Open source for the social entrepreneur

The IADB launched a new version of its open-source code repository.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the Code for Development initiative in 2017. Its objective is: to serve the teams that seek to incorporate software in their responses to the challenges of economic and social development. 

On this platform, teams looking to create solutions to common problems can consult open source and tools used by people who faced similar challenges. Also, this platform allows you to share your story and learn from related stories.

Two years of Code for development

The Code for Development platform has served to identify, share, and highlight the efforts of open-source collaborators around the world, although focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. In those two years of work, the catalog of digital tools of Code for Development has grown considerably. 

To improve the platform, the IDB has consulted several public servants, civic technologists, and developers. In September 2019, the IDB relaunched the new version of the site.

The improvements have been focused on better ability to search and filter tools, more space to highlight learning resources, and a greater focus on the stories that accompany the experience of reusing open software and its impact.

In an article in the IDB blog Open to the public, Lorena Cano Cuadra, Laura Paonessa, Jesenia Rodríguez and Kyle Strand mentioned some of the new options available on the IDB platform.

Explore the tool catalog by function and by sector

Browse the catalog from the filters and find open source tools that can already respond to the need of your project.

See examples of software developed for a particular field

The software catalog has two independent filters. The first allows you to select from a list of “sectors and topics,” which are those thematic areas of the original application of a tool. For example, selecting “Urban Development and Housing” results in devices such as AP-LatAm, BA Obras, and OpenMapKit, to name a few.

Although they have different functions, what these tools have in common is that they have been applied to solve challenges in urban space management. The same is the case with tools in other sectors. While they are adapted or reused in other areas, some tools may belong to more than one industry. Also, it is essential to remember that it is possible to apply a tool to a different sector, even if it is not labeled that way.

Find tools that fulfill a specific function

If you already have a more specific idea of the type of application you need, it might be useful to filter the catalog by function. We have identified 12 different tasks, including record management, image processing, and data visualization. This list will expand according to the new tools that enter the catalog.

Get the code of the tools

Check the documentation of the code easily

If you have identified a tool that interests you, you can go to its showcase to learn more details about its use and technical specifications. You can also enter its GitHub repository to download or forge the source code of the tool or application. You have to look for the button that says, “Get the code.”

Share your code

Collaborate with the open-source movement

If you work with a digital tool that is helping to solve development challenges, and you think it may be useful for other organizations or governments, this is the place to share your code. Development Code has collaborators from all over the world who have made their code available for reuse by others. You can also join through this link.

Before publishing new tools, in Code for Development we have a review process to ensure that the code that is shared can be reused by others, that is, that it complies with structural and documentation standards. In this guide we explain the procedure.

If you have any questions about the process, you can send an email to

Share your story

Does your team work with open source? Do you have experiences in adapting or reusing open source tools? If so, the IADB team want to know about that and share your story. From Code for Development, they want to encourage more teams to work with open source tools, so tell us how you have worked to adapt and reuse the tools and we will share it.

They publish about open-source learning, contributions to the Development Code and the reuse of tools in the Open to the Public blog.

You can start sharing your story by completing the form on the page.

Stay on top of the activities and opportunities to collaborate with the Development Code

At different times, the IDB has special events or campaigns focused on the search for new tools. You can always find relevant information about these opportunities on the home page when they are happening. And to make sure you never miss the new news, you can subscribe here.