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The Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) in collaboration with Barefoot Law and with support from the Democratic Governance Facility will this week hold the first ever legal aid innovations conference from September 7-8, 2017 at Hotel Africana. The conference is aimed at providing a platform to showcase innovations in legal aid service provision. The Hon. Chief Justice is expected to officially open the conference.

The innovations conference will also provide space to network and share good practices in legal aid service delivery especially low cost initiatives that increase efficiency in accessing justice. 

The Hill-Innovating Justice boostcamp will also be part of the conference on day 2 where the 2017 semi-finalists for the HiLL Challenge will be selected.

For more information visit / to register, visit the conference website: Follow the 2017 Legal Aid Innovations Conference on twitter via hashtag #LAICON2017


By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: September 4, 2017

Published in Latest News
Friday, 21 April 2017 14:36

Innovating Justice Challenge 2017


Innovators working on justice and legal issues worldwide can apply for up to 20,000 EUR in equity-free grant money as part of the HiiL Justice Accelerator’s Innovating Justice Challenge. The Call for Applications, which opened March 1 and remains open until June 30, encourages two types of application: first, startups with an idea and team may apply for funding in the Call for Innovations; second, individuals without a team or idea can apply for the Call for Talent.

The Call for Innovations has, over the last five years, awarded funding to over 60 innovative justice/legal technologies from all over the world. It is open to applicants with both a team and justice innovation idea.

The Call for Talent is a search for individuals with a particular skill that they wish to apply to the cause of justice innovation. Up to 10 individuals will be selected and supported through innovation training, some travel to local events, support for their ideas, and future support.

Applications are particularly encouraged that address six main points of justice: employment justice, family justice, neighbor disputes, land disputes, crime and law enforcement, and migration/human trafficking. Applications are also welcome from other areas. More information about HiiL can be found HERE and please submit your ideas HERE.


information Courtesy of HiiL / Published: April 21 2017


Want to see what impact justice entrepreneurship can have? Follow HiiL's 2016 winning innovators on

Published in About JLOS


Six (6) Ugandan innovation proposals have been shortlisted in the 2016 edition of HIIL innovating Justice awards for 2016. These are part of the 36 innovations selected by HiLL - 14 of which are from East Africa forming the biggest chuck of those who made it to this stage from the 05 participating regions (Southern Africa, Northern Africa, Middle East and Ukraine).

According to a statement released by Connor Sattely the Business Accelerator Agent at HiiL, the semi final list includes seven startups that were selected as winners of the 2016 Voting Campaign, as well as 29 innovations selected by HiiL in conjunction with local entrepreneurship experts in those innovations' regions. Together, the 36 innovations will now attend and pitch at a local Boostcamp in their region -- Kyiv, Lagos, Nairobi, Tunis, Johannesburg, and Kampala. Additionally, some of the 36 will crowdfund on starting on October 1.

The Kampala edition of the Innovating Justice Boostcamp will take place on September 23 2016 at Ranlab.

The HiiL Justice Accelerator team will select up to 10 innovations by October 20 who will move on to the final round and pitch in The Hague in December for an Innovating Justice Award. Up to 160,000 EUR will be split between the winners of the awards.


About HiiL

HiiL is a not-for-profit foundation based in The Hague, Netherlands with specific focus on introducing innovation to justice systems through cutting edge research about the needs of users. In Uganda, HiLL recently authored a report 'Justice Needs in Uganda' that takes a broad look at the day to day experiences and justice needs of ordinary Ugandans. 


By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: September 6 2016


CORRECTION: Six (6) start ups from Uganda have been shortlisted for the Innovating Justice Awards 2016 semi finals and not three (3) as stated in the earlier edition of this article.

Published in Latest News


Are you a justice entrepreneur with an innovative idea that can truly bring access to justice to SMEs and/or families? Then submit your innovation right away!

This year, HiiL has launched two competition-challenges around two thematic issues – SME Empowerment and Family Justice. The unique approach that we adopt is to understand from the bottom-up what legal and justice issues people face today. This is why we have gathered data from thousands of people, asking about their urgent justice needs. Why are they unable to solve their problems? Is it an issue of costly legal procedures, corrupt court systems, a complete unawareness of their own rights? These are the questions we find answers to and we act on these problem-areas through innovation. Our data reports fromUganda and Ukraine show that people generally have little trust in their formal justice systems and that their daily legal needs can easily be solved through innovative justice solutions like self-help platforms and legal applications.

