Kopernik is a non-profit organization headquartered in Indonesia that distributes low-cost technologies to recipients in less-developed countries using crowdfunding. In the US, it is a registered 501(c) organization.
Kopernik was co-founded by Toshihiro (Toshi) Nakamura and Ewa Wojkowska. Both had worked for the United Nations – Nakamura in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Sierra Leone and the US and Wojkowska in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Thailand and New York.
Operations and funding
The organization consists of four legal entities. Kopernik Global, responsible for general strategy, is registered as Kopernik Solutions in New York State; Yayasan Kopernik operates in Indonesia as a government-registered foundation; PT Kopernik, a company based in Indonesia, provides consulting and advisory services and assists imports and exports there; and Kopernik Japan, registered in Japan as a General Incorporated Association, contributes consulting and advisory services and conducts fund-raising.
Donations are distributed by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). An NGO must be registered and submit an application to Kopernik that outlines its goals and distribution methods. Following approval, proposals are posted on the website and prospective donors may choose among them.
The distributed products include LifeStraw, which filters and purifies drinking water; Solvatten, which purifies and heats water using solar power; solar lanterns; and adjustable-focus eyeglasses.  The eyeglasses, based on a design by Joshua Silver, can be adjusted by users to address vision problems without consulting optometrists, who are in short supply in many areas. Other offered technologies include rolling water drums and drip irrigation systems.
Tech Kiosks are family-run small shops (warung) that sell simple technologies alongside a wide range of everyday goods. Tech Kiosk owners receive technology stock on consignment. When they sell technologies they earn a commission, return the cost of inventory to Kopernik, and order more of the technologies most in demand. As of March 2014, the organization had 42 Tech Kiosks in Bali, Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara.
The organization has received awards, including runner-up status in Crunchie’s 2010 CleanTech category and a Gold-level transparency designation from the non-profit evaluation organization GuideStar.
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