Uwazi Uwazi

Main Functions

Uwazi (‘openness’ in Swahili) is an open-source web-based database application designed for human rights defenders to manage collections of information. It was launched in 2017 to help human rights groups manage large amounts of information such as documents, evidence, cases, complaints, research, and materials. Currently, more than 150 human rights organizations across the globe are using Uwazi as a database tool – some for more than one collection. That brings the total to more than 300 public and private Uwazi databases, such as UPR Info’s Database, the Girls Rights Platform by Plan International and the African Human Rights Case Law Analyzer by the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa.

Uwazi’s main functions can be categorized as follows:

  • Collect and categorize: Capture and organise raw data, including text, documents, images and videos as well as create templates to categorise and retrieve items.
  • Store and analyse: Store large amounts of information with search and filter functions for subsets of information, using relationships to track complex cases. Uwazi may also facilitate the analysis of content by displaying it in tables, graphs and maps, with the possibility to decide what information to share with the public and what to reserve as confidential.
  • Collaborate and protect: Receive information through public submission forms and choose what is shared with each collaborator or team. For confidential/sensitive information, Uwazi allows protecting accounts with an extra security layer, ensuring information is safe by keeping an eye on all changes made.
  • Assess and showcase: Build a public version of a collection and export information into commonly used formats, ultimately telling stories with the data to show why it matters. Confidential/sensitive information may also be shared privately for advocacy, litigation and accountability purposes.

Human rights defenders can use Uwazi for a variety of needs, such as:

  • Preserving and archiving evidence of ongoing human rights violations
  • Managing cases for strategic human rights litigation
  • Tracking complaints made to human rights institutions and advocacy organisations
  • Compiling libraries of human rights laws, recommendations and court decisions
  • Monitoring a human rights situation for the purposes of reporting
  • Assessing progress around the implementation of human rights-related policies
  • Building collective memories that support transitional justice and reconciliation
  • Cataloguing a collection of campaign or advocacy materials.

More recently, Uwazi started to leverage machine learning services to make human rights information easier to collect and categorize and to make it more accessible.


Uwazi is developed by an in-house team of software engineers at HURIDOCS, a global NGO, and new features are added on a regular basis.


The following groups of people are already using Uwazi in a number of ways:

  • Human rights defenders
  • Journalists
  • Academics and researchers
  • Museum workers and art curators
  • Librarians and archivists
  • Educators
  • Lawyers
  • Open knowledge activists.

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