Innovation provides the alternative to your standard procedures that may not always be providing the right solutions. This is why HiiL is looking for top justice innovations that will empower and strengthen both families and SMEs across Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine. In order to make the best solutions more impactful, we have up to €160,000 in acceleration funding available and the winners of the challenges will continue to receive intensive expert support from our team.


Want to apply or read further? Please go to





Flyer: Call for Justice Innovations

Published in Latest News


Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play a vital role in the development of the Ugandan economy. MSMEs collectively constitute about 90% of private sector production and employ over 2,5 million people. The results of a recent survey carried out with over 1800 MSMEs in Uganda highlighted that one fifth of MSMEs have not registered, and three quarters do not have a tax identification number (NATHAN, FSD & TNS, 2015 ‘National Small Business Survey of Uganda’). Around a quarter say they do not know how to register, or that it is too complicated to do so. But registration is required in order to trade, expand and receive licenses. Hence, there is a huge opportunity to sensitize and provide these businesses with legal guidance in making their business sustainable. 

The mSMEGarage is a spin off lead by Barefoot Lawyers that provides legal services – in various stages of their development – to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Uganda. Founded by Gerald Abila and Michael Kwizera, the mSMEGarage is aiming to reach over 1000 SMEs in its first 6 months. One thing that makes them innovative, is that they leverage on Africa’s growing social media penetration and use those channels to provide legal support.

Timothy Kakuru is the Garage’s project manager, heading the operations and providing virtual assistance to its registered members through Facebook, WhatAapp and via their website. The website content is constantly being updated with new legal information on business registration, contracting, patenting, licensing, taxation or legal procedures. Users have to register in order to download template legal documents or book an appointment for a face-to-face consultation with a lawyer. In addition, four field executives - business analysts – work full time to approach small business owners at various locations in Kampala to ask about their legal needs and interest in registering for the mSMEGarage. 

One of mSMEGarage’s clients is Tambula. Tambula is a boda-boda-tracking company that launched in 2014 to increase safety and security for Kampala’s thousands of motorcycles – many of which end up in accidents or are violently mugged at night. The founders developed a new software that can track the location of their member-boda’s via geo-tagging and automatically generates reports when accidents occur through a smartphone application. 

It turns out the MSMEGarage was indispensable in making their business grow to a success. As its founder Ivan explains: “The mSMEGarage walked with us all the way through incorporation and the development of designs that could stand patent protection worldwide. With this we have been able to get a Microsoft grant of 25,000 USD and have now reached thousands more bodaboda riders in the country." Apparently, newly developed companies are in particular need of affordable legal advice which seems to be simply missing in Uganda. "A team as intelligent and versatile as at the SME garage is quite difficult to find this side of Africa, that is rooted to the ground and particularly understands the hurdles of new businesses in Uganda.” 

The mSMEGarage won second place during the Innovating Justice Awards 2015, organized by HiiL, with an investment of 20.000USD and access to HiiL’s networks and expert advice. Almost halfway down its validation phase, the Garage managed to set up its online platform, adopt materials to facilitate 295 SMEGarage-registrations in its first weeks, conduct 2 legal seminars to a big audience and provide customized legal information to dozens of its clients. “All the advice, workshops and insights from the HiiL team have been incredibly valuable, and it opened new a new world of opportunities to us” said Michael, Lead Strategy and Product Development, following a week of intensive workshops with HiiL in their office.



 mSME Garage Flyer


Published: May 21, 2016

Published in Latest News

Charles Asaba – Uganda Police Force

Dan Munanura – Uganda Police Force

Peter Okubu – Directorate of Public Prosecutions

Dennis Odongkara - Directorate of Public Prosecutions

David Kikabi - Judiciary

Joseph Ssinabulya - Judiciary

Derrick Kawuki - Judiciary

Sandra Ssali – Uganda Prisons Service

Ayo Felix – Uganda Prisons Service

Justus Byamukama – Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

Sam Kapeace Kambere – Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

Francis Luswata – Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

Sam Wairagala – JLOS Secretariat

Edgar Kuhimbisa – JLOS Secretariat

Teddy Namugerwa – Ministry of Internal Affairs

Joseph Semugabi – Law Development Centre

Nassanga Miriam – Ministry of Internal Affairs

19. Wilberforce Wandera – Uganda Registration Services Bureau

Byamukama Herbert – Uganda Law Society

Mwanawakuno Thomas - Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL)

