Innovating Justice Forum 2015: Shaping New Justice Innovations

Innovating Justice Forum 2015: Shaping New Justice Innovations 21 December 2015

By Nathalie Dijkman, Justice Sector Advisor & Kristina Stonjekova, 

Over 200 guests attended the 6th annual Innovating Justice Forum to meet and interact with justice innovators from all over the world.

Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to hear justice innovator pitches, take part in a series of exciting workshops, attend highly informative panel sessions, and listen to inspirational justice leaders such as Tharcisse Karugarama, Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Rwanda, and H.E. Abdulla A.J. Al-Majid, Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice of the United Arab Emirates. The programme of the Forum was structured around the core themes of two Innovating Justice Challenges that we launched earlier this year: the SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge East & West Africa and the Justice Innovation Challenge.

This year, the Forum welcomed three finalists for each of the two Challenges. The SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge East & West Africa produced DIYLaw, a female-owned one-stop online portal that makes registration and legal processes in Nigeria more accessible, professional and transparent; mSMEGarage, a micro SME support center base in Uganda that provides free legal information, guidance, and support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises; and ShopOfficer from Kenya, a customer relationship management system for small and medium-sized businesses that have high volume, but low value transactions. The Innovating Justice Challenge produced CrowdDefend, an online crowdfunding platform pioneered toward helping individuals and organizations to raise funds for legal cases that matter in the United States; Five-O, a mobile application that allows citizens in the United States to rate, review, and track their interaction with law enforcement; and Integrity Idol from Nepal, which involves a campaign, competition, and national TV show and aims to acknowledge the hard work of honest and just civil servants.

The innovators themselves took the stage in the Peace Palace during the Innovator Pitches for both the SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge and the Innovating Justice Challenge. Each presentation was done in the so-called 'pecha kucha' format, demanding from the entrepreneurs a 4-minute cutting edge speech on why their business is impactful and needs investment. A five-headed jury of experts from all over the world assessed the speeches and justice innovations.

'Legal, Simplified' is the slogan that made DIYLaw from Nigeria the winner of the SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge for East & West Africa, and the receiver of a direct investment of $40,000 by the Ford Foundation. Gerald Abila and Michael Kwizera from SME Garage came in a close second and will receive $20,000. Timothy Mwirabua's ShopOfficer will receive $10,000. Asha Christian was announced the winner of the Innovating Justice Challenge. The police reporting app Five-0 receives €20,000 plus further support from HiiL. All innovations will receive further support from HiiL Innovating Justice and Next2Company to accelerate their impact.

This year’s Innovating Justice Forum once again proved to be an extraordinary opportunity for those interested in justice innovation to interact with a crowd of outstanding professionals from different parts of the world, and to share innovative ideas on diverse topics - from the building of Justice Cities to justice entrepreneurship.

The enthusiasm and drive of all the up-and-coming justice innovators who presented their justice innovations throughout the day, as well as the highly positive reactions of the present crowd, have only reassured us of the remarkable value and impact that the Forum has. We will impatiently look forward to its next edition.

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