All posts by Mala Kumar

Q&A’s on RFP for New MERL Tech and MERL Center Websites

Update, 26 August 2020 – The new deadline to submit an RFP is now end of day, Sunday, 13 September 2020. 

Hello Everyone,

Many thanks to those who have submitted and those who have asked questions related to the MERL Tech and MERL Center Website request for proposals. Please find our responses below. You may resubmit without penalty if the answers below change your proposal.

Is WordPress a hard requirement for and is GitHub Pages a hard requirement for the MERL Center?

Yes, WordPress is a hard requirement for We are open to other suggestions than GitHub Pages for the MERL Center, but the website must be editable from the (public) MERL Center GitHub repository.

My company is headquartered in the US, but my development team is in India. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply so long as we are able to have development and design discussions with a main point of contact throughout the project. We are based on the east coast (ET) of the US.

Is a free WordPress blog or a hosted website using the free WordPress CMS?

The site is currently a free WordPress blog. It is possible it will move to a full hosted website running the free WordPress CMS. is an independently hosted website (not on site using the WordPress CMS. The selected candidate would NOT be responsible for covering the cost of hosting, security certificates or plugins. Kurante / GitHub will cover those costs separately.

Are there specific WordPress plugins relies on now? Will this change in the future?

There are no plugins currently used on the site. MerlTech uses Akismet Anti-Spam, Classic Editor, Easy Updates Manager, Jetpack, and Wordfence Security.  We are open to adding plugins.

Could you elaborate more on your understanding of the term “new information architecture”? There is a lot of information/content on

This part is flexible. A new information architecture could be as simple as reordering or renaming the current page structure. It could also be a full page structure redo with adding secondary headers, archiving or otherwise reorganizing content, and adding tags. The selected candidate will help Kurante determine the best option and migrate content, but is NOT responsible for editing or formatting pieces of content.

Will the MERL Tech Sched account be upgraded or will new Sched features for MERL Tech be added in the future?

Kurante pays for Sched to manage 2-3 of its conferences per year. Sched is integrated with Eventbrite. Kurante then links the agenda into No changes are envisioned to the current plan.

Your current Sched integration is mostly embedding and doesn’t use any API integrations. Will there be any future Sched APIs used on

Sched provides a free and simple HTML embed code that is added to There is no plan to use any of Sched’s APIs.

How will content be integrated across the two two websites? Will the MERL Center GitHub Pages site need to pull content off WordPress site or vice versa?

There is no planned direct integration of and the forthcoming site. The site will pull its code and content from a public GitHub repository, much like how works. The selected candidate will be asked to create unified branding (CSS style guides, page structures, related logos, etc.) between the two sites and recommend how and where to link the sites to each other.

Will MERL Center working group members need training on GitHug Pages and/or Markdown?

MERL Center working group members already use Markdown. 1-2 members will need to understand how the forthcoming GitHub Pages code is set up and how to make simple style modifications, page additions, etc. ~5-10 members may also require (basic) training on adding or modifying content on the GitHub Pages site.

Paid opportunities to support the MERL Center

Update, 26 August 2020 – The new deadline to submit an RFP for the websites development is now end of day, Sunday, 13 September 2020. The application for the MERL Center stipends is now closed.

Post by Mala Kumar, GitHub Social impact, Tech for Social Good

Over the past year, some of you may have seen previous posts here on MERL Tech about a new, highly collaborative effort called the “MERL Center.” A joint effort of the GitHub Social Impact, Tech for Social Good (formerly Open Source for Good) program and MERL Tech, the MERL Center is creating case studies, beginner’s guides and more to support practitioners determine if, when and how to use open source software, tools and data as part of MERL solutions. Since launching at the MERL Tech DC conference in September 2019, we have grown to 30+ Working Group members.

We’re now actively recruiting for two PAID opportunities that will help take the MERL Center to the next level, as outlined below!

MERL Center Working Group Stipends 

We are offering 15 stipends of US $500 to MERL Center Working Group members who are willing, able and qualified to commit to set deliverables in support of the MERL Center (for example, supporting with writing on case studies or developing guidance).

Existing Working Group members and new members are welcome to apply. Five stipends are reserved for new professionals with less than three (3) years of experience, including internships. Five stipends are reserved for applicants from low- and middle-income countries. The remaining five stipends are open to anyone. For now, the stipends are a one-time annual payment, though we hope to fund additional stipends next year.

Please note it is NOT required to apply for a stipend to join/continue with the MERL Center as a Working Group member. Email Mala if you wish to get involved without receiving a stipend. Stipends are funded by GitHub and will be distributed through MERL Tech (via Kurante).

Click here to view the stipend requirements

Click here to apply

Website Design for the MERL Center and MERL Tech

MERL Tech and GitHub Social Impact are jointly recruiting for a website designer. Individuals, groups, companies and organizations are encouraged to apply. The contractor will be responsible for:

  • a design refresh of this website – – in WordPress
  • creating the new MERL Center website using GitHub Pages.

The total budget is US $20,000; competitive bids are encouraged.

[Updated] Click here to view the Request for Proposals

Please note that the successful contractor must be paid through the staffing agency TargetCW, who can hire individuals or organizations/firms based in the US or any of these countries.

For questions about either of the above, please email Mala or Linda. We will answer questions on a rolling basis and post those answers publicly here at