African Institute for Investigative Journalism (AIIJ) bags Shs 18 million grant


by AMON KATUNGULU
The African Institute for Investigative Journalism (AIIJ) has been announced winners of the Digital Human Rights Lab innovation challenge 2021, a program that seeks to integrate digital innovations to advance Human Rights in Uganda.
AIIJ which was part of the 10 teams selected from over 100 applicants went through an intensive 4 weeks training program on developing and shaping digital innovations to promote human rights.
The training program which was conducted by some of Uganda’s top tech giants included designing prototypes that will later on be developed and actualized to defend human rights in different spheres.
The programme climaxed with an offline pitch event where 4 teams emerged winners of the Shs 60 million grant funding and six months’ mentorship program to develop and to sustainably implement their digital solutions. For winning this, AIIJ will receive Shs 18 million grant.
Whilst presenting the award to AIIJ, Edmond Atto a software engineer and a member of the jury commended the institute for their timely innovation.
“First of all, their presentation was powerful, I learnt today the power of a story and the passion that drives the need to tell stories accurately, the justice that can come from telling a well-curated story. We all know now better than ever how important it is for us to have a platform to tell curated and censored human rights stories,” Atto said.
The executive director of AIIJ Solomon Serwanjja who led the team said the “iRoom” which is their new innovation will go a long way in documenting human rights abuses committed against Ugandans.
“We believe that when social evil happens in our societies and we stay silent, we betray our communities. This is why we are coming up with this innovation to investigate and document human rights violations committed by different agencies to name and shame them but most importantly to bring them to account. We are truly grateful for the support that we have received from the mentors and trainers,” Serwanjja said.
Raymond Mujuni, the deputy executive Director at AIIJ added: “This online platform that we have come up with will enable human rights defenders to be able to tell stories of human rights violations using crowdsourcing curation, editing, and publications. It will create a safe space for the public to contribute to a body of work that can be used as evidence to bring to book the abusers.”
Sophie Dienberg, one of the trainers at start Hub Africa said “all participants came out as winners because they all share the same goal of making human rights work in Uganda better, easier, and more efficient with the help of digital technology.”
Other winners of the evening included the Kuchu Care Team, Girl Power Connect Team and the Safe Bangle Team.