Frontiers Volunteers: Supporting sustainable farming through software expertise

This week, we are in Spain to speak to Ignacio Calvo Martínez who recently completed a technical translation for a global NGO called CODESPA Foundation.

Image: Ignacio Calvo Martinez

Based in the Madrid office, Ignacio joined Frontiers in 2014 and is a senior software engineer. He specializes in Microsoft .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, XHTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL, and holds IT and computing qualifications from Polytechnic University of Madrid and The National University of Distance Education (UNED).

Ignacio’s task was to support the CODESPA Foundation by helping them translate a technical software manual for EMILPA, a virtual platform that offers – via mobile – information of interest to agricultural farmers living in vulnerable situations.

EMILPA uses SMS to communicate with farmers in Guatemala, giving them information and alerts about the weather, production, and nutrition. The platform’s objective is to enable farmers to adapt their crops to obtain the highest yield from their basic grain crops, and thus improve their food security.

“On typical day, I work on several development projects at any one time both in collaboration with the developers based here in Madrid and those in our other offices. I have a broad experience and understanding of the software development landscape. It was this, combined with the fact that I can speak and write both English and Spanish fluently, that drew me to this project.”

“While there were a good number of skills-led projects available via the volunteering platform we use, I felt  this project was particularly well suited to my skills and technical expertise. The translation itself took around half a day and involved directly translating the operational manual from Spanish into English. Beyond that, I felt that what the CODESPA Foundation is seeking to achieve through EMILPA was very worthwhile.”

Frontiers volunteering program was introduced to staff last year. Each employee now has up to three working days to volunteer their time to an organization of their choice. Options range from feet-on-the-ground type activities, such as working in the fields, and litter picking, to skills-based projects such as Ignacio’s, as well as donations and collections.

This was my first experience volunteering through Frontiers since the scheme was introduced last year and I am glad to have been able to contribute to a project that will have a direct and genuine impact on the end user.”

“Having been with Frontiers for some time now, I have seen a lot of changes. The organization has grown considerably from somewhere around 200 staff to more than 700 today. It’s great to see such positive initiatives being implemented and I look forward to contributing again in the future.”