Sulaiman Omitta – Uganda Human Rights Commission

Winnie Logose – Uganda Human Rights Commission

Published in About JLOS
Saturday, 15 August 2015 11:35

Mobile birth registration in Uganda


UNICEF promotes birth registration as a human right and has had a pioneering role in advocating for, and successfully supporting birth registration programs in many parts of the world, leading to a level of commitment among governments and bringing about greater efficiency in systems that register births. 

In the recent past, UNICEF has also taken lead in innovating for children through harnessing available low cost technologies. One such clear opportunity for innovation has been the development and use of mobile and internet technologies to support UNICEF and partners to deliver results for children more efficiently and effectively. In Uganda for example, a solution known as Mobile Vital Records Systems (Mobile VRS) was developed with support from UNICEF, under a public private partnership with Uganda Telecom. Mobile VRS uses low cost technology to capture births and deaths registration data at community and hospital levels, and transmit it into a central government server in real time using mobile phones and a web-based application respectively. 

This system which is currently in use in all 135 government and missionary hospitals, and in half of the 112 district local governments, has in almost three years, increased national birth registration rates by an estimated 30 percent point increase from 30% in 2011 (UDHS 2011) to an estimated 60% at the end of 2014 (Mobile VRS/Administrative data). (See Annex 1)

UNICEF aims to support government of Uganda to scale up this solution to the remaining 54 districts and in over 200 Health Center IVs that were designated as birth and death registration districts in late 2014. Uganda has shared and continues to share this innovative best practice that could greatly improve delivery of, and access to birth registration services to all children including those in remote and hard to reach areas. 



While birth registration is compulsory for all people in Uganda according to the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1970, the reality is that recent estimates from Mobile VRS and administrative data indicate that about 2.8 million of the approximately 7 million children under the age of 5 years in Uganda are not registered.  Without a legal identity that comes with birth registration, a child may not be able to prove their age, nationality and parentage, and as a result, they will not have institutional protection and are more vulnerable to exploitation, violence, neglect, early marriages, child labour, sexual trafficking and slavery. They may also not be able to claim basic services, such as access to education and health, as well as social protection. 

Even though URSB is decentralizing the final birth registration services (issuance of long birth certificates) away from Kampala into its regional offices, to make them more accessible, they remain far from the communities, and the barriers of inaccessibility due to long distances, significant waiting times, registration fees and other associated hidden costs are only reduced slightly. In districts with manual and paper-based registration systems, it takes several months from the time a child is registered to the time they receive their birth certificates, particularly for children born out of hospitals.  

With an estimated 1.5 each year million births in Uganda that needs to be registered, the requests pile up due to their quantity and the tardiness of the data processing in all involved units. 

The birth registration process is also poorly understood, and many people do not know where and how to obtain a birth certificate. In a mobile phone survey conducted in 2012 by UNICEF Uganda, 60% of respondents did not know where to go to register a birth. 

Lastly, birth registration data is an essential prerequisite for the implementation of adequate legislation, policies, as well as planning and delivery of basic social services for children. It will also soon be linked to the National ID as per the Registration of Persons Bill which was approved by Cabinet and whose intentions are to harmonize and consolidate the law on registration of persons, to provide for registration of individuals and to establish a national identification register. Birth registration is thus a critical contributor to good governance.



As a response, UNICEF partnered with Uganda Telecom under a Public Private Partnership, and supported Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), the government institution responsible for Civil Registration, to develop a solution known as Mobile Vital Records System (Mobile VRS). This system uses local mobile and internet technology to capture births and deaths registration data at community and hospital levels respectively. Information on birth records is transmitted in real time using pre-registered mobile phones in the community, and a web-based application in hospitals and district local governments, into a central government civil registry server. This makes the birth registration process faster, more accessible and more reliable, and the system is currently used in all 135 government and missionary hospitals, and in 58 out of 112 district local governments. 

