Notice F2: Shelf readiness with a focus on building local capacity and new teams.

Improving OpenBoxes Multilingual Support and Training

Two-sentence Overview: 

The goal of this project is to increase the shelf-readiness of OpenBoxes LMIS software through three projects:  1) Upgrade the underlying technology base of the software to enable further improvements in the areas of testing and security, 2) Create a mechanism for community members to contribute translations to  OpenBoxes, and 3) Develop training modules for new users and implementers. Partners in Health will coordinate the effort in collaboration with consortium partners Justin Miranda, SolDevelo, Open Solutions for Health, and C&A Systems.

Executive Summary: 

OpenBoxes (OB) is a purpose-built open source logistics management information system designed to serve the supply-chain management demands of public health systems. The OpenBoxes community has grown rapidly over the past two years, with 3 new country implementations planned for early 2022. In the context of this growth, the core team has identified priority areas of improvement to increase the shelf readiness of the software and support our growing user base. These priorities include 1) Increasing  test coverage, 2) Investing in training regional implementers and superusers, and 3) Making OpenBoxes more accessible to non-English speakers. While some of this work has been funded by current partners, there are still substantial gaps between our current trajectory and our shelf-readiness goals.

There are three goals for this project:

  1. Enable improvements in security and testing by upgrading OpenBoxes from Grails 1.0 to Grails 5.0

  2. Improve multilingual support in OpenBoxes by incorporating community translations into the master version (Bring multilingual support score from Medium to High in Maturity Model)

  3. Build out a series of online training modules for implementers, using the contributions and feedback from two new partners in Mexico and Dominica (Bring user documentation score from Medium to High in Maturity Model)

Partners in Health will leverage the combined resources of the consortium team to achieve these goals. For the Grails upgrade, PIH will engage experienced external consultants to complete the work under the supervision of lead developer Justin Miranda. SolDevelo will provide QA support. For the multilingual support work, C&A Systems has offered to make the translations they have done on their own available to the entire community. They have identified certain areas where translation requires a code change, and will work with Justin and SolDevelo to revise the code to be fully localizable. They will also assist the developer team to identify a service that would allow future implementers to suggest translations to be incorporated into the master version. For the training module, Partners in Health will leverage its existing online training platform, Tovuti, and the expertise of its implementer team to develop initial versions of each training module. Open Solutions for Health and C&A Systems will review the modules and provide feedback and use cases from the perspective of their own expertise and local context. This collaboration will allow the new consortium members to learn from PIH,while contributing their own valuable perspectives as new implementers of the software.

Consortium team: 

Partners In Health (Prime) : Partners In Health (PIH) is an international health organization relentlessly committed to improving the health of the poor through public sector partnerships in 11 countries. Over the past 10 years, PIH has implemented OpenBoxes at its care-delivery sites in five countries, and has supported implementations for other organizations in three additional countries. PIH proposes to leverage this experience to lead this project and manage its financial, administrative, and training components. 

Justin Miranda (Supporting): Justin Miranda, the creator of OpenBoxes, will function as lead developer and scrum master for the project, supervising other developers from SolDevelo and PIH.

SolDevelo (Supporting): SolDevelo is an IT consulting firm that has been a key contributor to OpenBoxes since 2017. SolDevelo will provide both developer support and quality assurance testing for the project.

Open Solutions for Health (Supporting): Open Solution for Health (OS4H) is an IT consulting firm that specializes in digital health solutions. OS4H works closely with the MOHSS of Dominica and hopes to build their capacity to support OpenBoxes after the software is implemented there next year.

C&A Systems (Supporting): C&A Systems is an IT consulting form with 18 years of experience in both the public and private sector. They are implementing OpenBoxes for the State of Mexico Department of Labor, with plans to expand that implementation to other government departments.

