Uwazi was first launched in 2017 as a tool to improve access to
regional jurisprudence. In consultations with human rights
defenders, we had learned that it was difficult for them to not
only locate a relevant court ruling, but to also see how it fit
into the bigger picture: case documents needed to be connected
to the judgment document, which needed to be connected to the
deciding judge’s case history, and so on. We thus designed Uwazi
as a web-based application for capturing and organising a
collection of documents beyond simply its metadata (such as
title, author, date published, etc.). Within the substance of a
document lies important information and Uwazi enables you to
highlight, tag, organise, and relate items to other documents.
But it soon became clear that Uwazi had potential to be much
more than just a document management tool. Human rights
defenders don’t just work with collections of PDFs and text
documents—they also gather troves of information, observations,
geolocation points, multimedia files and other data that can be
hard to parse in bulk.
We have since expanded Uwazi, creating a database application
that is helpful for a wide selection of changemakers, from
activists, advocates, lawyers and policymakers who conduct human
rights work, to academics, archivists, media organisations and
others who work to make a positive difference in the world.
Initial Uwazi development received significant financial support
from the MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Justice and
(CEJIL). Uwazi continues to be updated and refined on a regular basis
by the team at HURIDOCS, which is funded through a combination
of grants, payments for services and individual donations.