship program. Currently, along with providing the usual support to the fellows, I am also working on the hosting Fellowship Symposium. The draft agenda of the symposium is here and more announcements will follow soon. Have been helping @jennifer with the preparation of the 2023 Fellowship Program and have recently announced the call for applications (for fellowship and organization). This year we are implementing a couple of changes, like organization rotation, orientation sessions, and more.
  • Global events: Haven’t been active on global events calls, but have restarted joining the OMR22 planning call regularly.
  • Capstone project: Work on the capstone project has been slow. Will put more focus and additional effort to consult the ideas of the dev stage update in November.

What’s in the bag for next month? :school_satchel:

  • Fellowship: Host the fellowship symposium and provide continuous support to the remaining 2022 fellows. Support in hosting the orientation session of the 2023 fellowship program.
  • Global events: Continue joining the weekly OMR22 planning call.
  • Capstone project: Restart the work and find the potential ways forward to engage with the communities to gather their ideas on updating the dev stages.

November is going to be full of exciting work, especially because of the announcement of the 2023 fellowship program and orientation happing around it. Looking forward to it.


Very productive - that’s how I would like to describe November month. Had a fun time hosting the fellowship symposium, facilitating orientation sessions, joining global events call, working on the capstone project, and more.

Looking back on the November engagement :man_technologist:


On 15 November, I had a chance to host the Fellowship Symposium, and also for the very first time, I presented my fellowship journey. My thanks to my fellow colleagues from this cohort (@hadijah315, @jnsereko, @suruchi, @corneliouzbett, and @tendayi.mutangadura) for joining the Symposium and presenting their fellowship work, journey, experiences, learning, and more.

You can find my fellowship journey here, and always grateful to my mentor @jennifer for guiding me throughout the process :heart_hands:

Also, as we incorporate a couple of new ideas while opening the application for the 2023 Fellowship Program, we are reaching out to the community again for more suggestions and feedback as it will help us improve the fellowship program. If you have any feedback, please do let us know here.

We have also pulled out three fellowship orientation sessions this November. We are done with:

  • Session 1: Fellowship Program Overview
  • Session 2: Matching Your Goals with the Skills You Need
  • Session 3: Mentorship, Open Source Citizens, and OpenMRS

Please feel free to check out the recordings here at the orientation wiki. Big hug to @jennifer, @christine, and @erica, our superb operation and community team.

I also had a great chance to catch up with @suruchi this month. We met for in-person coffee since we belong from the same city/county. We had a fun time sharing each other fellowship journey.

Global events

Like usual, have been regularly attending the global events and OMR22 planning calls, but mostly in listening mode.

Capstone project

Finally, I got a chance to do a separate 1:1 fellowship check-in with my mentor @jennifer after a long gap to discuss my fellowship journey and especially discuss my capstone project. You can find my capstone proposal here. Have received feedback and a great list of resources to study from Jennifer to kickstart my updating dev stage project work. Currently, I am compiling my reading and reference list.

What’s in the bag for next month? :school_satchel:


For December, will work to support and facilitate the remaining fellowship orientation session. Also, we are looking into ways to promote the 2023 fellowship application; so looking forward to working on that end too.

Global events

Will continue joining the OMR22 planning call.

Capstone project

I plan to allocate most of my December time for a capstone project. I will start working on it; first, by catching up with a few technical community members to understand their view regarding the dev stages and potential space for improvement they see; second, by compiling the finding and recommendation that has been identified with proper documentation for further work.

Since December is the final month of my fellowship, I looking forward to making the best use of it.


Good stuff @nikeshbalami!

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December marks the final month of my fellowship journey as a 2022 community management fellow.

During the end of December as most of the community members were off for the new year holidays; I utilize the opportunity to reflect back on the journey. As I reflect back, I feel emotional and excited. What a journey it has been. So much of learning, testing, achieving, and collaborating.

Here is my 2022 Fellowship Journey and Fellowship Plan.

Looking back on the December engagement :man_technologist:

  • Fellowship: We have successfully completed the 2023 fellowship orientation program, please find the session recordings here if you couldn’t make it to the session. Also, we opened and closed the fellowship and organization application for the 2023 fellowship program. And if you want to read about the fellowship journey and experiences of the 2022 cohort, please feel free the check out the Fellowship Symposium blog post. Currently, We are hosting the Fellowship Program Management weekly call to plan and sync activities around the OpenMRS Fellowship and GSoC program.

  • Capstone project: Had a chance to catch up with my mentor Jennifer again in December to check in on the progress of the capstone project. We discussed a couple of ideas to move forward with my capstone project. Now, based on the reading and a reference list that I curated, I will be documenting my learning regarding the dev stage and will try to do a couple of interviews with community members to capture their views. Everything will be compiled and shared so that later we can find some additional time to further work on it.

Although my fellowship journey officially ended, I look forward to closely with the fellowship and operation team as an active community member.

What’s in the bag? :school_satchel:

  • Fellowship: I will continue joining the fellowship management weekly call and provide support in the 2023 fellowship program management, as the team works in the sorting and selection of the fellows.
  • Capstone project: There are some pending works related to my capstone project and I aim to finish it soon within January and present my finding to the community.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for helping me throughout the journey, especially my mentor @jennifer and my fellow colleagues from the 2022 cohort.

Happy new year!