New approach to tech for the poor

Media Release

New Online Store of Technology Designed for the Poor

New York, NY (19 February 2010) Kopernik — http://www.thekopernik.org — a
new non-profit venture that provides life-changing technology to the
poor, launches today. Kopernik makes technology designed for the
developing world accessible through the Internet and by harnessing the
power of individual donations.

“The problems we’re addressing appear simple but often hold millions
of people back,” commented Kopernik co-founder Ewa Wojkowska. “The
life straw for water purification, the solar powered lamp, self-
adjusting eye glasses– the world has the technology and capacity to
produce these items, but the people who need them can’t get hold of
them”.

Kopernik’s aim is to bring this technology to the poor in developing
countries via the site, and link them to individuals willing to make a
donation towards the purchase of the products.

“By providing individuals with a way to donate directly towards the
purchase of the products, we’re creating a more efficient supply chain
from manufacturer to recipient without getting bogged down in the
inefficiencies of large agencies that have historically acted as the
go-between.” Review a list of technology currently available through
Kopernik.

Kopernik is the brain-child of Ewa Wojkowska and Toshi Nakamura who
have extensive experience in international development as UN staff
members. Read more on the founders of Kopernik.

With early operations already up and running in Indonesia, Sierra
Leone, and Timor-Leste, Kopernik has been overwhelmed by positive
response and plans to develop a truly worldwide service to the poor.
“Since beginning operations in the summer of ‘09, we’ve piloted
Kopernik in selected countries, building on our networks with local
organizations and communities” Wojkowska said. View a success story
from our pilot.

“Through our work with the UN we’ve recognized both the opportunities
and the challenges in international development,” says Kopernik co-
founder Nakamura. “It is clear to us that there is a huge need in the
developing world for direct access to what are often simple but life-
changing technologies. With Kopernik, we’re excited to apply our
experience and create direct links between supplier and client.” View
the stories of inventors of the technology featured on Kopernik.

Kopernik provides a menu of available technologies for local
organizations in developing countries. These organizations then
provide short proposals explaining how they will make them available
to those most in need. Visitors to the site in turn review the
proposals, and make donations to fund the plan of their choice. Review
a detailed outline of how Kopernik works.

With the site’s launch, Kopernik joins Kiva and GlobalGiving in the
global revolution to use the internet as the critical link between the
developed and developing worlds.

“What sets Kopernik apart is the focus on technology and a review
mechanism for local organizations, or ‘technology seekers’, to rate
the products. By including a feedback mechanism on the effectiveness
of these technologies, Kopernik gives voice and choice to local
communities and organizations – simple elements that are so frequently
missed in international development efforts” explained Nakamura.

In the run-up to its launch, Kopernik was named winner of the 2009
Japanese Innovation Grant awarded “for the organization’s global scope
and solid sustainability model.” Kopernik features a strong management
and advisory board of established experts from the development and
private sectors. Read more on the Kopernik Board.

Kopernik is named after Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543). “He is
known for changing how people viewed the world around them,” Wojkowska
said. “In our own way we hope to change how people approach
development and how some of the greatest challenges facing the world
today are addressed.” The launch of Kopernik coincides with
Copernicus’ birthday, February 19, 1473.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Ewa Wojkowska

Co-Founder, Kopernik
ewa.wojkowska@thekopernik.org

+1 917-975-6352 or +1 917-975-6353

125 Court St

Brooklyn NY 11201

USA

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