About KoBo

- the Nonprofit Behind KoBoToolbox


KoBoToolbox was founded in 2005 by Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck. In 2013, with funding from USAID, UNOCHA and IRC partnered with KoBoToolbox to take the existing tool and transform it into a comprehensive platform for humanitarian data collection. The resulting platform was launched in 2014 as a free tool with unlimited data collection and storage for humanitarian actors (https://kobo.humanitarianresponse.info). UNOCHA has worked closely in partnership with HHI to promote the platform to humanitarian users, offering it as a potential solution to harmonized needs assessments and promoting an evidence-based approach to humanitarian programming. As a result, KoBoToolbox has experienced a rapid growth and adoption among the humanitarian community, making it the most widely used tool for primary data collection by humanitarian actors today.

Over the last years, KoBoToolbox has been developed and maintained by an international team of engineers, researchers, and other staff affiliated with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital due to the affiliations of its co-founders at Harvard. Funding for KoBoToolbox since 2013 has been received from a combination of UN organizations, international humanitarian NGOs, and private foundations. These funds have enabled the KoBoToolbox team to continuously develop features based on user feedback, provide free user support, establish a training platform, and to maintain the free KoBoToolbox servers for humanitarian, research, human rights, and related organizations.

Since its creation in 2019, KoBo, Inc. has set up a board, recruited operational and financial leadership, set up all internal due diligence processes required for proper functioning. Over the last two years it received $1.05 million in funding to support ongoing operations and build specific new features, including from Hilton Foundation, Cisco Foundation, UNHCR, OCHA, Humanitarian Grand Challenges. For 2021, this will allow KoBoToolbox to maintain current operations while also expanding the team to include additional staff to improve communications and pursue more public grant opportunities.

Mission and Values


The mission of KoBo, Inc. is to host and maintain KoBoToolbox, a data collection, management, and visualization platform used globally for humanitarian actions and to support open source data systems and technology for global development, peace, human rights and humanitarian action.


Humanitarian action and initiatives promoting peace, human rights and sustainable development will be informed by high quality, up-to-date data generated by and with concerned communities using simple, reliable and secure technologies.


  • Accessibility: we maintain and support free and open-source tools that are simple and accessible to all organizations promoting social good. We believe providing quality tools and services to local, often under-resourced actors and volunteer networks is key to achieving our vision.
  • Compatibility: we strive to maintain and contribute to open-source projects and adopt open standards to ensure compatibility with other tools and enhance flexibility to customize our platforms while minimizing fragmentation of tools and building transferable skills and mutual support.
  • Ground-truth: we develop tools that are designed by and for practitioners. Our team has deep experience in humanitarian and peacebuilding operations. Our structure is governed by humanitarians and for the benefit of the wider humanitarian community.
  • Respect and inclusiveness: KoBo, Inc. is dedicated to protect the human rights, autonomy and dignity of all persons, inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.

Strategic Approach

KoBo Inc. will build on its unique expertise and achieve its mission by:

  • Maintaining the free and open source platform KoBoToolbox
  • Building or customizing technology and data application
  • Convening and supporting users and communities through resources, training and standards
  • Providing innovative learning opportunities for field researchers


Drop us a line if you want to collaborate or have other suggestions.

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