We had nearly twenty submissions for our first ever Atlassian Community Award — a competition to recognize and reward our Community License holders for their outstanding work. The winner will receive a $10,000 donation from the Atlassian Foundation. All of the entrants are charities or foundations helping local and international communities improve through education, awareness, medical assistance and more.

The hardest thing about awards, especially this kind, is that its really, really, really hard to pick just one winner. The entry criteria was pretty straightforward: tell us how the value of our software development tools had empowered your mission.

And the winner is… Mercy Ships

mercyships_sm.png We are excited to announce that Mercy Ships is the winner of our first Atlassian Community Award. Mercy Ships is a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978. Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the forgotten poor by mobilizing people and resources worldwide, and serving all people without regard for race, gender, or religion. Their award application shared many inspiring insights into how Atlassian’s tools have helped further their mission.

What a difference free software can make

In 2005 Mercy Ships received free Atlassian Community Licenses and began using the enterprise wiki Confluence as an intranet and for documentation. They also turned to our bug tracker Jira for tracking issues. In February 2007 Mercy Ships started using Bamboo to control software builds, and are planning to start using Crowd later this year.
Mercy Ships provided empowering glimpses into how Atlassian’s tools are helping their vast and dispersed volunteer force. Jira has enabled fairer and more appropriate allocation of tasks and excellent tracking of issues, responses and outcomes. Confluence has become, among other things, their global intranet (called Navigator) and replaced two separate intranets used by ships and 15 national offices.

We estimate that the value to us of the Atlassian software provided under the Community License is around $30,000. For this amount we can remove 60 facial tumors from those often regarded as possessed by evil spirits, OR do 120 cataract surgeries to restore sight to young and old, OR correct 120 cleft lip/palates in children seen as cursed, OR correct 60 obstetric fistulas for ladies usually abandoned by their husbands and families, OR offer 600 free dental procedures in areas where there is no dentist.
– Anne Barker, Mercy Ships

For their submission to the Community Awards, Mercy Ships also asked people around the organisation to put into words how Atlassian’s products have helped. A member of the international procurement team wrote “Efficiency is greatly improved because questions can be answered by a QUICK search rather than interrupting your own AND someone else’s work to look for answers. Everything you need is on Navigator.” The Assistant Human Resources Manager on the Africa Mercy stated that “Navigator allows me to access tools that I use in my work at anytime of day or night – I don’t have to call the Purser to ask about crew arrivals/departures; I just look it up on Navigator”. A volunteer about the same vessel, Africa Mercy, shared this: “The patient stories and videos posted in Navigator are an invaluable tool in connecting my supporters back in the United States with what is happening here in Africa. I try to send at least one per month so they know where their investment is going.”
And they included several case studies including this:

This very small office is literally at the other side of the world from the IOC, our Swiss Creative Resources office, and the Africa Mercy in western Africa. Navigator has proved invaluable for access to up-to-date information and photos for use in Press Releases. The fact this is all available 24/7 is key, as their time zones mean they have cross-over working hours for a maximum of 2-3 hours a day. Their Communications Manager comments, “I cannot overstate the significance of us being able to view and access what is produced in other locations. We avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’ but also are able to use numerous resources that would be beyond the capability of this office standing on its own.” We multiply what we do by telling the stories. Navigator is providing resources to do that with an increasingly high impact, thus inspiring others to both go and give. As we attract key personnel and generate more financial resources we are able to change the lives of more and more of Africa’s most broken and desperate people.

We’re really excited to award Mercy Ships a $10,000 donation for their outstanding use of our products in service for such an amazing cause. The donation will be dedicated towards one of Mercy Ships specific areas of need, Plastic Reconstructive Surgery in Togo (220k PDF).

Watch the remarkable impact of Mercy Ships


Learn more about Mercy Ships and see how you can help or get involved.

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Mercy Ships wins Atlassian 2010 Community Award