Episode 13

Internews OSS Lightweight Needs Assessment Toolkit with Gina Helfrich


14 August 2020

48 mins 58 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


Georg Link | Dawn Foster | Andrea Gallo


Show Notes

[00:02:28] Gina tells us about herself, what she does, and how she got into this “space” and the opportunity that came up at Internews to manage the BASICS project.

[00:06:10] Dawn asks Gina if she has any suggestions for people who are analyzing data, especially in vulnerable populations.

[00:09:43] Andrea wants to know what Gina’s thoughts and guidelines are when selecting security applications? She also gives us a summary and explains the two parts of the BASICS project (Building Analytical and Support Infrastructure for Critical Security tools). The Guardian Project and a methodology they developed called, Clean Insights is explained.

[00:14:36] Andrea asks Gina when you follow the development of an open source tool or you select an open source tool for adoption, is there any metrics that you monitor to identify the success of a project and what would you consider a good open source project to adopt or how would you declare that your role in an open source project sounds successful?

[00:17:03] Dawn asks how good are these projects that people are using and what shape are they in. Also, Gina gives us examples of the types of projects she’s working with.

[00:20:03] Georg saw the Lightweight Needs Assessment that Gina created for Internews, she listed CHAOSS as a source of inspiration for this tool along with others, so he’s interested to know how did she go about creating this tool, how you’ve used these resources, like CHAOSS, in the creation and what are the dimensions that you are looking at inside the tool.

[00:29:14] Gina talks a little more about how she uses all this data, then to prioritize which projects get consultants or get additional help. Also, she tells us how she goes from the data to the decision-making process.

[00:33:00] Andrea talks about his favorite metrics and he asks Gina her thoughts on if a project is all contributed by engineers from few companies, is it really an open source project versus open source projects that are contributed by hundreds of people working for different companies and has she looked at these elements in her strategy.

[00:37:16] Andrea wonders if it was hard for Gina to jumpstart into CHAOSS and find her way.

[00:40:50] Gina tells us where you can find her on the internet and find this tool to learn more about how to use it.


  • [00:41:30] Georg’s value add is a book called, See You in the Cosmos, by Jack Cheng.
  • [00:42:36] Dawn’s value add is a tool called OBS Studio.
  • [00:43:50] Andrea’s value add’s are a book called, To Touch a Wild Dolphin, by Rachel Smolker and WindowSwap.
  • [00:45:25] Gina’s value add’s are roller skating/watching roller skating videos on Instagram (Berlin roller skater) and a book called, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny ODell.


  • [00:07:59] “And it’s kind of interpersonal in nature of that, and the messiness and humanness of that interaction, gives you I believe, a different perspective on running analyses if you really have that sense of, 'Oh, there are people here!'”


Lightweight Needs Assessment that Gina created for Internews

Gina Helfrich Website

Gina Helfrich Twitter

Gina Helfrich Linkedin

Clean Insights

Internews Global Technology BASICS project

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

OBS Studio

To Touch a Wild Dolphin by Rachel Smolker


Oumi Janta- Berlin roller skater

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell


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