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What is the value of Kopernik’s experimental approach?
We believe that breakthrough solutions are unlikely to emerge in the course of ‘business as usual’ and that finding effective solutions to reduce poverty requires systematic efforts, risk taking, trial, error and experimentation. Through rapid testing we can collect and analyse data to determine the effectiveness of solutions faster and build a much needed pipeline of promising solutions that deserve larger-scale testing and evidence collection. Therefore, a big part of what we do is to work with partners that can adopt, test and implement the most effective solutions at a bigger scale. By sharing the findings of our experimentation work with various cross-sectoral partners, we support and cultivate a strong culture of collective impact to strive to end poverty sooner.
Does Kopernik focus on any specific Sustainable Development Goals?
Kopernik is committed towards contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we strive to end poverty together by 2030. We assess the value of our work against this framework and each of our projects aligns with one or more of the SDGs. Currently, the focus of our work lies in six key areas of alignment with the goals.
How are the Figures in Kopernik's Impact Snapshot Calculated?
TECHNOLOGIES DISTRIBUTED = The number of technologies which have been funded for distribution or consigned for sale. In rare instances, our tech distribution partners are unable to complete distribution of the technologies they have received. In this case, we make every effort to recover the technologies and redirect them to another project. If technologies have not been distributed and can not be recovered, we remove them from the count of technologies distributed in our Impact Snapshot. This has occurred in less than 2% of projects implemented to date.
PEOPLE SERVED = The number of technologies distributed multiplied by the average number of people who benefit from access to that technology. For example, we calculate that household-level technologies such as solar lights, water filters and clean cookstoves benefit five people, based on average family size. Meanwhile large water filters distributed to schools and emergency centres benefit 20 people on average, and clean birth kits benefit two people - mother and newborn baby.
COUNTRIES REACHED = the number of countries in which Kopernik has distributed technologies, through both donor-funded projects and consultancies.
PROJECTS FUNDED = The number of individual technology distribution projects funded by donors and consulting clients. Kopernik is committed to transparency, knowledge-sharing, and illuminating the development process. Complete details of all crowdfunded projects, including budget breakdowns and project reports, are published on our website. Some ongoing initiatives and consulting projects are not listed on our website, as the activities go beyond technology distribution and do not easily fit into our standard project format.
How Kopernik's tech distribution projects work?
Kopernik sources technologies designed for the developing world. Remote communities can learn about available technologies in our online technology catalogue and can enquire about lodging a proposal for the most locally appropriate products by contacting us. After conducting successful due diligence on the partner organisation and the project proposal, Kopernik publishes the project on its website to raise funds through crowdfunding.
Individual donors fund the upfront cost of sending technologies to the project location by donating to the project of their choice. When the project is fully funded, Kopernik ships the technology to its tech distribution partners, who distribute it in local communities at a locally affordable price, paying in full or in installments.
Kopernik’s tech distribution partners repay a percentage of the money from their technology sales to Kopernik. It is then reinvested in more technologies for the last mile. The impact of the technology is assessed in cooperation with the tech distribution partners and shared with technology producers, so they can continue to make the best technology for the developing world.
What does Kopernik mean?
Kopernik, pronounced ko.per.nik is Nicolaus Copernicus’ Polish name. Our namesake changed the way people see the world. Like Copernicus, we want Kopernik to be a catalyst for change.
How does Kopernik know that the technology for our tech distribution projects is having a positive impact? How does Kopernik measure its impact?
Rigorous testing, feedback mechanisms and impact assessments are essential to Kopernik’s success, because the technology we distribute must be effective and have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Central to our philosophy: we view the poor communities we work with as our customers and we want them to be satisfied. This means regularly asking for their feedback and rating of the technology, which we then share - be it good, or bad - via our website.
Through our Kopernik Fellows program and partnerships with leading research institutions (including Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thunderbird School of Management, Keio University and IDE-JETRO), we have collected and analysed data across a significant number of our projects that demonstrates that technology is having a positive impact on people’s lives. Specific results include raising income, saving money on fuel for lighting and cooking, saving time (collecting water or firewood, for example), and improving health by reducing exposure to smoke from inefficient cookstoves and kerosene lighting.
Why technology? And can poor people really afford to pay for this technology?
Simple, innovative technology is life-changing for last mile communities. Clean, fuel-efficient cookstoves lead to a reduction of indoor air pollution and deforestation; solar lights replace the need for dirty and dangerous kerosene. Technology also creates a positive economic impact - for example, saving on fuel expenses or creating opportunities to earn more income.
We overcome supply chain issues by involving tech distribution partners, and address sustainability by encouraging tech distribution partners to devise locally appropriate pricing and payment mechanisms. This may take the form of:
- Selling the products at a locally appropriate price, with a locally appropriate payment scheme
- Product rental
- Developing a lease to buy system
In certain cases we do distribute technology for free, for example when responding to natural disasters, or supporting public clinics or schools.
Where does Kopernik’s funding come from?
Our funding sources are diverse and come from:
- Donations made by individuals directly to our projects
- Funds donated by funding partners such as corporations or foundations
- Revenue from our Last Mile Consulting service
- Revenue from technology sales to Kopernik supporters through our flagship Tech Kiosk in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Where do Kopernik’s funds go?
Our funding supports projects focused on simple solutions that reduce poverty. We are completely transparent about how we spend donor funds and publish an itemised budget for every project we crowdfund. We are proud to carry the highest Guidestar acknowledgement for transparency - the Guidestar Exchange Gold seal.
How do I partner with Kopernik?
It’s quite a journey to reach the last mile and we need partners to helps us get there:
- Become a funding or in-kind partner - We partner with corporations, organisations and people who share our passion for serving the last mile.
- Become a tech distribution partner - Tech distribution partners know what last mile communities need. We work together to make the right technology available to them.
- Become a technology producer - We source the best technology designed for the developing world, helping innovative technology producers reach more places.
- Become a network partner - Our network partners connect us with contacts, resources and new opportunities, in Indonesia and around the world.
- Become a research partner - We partner with world-class universities and research institutes to assess technology impact and explore new opportunities for reaching the last mile.
- Engage our consultants - Our experienced consulting team provides professional advisory services to corporations, aid agencies and foundations.