October 30, 2011

NABUUR Turns 10!

NABUUR, the Global Neighbour Network, turned 10 today!
To celebrate this fact, we've put together a timeline with NABUUR milestones, newsletters, videos and stories from the ground - showing NABUUR's development over time.

Looking back, these 10 years have been a continuous journey of trying, testing, often failures, successes, but (hopefully) most of all learning. But also a journey with sometimes rather unbelievable stories of perseverance, ingenuity and collaboration to overcome local challenges.

Of course these results would never have been achieved without the support from volunteers all around the world. On behalf of all the communities that have benefited from your ideas and efforts, I'd like to say a heartfelt"Thank you!" for 10 years of your continuous support!

I hope you'll enjoy a walk down memory lane!

Pelle Aardema

Click here to open the timeline in full screen. (goes to an external site)

April 8, 2011

Blooming Bud School in Kalna, India, finally moves to its own building.

Since 2005, Sushmita Lahiri, Local Representative of Kalna, has been teaching children at her own house. This week we received some very uplifting news.

Local Representative Sushmita Lahiri writes:

“School shifted from my house to its own building ! ! ! Yesterday, Tuesday the 5th of April 2011 !”

Sushmita writes she has been scrubbing off the old paint during her leisure time, and she was able to hire a painter to paint the first part of the building.

“The children are very happy in the new school! At this moment, only a part of the total building could be made fit for use. Please be assured that as soon as other parts complete and made ready for use, I will let you know!”

Congratulations Sushmita! We’re waiting for more positive news.

Read more about Kalna, and find out how you can help:

Sushmita teaching at her house

December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from NABUUR

Dear all,

As we enter the holiday season and the year comes to a close, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a joyous and peaceful holiday.

The past year has not been the easiest year in NABUURs history. At the beginning of 2010 we knew we had a difficult job ahead: changing NABUUR from a staff-run organisation to a fully volunteer run community. We’ve had to overcome a lot of difficulties, but at the end of the year we’re still together as a group of people who share the same purpose: putting their skills to use where they really matter.

Many thanks go to each one of you for all that you have contributed in this past year: by checking in regularly to see how things are going, by helping communities move forward, getting in touch with new volunteers, and in numerous other ways - Thank you so much!

It’s this sense of community that makes NABUUR work, and it shows:

These kind of inspiring examples keep us focused and hopefully mark the beginning of a new and successful period for NABUUR.

Happy holidays, everyone!

On behalf of the NABUUR board and governance team,

Pelle Aardema

December 22, 2009

Join the BarCamp to bring NABUUR to the next level! Febr 13-14 in Amsterdam

The first NABUUR BarCamp will take place during the weekend of February 13-14. It will convene ca. 30 website developers and volunteers from different continents to the beautiful city of Amsterdam. The goal is to bring NABUUR to the next level. A level...
October 5, 2009

NABUUR redesign – Testing the first bits

In between clearing out the office, different conferences and meetings (more about that soon) and the all social media efforts you’d nearly forget about the redesign. But it’s still ongoing!

Last month saw the release of a new demo site that has been used for testing the first bits (take a peek at

You’ll notice a few things:

1. The new NABUUR logo!!! I’m proud to present our new logo, which is fresher, brighter than the current logo. Also notice that we’re moving from .com to .org, which fits NABUUR a lot better

2. With the new logo, the colour scheme will also change. Brighter colours and a more contemporary style.
3. The pages are still pretty empty. This is partly caused by the fact that the site is in development. Right now only the first basic functions have been installed. When more functions are added, the pages will fill up. But, as one of the main reasons for the redesign is to make NABUUR easier to use, they should stay pretty 'clean'.

Testing the new site
A number of Local Reps have provided their feedback on the first user cases that were implemented: ‘Sign up as a Neighbour and ‘Register your Villlage’. At the same time the NABUUR team has been live testing the demo with non-NABUUR users, in order to get feedback on the user experience. The collected feedback already lead to improvements in the design. This method of testing (both face-to-face and online) will be used for all the functionality that is developed.

