On the 22nd August 2019, we launched Winnie, our BarefootLaw General AI, at the Imperial College Business School as a culmination of the Data Science for Social Good (DSSG): DataFest 2019 Summer Fellowship. The system is a culmination of six-years’ work from BarefootLaw .

The journey towards the development of Winnie began from the start of BarefootLaw – using disruptive technology to promote access to justice. “It took thousands of air-miles to create the perfect partnerships to piece this together,” Gerald Abila, BarefootLaw founder and Executive Director says.

Why Winnie?

The name came from one of our early beneficiaries, Winnie Kobusingye, a woman who, with the guidance of BarefootLaw, stood up for herself and used her legal rights to overcome a multitude of hardships. Her resilience left a mark big enough on the core of BarefootLaw, to baptize the AI Lawyer.

Over the past years of providing legal help to the public, we have learnt a lot about the systemic injustices that everyday people face from, land and rights violations to inheritance and others. We see over 100 inquiries to us, many of which are issues which if the public quickly had information, they would prevent or even redress. Winnie now allows us to do this rapidly.

What will Winnie be able to achieve?

Winnie will improve the efficiency of the average BarefootLaw lawyer to respond to beneficiaries’ faster. “It takes one lawyer up to 72 hours on average to respond to all the queries received. Winnie will reduce that time down three times, to 24 hours,” Napoor Ghandi, one of the data fellows said during her presentation if Winnie. 

Our innovation around technology continues to present an opportunity to extend access to justice to every corner of Uganda and Africa, and help people access services with dignity- despite their socio-economic situation.