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Martin Benjamin is the founder and editor of the Kamusi Project Internet Living Swahili Dictionary. He is an anthropologist with many years of field research experience in Tanzania. His research interests include the anthropology of development, economy, ecology, agriculture, gender, charity, and power, and he conducts ongoing research on health and nutrition among women in Tanzania. He taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University for six years, teaching Anthropology and Swahili. He is the author of Development Consumers: An Ethnography of 'The Poorest of the Poor' and International Aid in Rural Tanzania, a 2000 dissertation, and is co-author of the Lonely Planet Swahili Phrasebook (2nd edition) and sole author of the Lonely Planet Swahili Phrasebook (3rd Edition). He was the main translator for the Google Swahili localization that serves as the backbone for Google Kenya.

Benjamin first conceived of using the Internet to produce new Swahili dictionaries in 1993. He developed the idea with Ann Biersteker in 1994, launched the Kamusi Project at the beginning of 1995, and, in addition to his other jobs, has been working at Yale as the Kamusi Project Editor ever since. His responsibilities with the project include leading the development of the online Swahili curriculum, editing all submissions to the Edit Engine, Photo Uploader, and Grouping Tool, managing the Swahili Discussion Forum, and working closely with project programmers to develop and improve the project resources.

Benjamin has worked with several workshop participants on a variety of projects. He and Alberto Escudero-Pascual developed TuKsi Koti la Rangi (Tux Paint in Swahili) as their 2004 holiday gift to Kamusi Project visitors - the first Swahili software for children! He has worked with Paa Kwesi Imbeah on the development of African language learning and dictionary software. He manages the African Languages Wikipedia Discussion Group (AfrophoneWikis) with Donald Osborn.

Benjamin is currently living in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Personal data base of people and organisations who might play a role in the building of the Pan African Localisation Program

Follow this structure: name organisation email how do they fit in (re clusters)

  • Name: H-Africa; Organization: H-NET? List for African History and Culture; email: H-AFRICA@H-NET.MSU.EDU; role: H-Africa is a vibrant academic discussion list
  • name... Global Voices, a way to connect with the international blogosphere for outreach that can bring in volunteers to work on various aspects of localization
  • name... ALTA (African Language Teachers Association, has a mailing list at . Can provide volunteers for particular localization efforts, as well as a group to talk with about producing educational software in and for African languages.
  • name...H-AfricaTeach; H-NET? List for African Studies Outreach and Teaching about Africa. email: H-AFRTEACH@H-NET.MSU.EDU
  • name... IRST Rwanda - currently working with the Kamusi Project on a proposal for a Kinyarwanda/ Kiswahili/ English dictionary
  • name... Ethan Zuckerman, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, email:
Page last modified on 2015-11-02 20:05