If you have a look, keep in mind this is not a finished site yet, but feel free to test the sign up process. Any feedback is welcome here.

Upcoming functionality
In the meanwhile our team worked on the Village’s project room. A first version should be up in the coming week.

Want to be involved in the testing? Leave a comment or send me an email at pelle [at]

September 29, 2009

A short message goes a long way…

It all started with a message: “Hello Esther, my name is Mpoya Kiirya Eddy. Please join my Village Kisozi and advice me on my project for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.” At the end of the week, Esther will board the plane to Uganda: to visit Africa for the first time in her life AND to [...]
September 25, 2009

NABUUR has left the building

... and moves on to a more flexible way of working. Today Siegfried and I moved out the last boxes, I only have to hand in the keys and that's the end of the NABUUR office in Amersfoort. As NABUUR is changing the way it works - key now is to be open...
July 27, 2009

NABUUR Redesign is Underway!

For those who regularly visit our Website development group it’s no surprise: the NABUUR site is being redesigned.

So far, most discussions and brainstorms have taken place within a small group of staff and volunteers, but the first screens of the new site will be visible soon.

Why this redesign?

Developing NABUUR is a continuous process. Not only new (technical) possibilities keep emerging; the actual contacts and work that take place in the villages on NABUUR also bring up new insights and lessons learned.

Last year, NABUUR was migrated from an old (XOOPS) environment, which didn’t allow further development of the platform, to Drupal, a new, state of the art environment which offers a lot of functionality. Quite a number of long awaited changes were made to the way NABUUR is organised. Due to limited time and means however, the old look and feel were mostly copied across without a proper redesign. The introduction of new features has caused pages to ‘clutter up’, making the NABUUR site not the easiest to navigate. Next to that the NABUUR site could use a fresher look and feel.


NABUUR is being redesigned through an ‘agile’ process:

- The functionality that the NABUUR site should offer is written down in 'user stories' that describe the experience that a certain user should have (the full set is ~50 user stories)
- Every month our team chooses the user stories that will be designed/developed that month.
- Starting with the basic functions, how futile they may seem: the signup forms were designed first
- Any user stories that are ready are implemented on, where they can be seen and tested

Right now, it still looks like a fresh new Drupal site, straight from the box. But in the course of summer, bits and pieces will be added and a fresh new NABUUR will take shape. For now, click on the demo link above and take a peek at the new logo to see the new, fresher colours.

Join us in building!

We'll need a lot of help in various ways, and love to hear if you want to get involved! Are you an experienced DRUPAL developer? Or do you want to help with testing the site? Just leave a comment and we’ll get in touch.

Stay tuned for more Redesign news, and keep track of the conversation in the Website Development group.

July 15, 2009

NABUUR at a higher speed

Have you browsed around NABUUR this week yet? Noticed anything extraordinary? No? I thought so…

But an important change took place ‘under-the-hood’: the NABUUR site has been moved to bigger, faster servers!

The occasional visitor probably won’t notice the difference. The regular visitors and Neighbours should experience a better site speed, however.

Ever since the NABUUR Drupal site was launched last year, the speed of the site has been a point of attention. Frans and Kester pulled every trick they knew: PHP-errors, memcache, MySQL queries, 404-handling, Varnish and a dozen other ideas came to the table. And when all of that had been done (and helped quite a bit): let’s move the site to a bigger server.

Last Monday morning the operation took place: the access to the site was closed for 2 hours, it was made sure no postings were lost, the site was moved and then was activated again, without any major interruptions. Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of our tech team, I proudly present:

NABUUR at a higher speed!

For the curious techies: the site is running on 2 new servers now. The first one is a dedicated server for the database. The other dedicated server is the application/http server.

The new server configuration

Type as fast as you can, our site can handle it ;-)