Other planned actions include supporting development of a national policy on birth and death registration, capacity development of registrars and notifiers in the remaining 54 districts and over 200 Health Center IVs that have not yet started using Mobile VRS, system strengthening in the 135 hospitals and 58 districts that are already using Mobile VRS to register birth, advocacy with parliamentarians for increased government funding, builder partnerships with FBOs, CSOs and the private sector for improved service delivery and creating demand for birth registration through awareness creation on the importance of birth registration.

As part of South to South learning, Uganda has also shared with over 20 countries how the mobile and internet technologies can be used to improve delivery of real time birth registration services to all children, including those in hard to reach areas. Uganda will continue to share knowledge and experiences in the region and beyond, providing increased opportunities for effective registration services using innovative methods to millions of children.



Through this initiative, which is currently functional in all 135 government and missionary hospitals and in only 58 of the 112 district local governments, the percentage of birth registration in Uganda, has increased from 30% in 2011 to an estimated 60% by the end of December 2014. This estimated 30% increase in three years is a big improvement considering that national birth registration rates for under 5s increased by only 9 percent points over a 5 year period from 21% in 2006 (UDHS 2006) to 30% in 2011 (UDHS 2011). 

Therefore scaling up the use of Mobile VRS in the remaining 54 local governments and introducing it to the approximately 200 Health center IVs which were gazetted as birth registration districts at the end of 2014, would provide a significant opportunity to increase the birth registration rates for all children including the under 5s, for a target of at least 90% registration has been set in the GOU-UNICEF Country Programme results of 2016 to 2020. 

The design of the Mobile VRS system emphasizes cost effectiveness and long term sustainability. By building a system that leverages very high ownership rates of the most basic mobile phone handsets by designated “Notifiers,” initial investments significantly decreased and concerns about the replacement of old, lost or stolen phones are significantly decreased. UNICEF also supported URSB to acquire a single USSD code number 280 for Mobile VRS, which enables notifiers across different telecommunication networks (MTN, Uganda Telecom and Airtel) to use the same code over their respective sim-cards thereby cutting out the need to purchase and distribute mobile phones to notifiers.

The initial costs of setting up this system (hardware and software development, training, and initial system monitoring) is where the bulk of the investment lies. Recurrent, or ongoing costs, should be quite modest compared to the results achieved. The recurrent per transaction costs of capturing, digitizing and transferring the birth registration records is estimated at about only US$0.5 for every birth or death entered into the system. 


The budget estimate is based on observed investment costs while supporting strengthening of the capacities of registrars in 58 districts and 135 hospitals that are already using Mobile VRS to register births. This budget will over technical support to government on birth registration, capacity development for staff and procurement and distribution of ICT equipment (Computer, printer, internet modem, data) to the remaining 54 districts and over 200 Health Center IVs to which Mobile VRS will be introduced, overall system strengthening, travel and administrative costs.

Funds from UNICEF core resources will be used to support policy development and legislative reforms, social mobilization for improved public awareness about the importance of birth registration, advocacy work with parliamentarians for increased government funding, as well as contribute to building and strengthening the capacity of URSB to plan, coordinate and give oversight to the entire national birth and death registration exercise.

Published in Projects


KAMPALA - On June 1, 2011 the Justice, Law and Order Sector received a team from Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) that was led by Mr. Michael Th. Johnson who serves as the Director of the Information Management Project for all Justice Sector Institutions and is responsible for building an integrated information management system within the Courts, Police, Public Defenders, Prisons and Prosecutor General’s Office.

Also part of the team was Mr. Onyen Yong and Mr. Amit K. Banerji. Mr. Yong is a seasoned prosecutor based in Boston, the United States and is also part of the Integrated Information management System project in Timor-Leste as a development manager. Mr. Banerji is the President of XFact Inc. a Massachusetts-based systems integration company and a key architect and developer of the East Timor justice sector integrated information system.

Published in Archived News

The Justice, Law and Order Sector is on course to implement the much awaited Integrated Management Information System (IJMIS) . This was revealed during an inception workshop held at Imperial Royale Hotel on Friday April 29 2011 where the IJMIS Taskforce members drawn from all JLOS institutions met to discuss the draft inception report developed by the consultant - M/S Realtech Systems Limited - a Uganda based Information and Communications Technology firm. The Head, Policy and Planning Unit in the Judiciary and the Workshop chairperson Mr. James Eceret said that the IJMIS would present JLOS with dynamic information management functionalities and also create a unified data collection platform.

