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MERL Center Stipend Program

The MERL Center introduced a stipend program in late 2020 with the aim to grow the community and it's reach through content creation and presentation by MERL professionals and experts in the field of OS, data science and human-centered design.



Created in September 2019 by the GitHub Social Impact, Tech for Social Good team and MERL Tech, the monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) Center is a community creating resources about the intersection of MERL and open source, for people of any technology capacity. In February 2022, the MERL Center expanded its original scope to include data science and human-centered design. The MERL Center has 100+ members across sub-Saharan Africa, South/east Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. More than a quarter of MERL Center members are women of color. Most members volunteer their time. As of May 2023, the MERL Center is a project of Civic Tech Structure, Inc. a 501(c)(3)

First Stipend (2020 Q4 - 2021)

The MERL Center welcomed its first cohort of stipend recipients in late 2020. These recipients drove the content creation on the MERL Center website, participated in conferences and presented their MERL work to the wider community throughout 2020 and 2021. Stipends: 10 Stipend Amount: $1,000 USD each

Second Stipend (2022 Q4 - 2023 Q3)

Start: The second stipend cohort commenced October 2022 Focus: similar functions to the first Stipend in the expanded scope, with the aim of growing the community and reach. Stipends: 5 Stipend Amount: $2,000 USD each


To qualify for a stipend, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate knowledge/expertise in open source, data science or human-centered design as it relates to MERL disciplines
  • Have professional proficiency in English
  • Demonstrate strong writing and editing skills
  • Be able to receive funds from a US bank account or a remittance service
  • Current MERL Center members are eligible to apply unless they were previous stipend recipient who did not complete the requirements
  • 1-2 stipends will be allocated for junior-level professionals

There are no formal education requirements. Previous knowledge of GitHub is encouraged but not required.


Stipend recipients agree to complete the following throughout the year:

  • Contribute at least two pieces of content on the MERL Center website
  • Serve as an editor to at least one other piece of content
  • Participate in monthly standing calls, time zone and schedules permitting
  • Communicate on a monthly basis with other MERL Center members through GitHub, Slack and Google Drive
  • The above commitments should take no more than 3-5 hours per month. Participation is encouraged throughout the year. The MERL Center will make good faith efforts to work around stipend recipients’ work and personal schedules
  • Attend MERL Center Stipend Cohort Quarterly Meeting with the Content Manager
    • Second Stipend Cohort:
      • November: 2022-11-29
      • February: TBD
      • April: TBD
      • July: TBD

2022-2023 Stipends are financed through the GitHub Social Impact, Tech for Social Good team and will be made in two payments through MERL Tech.

Stipend recipients who do not complete the requirements are not eligible to apply for future stipend cohorts.

Join the MERL Center!

Please fill out this form if you'd like to participate in the MERL Center! We're always looking for new members.

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