Cynthia Anyango, Muaad Abdirahman , Catherine Muya and John Njiri were tired of the rising cases of insecurity in Kenya and instead of blaming the government, and the security forces, they decided to do something about it.
Together with their mentor Boaz Yaya, the team of four decided to build Ujirani, an application set to launch in December to help bring together communities and help solve some of the cases of insecurity.
“While some of the cases can simply be solved basic community policing,”Anyango told TechMoran. “Just reporting suspicious incidences to relevant authorities before they breed up. Another thing is lack of a relevant platform that can enable neighbors to know each other , communicate effectively and freely.”
The app brings together neighbors from ten different households into one platform (Ujirani app) allowing them to communicate on various issues in their hood.
“Neighbors from ten different households get to choose an admin or Chairman (someone who will be common to all of them) the admin will then download the app. create a group , add neighbors and he or she gets to choose various service providers who will be available to them during emergencies I.e Security , Medical and Fire,” says Anyango.
The neighbors get an SMS notification that they have been added to the group and also get a link to download the app. After downloading the app, they are automatically added to the group and they can join others to post or read notifications or attend group events on the calender.
The app also has a panic button for users to press in case of any emergency such as a security issue like theft, fire, accident or terrorism or medical emergencies. The alert is sent to a health or security service provider ‘s control room depending on the type. Apart from service providers, all neighbors get the alerts and can join in the effort to help save their counterparts or offer help or clue to the police or health workers.
Anyango says the Android app, although similar hardware technologies in the country, which are fixed in one place and are expensive to deploy, Ujirani aims to bring the already available hardware technology to our mobile phones and bridge the gap between users and emergency service providers whenever they need help.
Anyango and her team aims to use their technology to solve insecurity and as well involve citizens in policing within their neighborhoods by reporting crimes and insecurity issues directly to the police via their mobile phones.
Ujirani’s major competition is Ramp.co.ke, an arm of Nigeria’s Ramp (Residents Association Management Portal) which aims to simplify and better organize the management of Residents and Neigbourhood Associations in Kenya and Nigeria. The web solution also works by allowing users to sign up as members of an estate or resident association to allow for transparency and accountability. Ramp however, has no ground teams in Kenya and has not had any significant signups to date.