Yunga; A youth startup keeping Kampala communities secure

In January 2019, robbers attacked the home of Gerald Tumwine, the LCI Vice Chairperson, for Kigoowa village in Ntinda, one of the leafy suburbs of Kampala, the Ugandan capital.

The thugs went away with home appliances including two TV sets, a fridge and radio among others.

“Whereas I tried to make an alarm for my neighbours and other people to come to our rescue, no one could hear since they were all deep asleep,” Tuwmine says of the robbery that happened at around 1.00 am in the night.

This was part of the many break-ins that the area suffered as locals pondered their next course of action against the rampant criminality.

In the resultant village security meeting, locals tried to devise means of securing their area and among the interventions was choosing a group of seven people to carry out patrols at night together with police.

As luck would have it, Anatoli Kirigwajjo a then fresh graduate suggested a tool that he thought would help his own area overcome the break-ins and robberies.

“I told my village mates that I had two other colleagues with whom we could close this gap. Whereas many thought it was a joke, they cared to listen to me,” Kirigwajjo says.

That is when he introduced Yunga, a security innovation that has become a cornerstone in securing the area.

Derived from a Luganda word meaning ‘bring together’, Yunga connects people on a security network for easy coordination.

Having got a grant of €10,000 from the Institute of Law and Innovation, the group of three friends who were graduates of Computer Science, software engineering and electrical engineering customized devices to be installed at different homes around the village.

“We set the devices and join them on one network such that the press of a button from an installed device will send alarm to everyone on the network,” the 31-year-old team leader at Yunga says.

The unit is set in such a way that once installed at a home, there are useful components including a panic button and beacon.

“We came up with our own network that only people connected can enjoy. In case of any attack, a member connected to Yunga can press the panic button which is inside his or her house and the beacon at the top of the house will go off and also make an alarm. The other houses connected to this network will also be alerted and help,”Kirgwajjo adds.

The unit according to the innovators, can also be connected to a phone (not necessarily a smart phone) that can also be used as both a panic button but also a screen that one uses to see who has been attacked.

“When a person presses the panic button either on the device installed in the house or the phone, it sends an alert to all the other users. The other users receive a notification on the device and phone calls,” he says.

According to Kirigwajjo, 10 households are connected to each system to ensure quick rescue in case of any attack or emergency.

Police involvement

The system can also be connected to a nearby police station or post so that when someone is attacked and the panic button is pressed, security is also alerted.

“With this system, it makes it easy for police or locals to identify which person has been attacked and consequently come to their rescue,” says Moses Wegulo, the officer in charge of Kigoowa Police post.

He says the system comes in handy when locals don’t have contact numbers for the nearby police station or police post.

The system can also be connected to motion sensors at the fence and switched on at night that in case of any movements, the owner of the home can immediately be alerted.

Kirigwajjo says that since inception, over 500 households with a total of over 2500 people in four local communities have been connected to the Yunga system.

“Because of the Yunga system, we have prevented and resolved 40 crime incidents in partnership with local community leaders. We have also reached out to over 500,000 people through our crime and law-enforcement education program.”


According to Kirigwajjo, the system costs shs300, 000(approximately $84.28) and the person also pays Shs 15000(approximately $4) per month that helps maintain the system.

Kirigwajjo saysthey are looking at connecting at least 30,000 households (which is equivalent to 180,000 people) by 2024 and at least five million households by 2030.


 Kirigwajjo however says they have a challenge of heavy taxes on the components used to build the system that he says are imported from abroad.

This translates into higher charges for the users of the system.

“Since it [system] is locally made, not many of our people have embraced it because they think it is not effective. Many think only innovations from abroad are effective,” Kirigwajjo says.


The brain behind the innovation says government is a key stakeholder in their journey of creating more safe communities, adding that they need to work together.

“Yunga has also created a special response device that can be installed at local police stations to aid in community policing quick responses. Uganda polices’ UPF Mobi App can be integrated with the Yunga response system to increase the number of people that can be responded to with minimal costs,”Kirigwajjo adds.

He says they are seeking formal collaboration with government to help them create an even bigger impact amongst communities.

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