One often wonders why legal documents are so hard to read and understand, the cynical view is that lawyers do it purposefully so that you have to rely on them to interpret and negotiate the documents. You aren’t a lawyer but you are bound by the contracts that you sign so you should at least understand what’s going on right?
Malawi’s legal startup, Ufulu Wanga (My Freedom), wants to solve that problem. The company seeks to provide easily digestible legal information. The goal is to distribute information about human rights, domestic violence, child custody, separation and divorce procedures in a way that the layman can understand.
The service includes both a web-based portal and an SMS service where people can text questions to a legal expert and get an easy to understand response. It also allows a basic citizen to send in anonymized reports on human rights violations.
Another inspiration behind this startup is the fact that Malawi is known for having a high rate when it comes to domestic violence. One of the biggest issues facing the country is gender based violence, hence the company seeks to provide women with a secured platform for reporting violations and it ensures that every woman in the country understands their rights.
According to reports, Malawi passed a domestic violence law in 2006, in an attempt to curb rampant incidents of violence against women and children- imposing a maximum 14 year sentence on offenders. Yet, even today, domestic violence continues to dominate caseloads of the Malawi Police Service’s Victim Support Unit.
The reports further state that the majority of these cases are withdrawn. Shockingly, most of them are opened by wives against their husbands.
Despite these statistics, there are also people who are working tirelessly to change this, who are fighting hard for women’s rights in Malawi.
Ufulu Wanga is currently incubated under mHub in Malawi, and plans to officially launch on 16 December. The team is also considering building a mobile application to make the platform easily accessible.