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Kenyans win prestigious technology award

Two Kenyans have emerged victorious in a competition for developing innovative applications and justice technology which is aimed at empowering people to resolve disputes.

Famalia, a Short Message Service Platform that aims at empowering people to conveniently get information on succession cases emerged victorious in the family Justice category.

While Sauti, a mobile-based trade information as well as social accountability platform for SMEs engaged in cross-border trade in the East African Community, won in the SME Empowerment Challenge.

In an awards ceremony held early this month for the competition for those providing innovative ways through which members of the public can access justice especially in Africa and the Middle East, Famalia became this years’ overall winners.

Coincidentally it was the first time the awards were being held in Kenya since its inception in dealing with transition disputes as well as problems within the family.

“We are greatly honoured and humbled. Together, we shall increase access to justice,” Mr Matthew Egesa, Famalia’s Co-founder said.

The competition was organised by a non-governmental group based in The Hague, Netherlands known as HiiL Justice Accelerator, which was founded four years ago.

The lobby aims at improving access to justice for 40 million people worldwide by 2020 hence scouts for innovative ways that provide practical solutions in the delivery of justice to the common person.

Since 2012, HiiL has organized competitions to search for individuals who come up with innovative ways that help in the easy access of delivery of justice, Kenya included.

The two Kenyan innovators now add to the list of two others — lawyer Allan Maleche and Mr Gregory Omondi — who emerged victorious in 2015 and 2013 respectively.

This year’s award has put on the spot light the fact that it has become almost a norm to hear tales of families being torn apart because of legal disputes over property and inheritance.

Familia is coined from two words — Family and Mali — mali being a Swahili word for Property.

It mainly handles succession cases which involve transfer of inherited property among family members.

The initiative allows the public to query and find out the status of any succession cases via SMS as well as get detailed procedures followed in such cases.

Famalia has already partnered with the judiciary, through the Kadhis courts.

According to the State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Report, about 25,000 new land cases are registered annually and many remain pending in court.

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