Tobias EigenMember for: 3 years 9 months
Founder of Kabissa. Love Africa. Live on Bainbridge Island.
An early computer communications pioneer, Tobias set up his first Fidonet BBS at the age of 14 on an IBM Portable Personal Computer. After graduating from the International School of Kenya in 1990, he studied linguistics and African Studies at Georgetown University. There, inspired by his own experience with Fidonet, his love of Africa and the idealism he inherited from his parents, Tobias discovered and joined the ICT4D movement in 1992.
Tobias founded Kabissa Communications to support international organizations and NGOs including Transparency International, Africare and Volunteers in Technical Assistance. He ran a private e-mail network for the USAID Famine Early Warning System, connecting field offices in a dozen countries across the African Sahel region with each other and their Virginia-based headquarters. In 1995, he went to Benin to help the West African Newsmedia and Development (WANAD) Centre to set up a BBS before moving to Europe, where he continued his ICT4D work with organizations such as oneworld.net, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and UNESCO-UNEVOC. In 1997 he acquired his MA in Culture, Race and Difference at the University of Sussex.
In 1999, Tobias was hired by the Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT) to coordinate and monitor an Internet capacity-building project for ten Nigerian human rights groups based in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja and Kaduna. His experience there directly inspired him to found Kabissa to help them - and other civil society organizations like them throughout Africa - put ICT to work for the benefit of their communities.
Originally focused on providing website hosting to African nonprofits, Kabissa went on to create Pambazuka News, together with Fahamu and SANGONet. From 2002-2007 Tobias co-ran Kabissa with Kimberly Lowery out of Washington DC and created the Time To Get Online training program. Now Kabissa is a network connecting people and organizations for Africa where organizations working in Africa can showcase themselves and join groups to connect and share with one another.