Peharps the most important reason for introduction of information technology in JLOS lies in the fact that computerization will go a long way in ensuring that the quality of information required by justice administrators is of high quality and is easily accessible. With an integrated data management system, JLOS institutions will be able to:

• Process cases faster
• Process records faster
• Secure data
• Share data
• Track suspects faster
• Generate cause lists with ease
• Rationalize the allocation of staff vis a vis the workload
• Strengthen judicial independence through automated allocation of cases
• Strengthen performance management
• Strengthen monitoring and evaluation

The IJMIS design and developement phases are to be preceded by a comprehensive systems study covering all JLOS institutions. A key output of the systems study will be baseline data on existing processes, workflows, people skills and current technology infrastructure.

Contact the JLOS Secretariat for details regarding the IJMIS Project on 0414-253207. Send all email inquiries on this subject to ekuhimbisa[at]

Published in Archived News


Whereas Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) reforms have been responsible for deepening access to justice and human rights, Uganda still faces a challenge of assuring access to justice for all and dealing with crime. The causes are many but key among them is the limited use of information technology and absence of an integrated data management system to manage cases and inform management of critical issues in dealing with delays in the administration of criminal justice. The right to expeditious determination of disputes cannot therefore be over emphasized!

The justice sector in Uganda requires rapid access to information in order to function effectively. Institutions involved in the administration of Justice need real time information to operate efficiently and effectively in dispensation of justice, if they are to dispense their mandates and in the context of Uganda, empower the poor, who make about 70% of the population through equal protection of the law.

The absence of a computerized and integrated management system has made it difficult to track cases, suspects, allocate resources, equitably distribute and evaluate staff in addition to dealing with recidivism. Because of the pressing need to fight crime better, JLOS has prioritized establishment of an integrated data management system to improve service delivery through informed crime prevention and management strategies.

The most important reason for introduction of information technology in JLOS lies in the fact that computerization will go a long way in ensuring that the quality of information required by justice administrators is of high quality and is easily accessible. One of the biggest challenges that exist in the current widely used manual record keeping system(s) is the difficulty with which information is accessed and then retrieved. High quality and timely information will ultimately lead to improved decision making, informed policy analysis and formulation as well as increased system efficiency. With the increasing need for criminal justice administrators to collaborate and share information, JLOS finds itself with a task of creating platforms to make this possible.

This strong necessity for collaboration and increased sharing of information makes irrelevant the idea of standalone and decentralized information repositories. In pursuance of the goals of crime prevention and criminal justice, an integrated robust information system inter-linking various stakeholders in the criminal justice system such as the Police, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, The Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Prisons Services and the Courts of the Judicature is the perfect information system model that will facilitate real time data sharing and transfer of case details between stakeholders, quick retrieval of records and files that are electronically captured, efficient generation of crime statistics across the board, improved sector wide monitoring and evaluation of criminal justice services and programs.

An integrated information system for the Justice, Law and Order Sector will also greatly reduce the huge costs associated with each individual institution procuring, implementing and developing its own system. Procuring a centralized application with each institution running and administering its own module customized to its inherent unique needs has a huge return on investment with so much being done by relatively so little.

With an integrated data management system, JLOS institutions would:

• Process cases faster
• Process records faster
• Secure data
• Share data on criminals
• Track suspects faster
• Generate cause lists with ease
• Rationalize the allocation of staff vis a vis the workload
• Strengthen judicial independence through automated allocation of cases
• Strengthen performance management
• Strengthen monitoring and evaluation in JLOS.

An integrated Management Information System represents the very core ideals of the Justice, Law and Order Sector since it works toward fostering a “sector-wide” approach to the administration and access to justice in Uganda. JLOS believes in strong and meaningful partnerships between member institutions in its mission of improving the safety of the person, security of property and access to justice in order to encourage economic development and to benefit the poor and vulnerable people. We believe that an integrated approach to information management powered by technology will not only modernize and improve information flows in criminal justice administration but will further consolidate the strong bond that exists between JLOS institutions enabling us to achieve our strategic goals and objectives.

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