Skip to Content
MIT News magazine

Eric Mibuari '06

IT analyst founds technology center in Kenya.

Eric Mibuari ‘06 was not discouraged by the few electrical outlets in the church room donated for the new Laare Community Technology Centre. He’d grown up in Laare, a hilly Kenyan area 200 miles north of Nairobi, so he knew that electricity was spotty. He also knew he would find no shortage of creative energy among community members and church elders. In fact, he soon had a local electrician adding outlets. And he knew he could count on the support of MIT faculty, administrators, and students. He had started the center in 2005 with an MIT Public Service Center fellowship and 12 used computers donated by MIT libraries.

Eric Mibuari ’06, during travels to Italy, described MIT’s Imara outreach program to University of Rome faculty and students.

An IT analyst at Citigroup in Boston, he knows the life-changing importance of education firsthand. “Seeing how much a good education has given me has inspired me to help others gain this advantage,” says Mibuari, whose parents struggled to send him and his five siblings to school in Kenya. “We have a lot of very talented kids who can benefit from exposure to even a fraction of the resources that are available in the United States.” With basic computer skills, “they can get jobs in the cities or run computer access points in their hometowns.”

Mibuari decided to start the technology center after working with MIT’s Africa Internet Technology Initiative (AITI) and Development Lab (D-Lab). Through AITI, he taught Java programming and entrepreneurship to undergraduates in Ethiopia. Through D-Lab, he helped establish a community-based radio station in Punjab, India. “My MIT education taught me how to bring diverse resources together to make things happen,” he says.

The center, which offers a course in Microsoft Office software and Internet browsing for just $26, has quickly garnered local interest. Recently, Laare community leaders donated four acres of land for an expanded facility. To raise $100,000 for construction, Mibuari is working with Imara, an outreach program at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. (Learn more online: laare.csail.mit.edu/giving.) “I hope to see construction start by the end of 2007,” he says.

While he gains experience with Citigroup, Mibuari, who plays table tennis and Scrabble in his spare time, feels the tug of his homeland. He plans to return eventually after earning an MBA. “I can see myself working on a combination of technology, business leadership, and international collaboration,” he says. “I want to continue to address economic disparities using technology, beginning at the local level.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

pig kidney transplant surgery
pig kidney transplant surgery

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.