Kopernik (organization)

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Kopernik logo

Kopernik is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that distributes life-changing technologies designed for the developing world.[1] Kopernik is a crowdfunding site that allows people to donate money via the internet towards projects that distribute innovative life-changing technologies to the last-mile through Kopernik’s local partner organizations that Kopernik calls technology seekers.[2]


Kopernik’s mission is to “connect simple technology with last mile communities to reduce poverty".[3]


Kopernik profiles technologies designed for the developing world on its website: www.kopernik.info. Local organizations in developing countries can review the website, identify technologies that are needed in their area, and submit proposals to Kopernik. After vetting, Kopernik posts the campaign to its website, where individual donors make contributions. When the funding goal is reached, the technology is shipped to the local partner (technology seeker) and distributed to end-users.[4] In most cases (except in the case of disaster response or health technologies), technology is not given away for free but sold at full or subsidized cost.[5] The funds are repaid to Kopernik and 100% of the repaid funds are allocated to another project. Following each project, user feedback on the technology and its effectiveness, which is collected through impact assessments, is posted to the website.

Kopernik has carried out projects predominantly in South East Asia and Africa. Working with local partner organizations, Kopernik projects have been implemented in China, Haiti, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Uganda and Vietnam as well as in Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.[6]

Kopernik employs 8 full-time staff members and 1 part-time staff member.[7] The organization recruits ‘fellows’ from universities internationally, including Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs [8] and Thunderbird School of Global Management,[9] to undertake projects for 6–30 weeks. The organization has received grants from ExxonMobil for projects that benefit women’s economic participation, the Daiwa Securities Group and Russell Investments Japan.[10][11]


Toshi Nakamura is co-founder of Kopernik, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member. He formerly worked for the United Nations in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, the United States and Switzerland. Toshi is Guest Associate Professor at Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.[12] Toshi is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, class of 2012.[13] He spoke on a panel about technology design for economic empowerment at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, alongside Chelsea Clinton and Geena Davis.[14]

Ewa Wojkowska is co-founder of Kopernik, Chief Operating Officer and Board Member. Prior to Kopernik, Ewa worked at the United Nations and the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Thailand and New York, focusing on the empowerment of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.[15] Ewa is an Ashoka ChangemakHER (2011).[16]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "What Is Kopernik?," Kopernik, Official Website, accessed on 27 April 2012(http://kopernik.info/en-us/faq#t13n29)
  2. ^ "On the Web, a Revolution in Giving," By Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times Opinionator on March 31, 2011 (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/on-the-web-a-revolution-in-giving/?ref=opinion)
  3. ^ "Guidestar Non Profit Report for Kopernik," Guidestar Website (http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/27-0962978/kopernik-solutions.aspx)
  4. ^ "About Us," Kopernik, Official Website (http://kopernik.info/en-us/page/about-us)
  5. ^ "Kopernik Lights Up the Developing World," by Ami Field, GLOBAL Digital News on 21 November 2011 (
  6. ^ "Browse campaigns by location," Kopernik, Official Website (http://kopernik.info/en-us/proposals_by_location)
  7. ^ "The Team," Kopernik, Official Website (http://kopernik.info/en-us/team)
  8. ^ "SIPA Students Light the World with Solar Energy", by Alex Burnett, Columbia SIPA Tumblr (http://columbiasipa.tumblr.com/post/8662218286/sipa-students-light-the-world-with-solar-energy-a)
  9. ^ "TEM Lab: Indonesia - Kopernik - Exxon" Knowledge Network, Thunderbird Website (http://knowledgenetwork.thunderbird.edu/tem-indonesia-kopernik-7_11/2011/07/06/welcome/)
  10. ^ http://kopernik.info/en-us/campaign/announcing-new-exxonmobil-and-kopernik-partnership
  11. ^ http://kopernik.info/en-us/campaign/daiwa-securities-and-russels-investment-fund-kopernik-energy-and-water-projects
  12. ^ "the Team- Toshi Nakamura," Kopernik, Official Website (http://kopernik.info/en-us/team)
  13. ^ "List of 2012 Young Global Leaders Honourees" World Economic Forum, 6 March 2012 (http://www3.weforum.org/docs/YGL12/WEF_YGL_HonoureesClass_2012.pdf)
  14. ^ "Annual Meeting 2011:Agenda," Clinton Global Initiative, Official Website (http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/ourmeetings/2011/meeting_annual_agenda.asp)
  15. ^ "The Team - Ewa Wojkowska," Kopernik, Official Website (http://kopernik.info/team)
  16. ^ "Leading Women ChangemakerHERS Reveal Blueprints for Action," Changemakers Website, March 1st, 2011 (http://www.changemakers.com/blog/changemakehers)