The UnaMesa Association - Project pages

The nonprofit UnaMesa Association supports innovations in social services.

We provide technical support for pilot projects that promise to improve access to information and promote knowledge sharing for education, health care, and community-based services.

The UnaMesa Association consists of a network of individuals from industry, NGOs, and academia dedicated to creating better quality care and better education for everyone through service innovation. You can learn more about us through this site, our quarterly newsletter, our weekly Conference Calls, and our blog. On this wiki we coordinate our pilot projects (see below), document completed projects, and offer free software and web tools developed as part of these projects, and graciously accept your contributions of knowledge, skills, and financial resources.

UnaMesa takes an innovative approach to collaboration.
We use a combination of revenue models and partnerships to:
  • bring together NGOs, academia, and industry on specific projects that address critical unmet needs
  • encourage innovation by paying developers for contributions of their software and other IP (we purchase works on behalf of the community and hold them in trust)
  • support communities through a variety of agreements with associates and partners

At UnaMesa we believe that the "services economy" requires a new approach to research and development that creates real value through collaboration. In today's economy, competitive markets pit buyers and sellers against each other for the best deals. In that environment, R&D investments focus on creating competitive advantages for companies. By contrast a true services economy recognizes that information and knowledge is not inherently a scarce resource. Rather, both students and teachers or patients and doctors benefit from the accessibility and sharing of information.

Current Projects

Open Access health guides

  • Working with the nonprofit publisher Hesperian Foundaion, UnaMesa has helped create a digital platform for community based health information that is relevant, reliable, and accessible to communities around the world. Where There Is No Doctor and other Hesperian texts are now available in digital formats through web browsers and mobile applications in several languages. A 10,000+ image library is available for use by health publishers worldwide. Our eventual goal is to create a digital distribution platform for web and mobile phone that allows local, regional experts to easily create and distribute the information that is most relevant to their communities. Translations and adaptations by local communities can provide underserved communities with accurate, relevant health care information in a way that drives improvements in health outcomes. Please see the Hesperian site to view the current resources developed through this partnership.

Changing the mobile Game: Supporting the growth of children through data

  • What role do digital technologies play in the lives of young children? How can we create positive feedback mechanisms that use smartphones and tablets to bring families closer together and support the emotional, social, and cognitive growth of children? In conjunction with parents, educators, and app makers we are looking at ways to address these questions and encourage the development of technologies in ways that support the needs of children and families.

Past Pilot Projects

Each pilot project has a separate wiki to support collaboration on that pilot. Some of the wikis below may contain sensitive information, such as personal contact information or other details, and may require a password to access.

Community based publishing

  • UnaMesa is working in conjunction with the nonprofit publisher Hesperian to produce digital versions of Where There Is No Doctor and other Hesperian texts. Goal is to support digital distribution via web and mobile phone as well as translations adaptations by local communities in order to provide underserved communities with accurate, relevant health care information in the most accessible format. (Project wiki is currently restricted to project participants to prevent the accidental distribution of works in progress which have not been fully reviewed and may be incomplete or inaccurate. Access granted upon request.)

MORE project - Mobile Research and Education

  • Virtual Interactive Classroom -- innovative approach to distance-learning that combines broadcast video and real-time SMS messaging to create great learning experiences

Digital Notebooks

  • Student notebooks -- digital notebooks that combine course materials, class notes, and collaboration tools in an integrated experience under control of the students

Forms Repository project

  • The Forms Repository pilot provides a place to collect and share mobile, online, and paper forms and related business processes. This gives social service organizations a practical way to share and find best practices for data gathering and processing to improve their effectiveness. This project is related to the OpenRosa consortium development of mobile phone based tools for gathering data on health care as well as the previous UnaMesa Academy pilot that looked at the information processing needs of social service organizations such as AICRC American Indian Children Resources Center and New York Charter Schools.

Completed projects

  • ServiceLink Simple, secure record sharing that was developed in combination with a head start program
  • Origins ethnographic observations coupled with prototypes of applications using mobile phones for real-time inspection and tracking of organic, fair trade, and other agricultural products
  • UnaMesa Academy pilot looking at approaches to improve the data gathering information processes of social service organizations through a combination of free tools for online forms and facilitated, peer to peer discussions to share best practices

Free software and web services offered by UnaMesa

The innovations in software, Web services, and best practices produced by these projects are available for free to nonprofit organizations through the UnaMesa Association. With the support of our contributors, UnaMesa provides ongoing maintenance and support of the software and operates Web services including:
  • SharedRecords -- Web service and software for the simple, secure sharing of information without the need for complicated IT infrastructure
  • TiddlyWiki -- A self-contained web application that does not require Internet connectivity and allows easy customization and sharing without IT support


The UnaMesa Association is a charitable, non-profit 501c.(3) organization established to serve the public good. All contributions to UnaMesa are tax deductible (US) and directly support dedicated, skilled individual team members enabling them to contribute to the public good.

We hope that you will consider contributing to UnaMesa as we work to identify and put into practice models of R&D that best suit the services economy and lead to innovations that create greater health and well being for communities.

We gratefully acknowledge contributions of all types from individuals and corporations.

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