Project Description: 

Work Package 1: Upgrade to Grails 5.0 to enable improved security and test coverage

Background: The OpenBoxes team has identified security and test coverage as areas of weakness for the software, and has planned projects to improve in both areas. We have not been able to implement these projects because OpenBoxes depends on an old release of the Grails framework. Updating Grails will allow for security improvements, make it easier for new implementers to add tests, and allow us to incorporate those tests more easily into our build and release processes. This upgrade will enable the Openboxes consortium to implement already planned and funded activities that will increase shelf readiness in the areas of software productization and security.

Objective: Upgrade to Grails 5.0


  • Migrate configuration 

  • Migrate dependencies

  • Migrate tests to new testing framework (Spock)

  • Refactor or remove deprecated features from previous versions

  • Regression testing


  • New version released to GitHub using Grails 5.0

  • Test coverage report showing baseline test coverage and tests run on new version


  • Q1: Hire and onboard consultants with expertise in Grails to support the upgrade

  • Q 2-3: Complete an initial version of the upgrade for testing

  • Q4: Quality Assurance testing and release


Work Package 2: Improve multilingual support in OpenBoxes

Background: Although OpenBoxes is currently used in multiple non-English speaking countries, only limited translation is available out of the box. The software enables users to enter their own translations, but there is no mechanism to share that work with the larger community. The goal for this project is to first incorporate existing translations provided by C&A Systems  into the main version of the application, addressing  hard coded strings and other areas for improvement in the localization of the software. Then the two organizations will work together to implement a new solution that allows OpenBoxes community members to submit translations for review.


  • Incorporate French, Spanish, and Creole translations into the application

  • Enable translation of user-defined fields (ex. product names)

  • Choose and implement a service for crowdsourcing future translation efforts


  • Work with C&A Systems to incorporate the translation work they have done into the master version of OB

  • Implement and test a solution for translation of product names

  • Research and implement an external service to enable sharing of translation data


  • Version of application with full translation into French, Spanish and Creole released to GitHub

  • Version of application with product translation feature enabled release to GitHub

  • Translation service chosen and translation data moved out of OpenBoxes and into that service


  • Q2: Release version with all three languages available

  • Q3: Release version with product translation

  • Q4: Move translation data to new service


Work Package 3: OpenBoxes University

Background: PIH is currently building a basic online training module for OpenBoxes that will be available to all users. We would like to expand this online training program to provide training for implementers and data analysts, and to provide it in all of the major languages spoken by users. By providing online training in multiple languages, we hope to encourage a wider community of implementers from countries where the software is being used.

Objective: Develop three new online training modules, translated into English and French


  • Develop a superuser/system administrator training module
  • Develop a basic training on the OB data model for data analysts
  • Develop an initial training series for implementers
  • Translate written OpenBoxes documentation into Spanish French, and Creole


  • Implementer training including modules on system administration and data analysis available in English and French
  • Wiki documentation available in Spanish, French, and Creole


  • Q1: Begin work on the system administrator module. Engage translators and begin translating content.
  • Q2: Finalize system administrator module and translations.
  • Q3: Finish and translate data analysis module, start on implementer series.
  • Q4: Finalize and translate the implementer module


Risk Mitigation: Across all three projects, the greatest risk is the ongoing labor shortage. PIH will be required to engage new developers with specialized knowledge for the Grails 5.0 migration, and also translators with specialized vocabulary. It is possible that these skilled professionals will be difficult to find, or more expensive than anticipated. We will mitigate this risk by doing market research before finalizing the timeline and budget, and by relying on the expertise of current members of the consortium to supplement the work of the external experts.


Digital Health Atlas: 

The following projects have been registered in the Digital Health Atlas:

Geographic Reach: 

Haiti, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Madagascar, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, Uganda, and USA.

Source Code 

WHO Classification: 

Logistics management information system


Application Status: 
Approved – Contingent on Funding


Thank you for the concept note. For the full technical application, in addition to general recommendations per the email, please ensure it is clear how the work will align with Instant OpenHIE.