Speedy access to emergency services to save lives

Man holding phone showing Upesy app

In an emergency, quickly dialling a three-digit number to alert the relevant emergency services might feel commonplace for some, but for a lot of people it is not that simple. In Nairobi in Kenya there are more than 50 numbers to call in an emergency, many of which go to expensive private providers with no guarantee they'll turn up in time to save lives.

Upesy is a new free mobile app helping people access affordable and reliable emergency services at the touch of a button. With support from the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme, the app's creators already have more than 5000 subscribers in Nairobi. During a six-month pilot with Kenya's national police service more than 2500 emergency incidents were reported and resolved.

To raise an alert, you simply tap your phone's power-button four times in quick succession, or press any of the emergency buttons in the app. The app, which shares user's real-time location, can notify medical, fire, security and roadside rescue service providers as well as users' social network, such as family and friends. The technology reduces provider administration costs and passes it onto the users, so people can connect to more reliable providers at more affordable rates.

The team behind the app plan to have Upesy working in at least 10 African countries in the next five years. They are developing the app to use the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. The data will be used to target groups and geographic areas more at risk of gender violence and discrimination. The enhanced technology will improve coordination between organisations and agencies that monitor, respond to, and educate on gender issues.

It's great to have that peace of mind knowing that in case of an emergency help is at your fingertips. Upesy redefines what it means to raise an alarm, be it to your friends, police or other emergency responders

Joe Kapten, emergency services expert

Upesy – A mobile emergency services platform

Project leads: Mr Eric Kithinji, Upesy World Limited, Kenya

Delivery partners: Royal Academy of Engineering, UK and the Kenya National Innovation Agency

SDG goals icons - Good health and well being SDG 5 icon gender equality