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Business Model

Archived Page

This is a page from the Kamusi archives. The information below may be out of date, and the links may no longer be valid. Please visit for current information. If you know of links or information on this page that can be updated, please let us know.

The Kamusi Project creates dictionaries, terminology glossaries, and learning tools for African languages based on two principles:

  1. All of our resources are produced or reviewed by experts.
  2. All of our resources are made available to the public for free.

Producing our data is expensive, because our partners need to be compensated for their time. Distributing our data is also expensive, especially the cost of keeping our programming up-to-date with emerging technologies and new developments. Computer equipment and software, servers to handle millions of queries a month, training of partners in the use of our system, communications – all of these things are essential for the project to maintain and expand its resources. And yet, we give away everything we produce, to anyone, for free.

We have implemented a number of methods of generating income:

Together, these efforts generate enough to keep the servers running, but no more. Because the project does not earn revenue from what it produces, the business model depends on support for the production work itself. We have a clear sense of the costs involved in creating entries for a dictionary or a technical glossary. Most of these are one-time expenses. For example, creating 10,000 dictionary entries for the most common words in a particular language costs approximately $40,000:

Set up costs for data model, training in software, and travel expenses     $10,000
$2/term for the lexical work on a single entry     $20,000
$1/term for integrating an entry within PALDO     $10,000
Total     $40,000

(Sample project timeline above)

Once we have the data in the system – that is, a permanent resource for a language, available to the public for free – ongoing expenses for disseminating and updating that data are low. The challenge, from a business perspective, is finding parties interested in funding the various components that constitute the Kamusi Project vision.

A combination of four types of support can sustain the project:

  1. Revenue from the general public, as indicated above, should provide the baseline funding to keep the lights on. As the project's resources expand, so will the user base – as will, we hope, the ability of the project to attract members and other ongoing forms of community support.
  2. Grants from agencies that fund academic and development activities are highly appropriate for much of the work of the Kamusi Project. We partner with leading scholars and specialists throughout and beyond Africa to produce high-quality lexicons suitable for academic peer review. The drawback of this funding mechanism is that research grants for African languages are scarce, so years can pass between the start of planning and the availability of funding.
  3. Organizations and companies with specific interests can support the development of technical glossaries for their particular domains, within the KamusiTERMS initiative. For example, a health organization focused on ophthalmological treatment could finance an eye-care glossary that would improve communications between patients and medical staff while an airline with destinations around Africa could sponsor an aviation glossary that would ensure that local maintenance crews with different linguistic backgrounds all follow the same installation procedure for the same part. Although few organizations have the capacity to produce their own glossaries, taking advantage of the Kamusi Project's systems and networks to navigate Africa's complicated linguistic environment is a low-cost way to build a resource that will be of immediate and continuing use in many specialized fields.
  4. Foundations and other charitable entities can fund particular components, such as a dictionary for the language of a certain region, or provide general support that the Kamusi Project can allocate to emerging needs.

By seeking funding partners who can recognize the value of what we create, and invest in its realization, the Kamusi Project can cover the costs of the necessary work as we move steadily toward the goal of providing the public with every word in Africa, for free.


Kamusi GOLD

These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.


•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams

Software and Systems

We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:

Articles and Information

Kamusi has many elements. With these articles, you can read the details that interest you:

Videos and Slideshows

Some of what you need to know about Kamusi can best be understood visually. Our 📽 videos are not professional, but we hope you find them useful:


Our partners - past, present, and future - include:

Hack Kamusi

Here are some of the work elements on our task list that you can help do or fund:

Theory of Kamusi

Select a link below to learn about the principles that guide the project's unique approach to lexicography and public service.

Contact Us

We welcome your comments and questions, and will try to respond quickly. To get in touch, please visit our contact page. You must use a real email address if you want to get a real reply!

© Copyright ©

The Kamusi Project dictionaries and the Kamusi Project databases are intellectual property protected by international copyright law, ©2007 through ©2018, under the joint ownership of Kamusi Project International and Kamusi Project USA. Further explanation may be found on our © Copyright page.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Discussion items about language, technology, and society, from the Kamusi editor and others. This box is growing. To help develop or fund the project, please contact us!

Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.


Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.

We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.

Try it : Ask a "FAQ"!

Press Coverage

Kamusi in the news: Reports by journalists and bloggers about our work in newspapers, television, radio, and online.

Sponsor Search:
Who Do You Know?

To keep Kamusi growing as a "free" knowledge resource for the world's languages, we need major contributions from philanthropists and organizations. Do you have any connections with a generous person, corporation, foundation, or family office that might wish to make a long term impact on educational outcomes and economic opportunity for speakers of excluded languages around the world? If you can help us reach out to a potential 💛😇 GOLD Angel, please contact us!