By Tyrone Moodley
Earlier this year, I read an article on Techzim talking about The HiiL Justice Accelerator. At first glance, I automatically dismissed it as something that was just too good to be true. I must admit that sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. I am a true skeptic at heart so this came easy to me; however, this time I did have a project that I had been working with.
The HiiL Justice Accelerator is focused on finding and supporting innovations that create rights awareness, provide resolution of disputes and legal problems or improve efficiency and transparency in the existing legal system.
Out of 600 partial applications this year, they received 430 complete and selected only about 100 for the Shortlist. We made it into the top 100 for the shortlisted applications. Later this month, we will speak with a representative from the organization and hopefully make it to the top 50 at which point we will have made it as semi finalists.
For the past 6 months, we have been working on a project for the Tanzanian government. It is a multi-tenant application that was also multi-lingual. Tanzania needed this because they speak Swahili in addition to English and Arabic.
The application is built for Police Force. The requirement needed the application to run in a centralized database and be distributed. Most importantly, it needed to run on Open Source technology. License fees is not something the Tanzanian government wants to waste their precious resources on.
Our software runs on the new .Net Core 2.0 and connects to a PostgreSql database. For our specific application, we decided to run it on a linux server on Amazon’s AWS. The beauty about our software, which we call PoliceForce.ca is that we can run it from any browser. No need to install software on expensive hardware.
What this means is that you can use a Google Chromebook which costs less than $200 USD to use the software. The only thing is that you do need internet access which shouldn’t be an issue in most African countries. There is usually 3G in most rural areas.
What does all this mean? This means that governments can get access to information much faster than manual based systems. Think about it. With the current manual based entry systems, it can take days if not weeks to get information to Police Headquarters. Once the information gets there, it would need to be compiled and presented to the decision makers at which point decisions can be made and resources directed towards a particular problem.
With our software, information is entered into the central database and it is shared across the entire country. Instead of waiting weeks to make decisions, information can be viewed daily. Reports can be compiled instantly and decisions can be made in a short space of time. Information now becomes power.
When we talk about a transparent government, this is what we are talking about. The general public can also submit reports online or through their mobile phones and get updates about their police report. The general public can see how their tax dollars are being spent.
We are looking for Police Departments to work with in Zimbabwe and we are also willing to install the software for free for the first 12 months as long as equipment (and internet) is provided.
Please contact us at email@example.com
About Guest Author Ty Moodley
Ty was born and raised in Harare Zimbabwe. He went to Prince Edward School where he received a Technology Award at some point before heading to the US for university. He came back in 2004 to found a successful technology company that is still operational in Zim before going back to North America
He has been building software for the past 15 years and has worked for large software engineering firms in Harare, Austin TX, Raleigh NC, Toronto ON, Waterloo ON.