“My dad was hit on the head with a blunt object. He was in a comma for months and later passed on in December, 2006. He had not written a Will,”
So begins the story of an enterprising youth looking to walk away with over Sh13 million from an ongoing innovation contest, should his new platform go through.
“Thereafter, my mum made countless trips to the High Court in Busia, in a bid to become the administrator of dad’s property.
Years later when I worked for the Kenyan Judiciary, I realized that court brokers had taken advantage of my mum’s ignorance of the succession process and swindled her big time,” notes a disappointed Mr Mathew Egessa, co-founder Famalia.
An SMS platform that seeks to disseminate legal information on the processes involved in the transfer of inherited property in Kenya, the up coming innovation in the justice space is among 68 different others currently shortlisted in the HiiL Innovating Justice Competition slated for December this year in the Hague, the Netherlands.
And according to the site running the contest, finalists will pitch their justice solution to a wide international audience of potential partners and investors.
“[In the process], finalists can win up to €100,000 seed-funding per challenge and professional acceleration support in developing their business plan,” reads part of the information page on innovatingjustice.com.
Besides, organised around the broad areas of human rights, employment rights and, SME empowerment, the challenge in its 4th year since inception in 2012, has so far shortlisted 375 innovations in more than 75 countries, as well as awarded 25 innovations with over €350 000 in seed investments.
“But the major hurdle for now is that in order for us to proceed to the semi-finals, we need more than enough votes by midnight of August 15 this year,” observes Mr Egessa.
Incidentally, touching on how it works, the budding software developer and trainer attached at C4DLab says that Famalia seeks to enable parties in succession disputes (mostly the dependants of the deceased) to track their cases “the same way they track their phones’ airtime and receive SMS alerts”.
“The information will be accessible via a basic mobile phone and a variety of 2G (SMS, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Technology and USSD) channels,” he explains.
Moreover, at a small cost, parties to an inheritance case will also be able to send a query and receive a mini statement, curated as an SMS, of the last position of a specific case, provided they know the case number.
Yet to actualise the whole process, Mr Egessa revealed that the team of three co-founders intends to partner with the Judiciary to manage the information on the cases.
“In the final analysis, since the process of transferring inherited property from a deceased person in Kenya is ever frustrating and resource-draining, we expect Famalia to provide a new way of delivering service, especially by improving productivity and efficiency of the parties involved, when all their frustrations and wasted man-hours are significantly reduced,” he says.