I Never Thought I'd Be a Student at Dayaha Boarding School

Sool and Sanaag regions have the worst access to education indicators in Somaliland. The two regions are located in the East of Somaliland, which is remote and difficult to access. In education, the main challenges stem from long-term inadequate resource allocations for maintenance of educational infrastructure, underpayment and shortage of qualified staff, and grossly insufficient educational materials and supplies.

To redress the situation, the Ministry of Education and Higher Studies has secured funding from the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) to re-activate the first secondary boarding school project in Dayaha and Las Anod. The project will improve access to secondary education services for the people of Sool and Sanaag through the construction and rehabilitation of education facilities, the reactivation of management systems, and the establishment of robust financing mechanisms, aimed at providing access to poor and marginalised pastoral communities. The project will also reduce gender inequality in access to education services through the provision of girl friendly boarding facilities, ultimately leading to improved quality of lives and reduced poverty of the people in the two regions.

After passing primary school examinations, pastoralist students are eligible for secondary education. So far, access to this secondary education has been elusive. Students move to Erigavo and other Somaliland regions for access to secondary education. Dayaha boarding school, close to Erigavo, was well known in the pre-war era for its high-quality education.

Amina Jama Dirie, aged 17, is one of the beneficiaries of the project. She is from an agro-pastoralist family in Gudmo-Biyacas village 90 km west of Erigavo.

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Explaining how the project transformed her aspiration for secondary education, she said: “Amazingly, I have been enrolled in the historical Dayaha Boarding Secondary School. I never dreamed of gaining such a great learning opportunity. Dayaha Boarding School was one of the famous schools in Somaliland, and some of the current leaders of the country have graduated from this school.”

Last year, Amina and her young sister completed primary school examinations in Gudmo-Biyacas and now she is studying form one in Dayaha Boarding School.

“I was one of the first graduates of Gudma-Biyacas intermediate school. As there is no secondary school in our village and because of financial constraints, I was really disappointed to not attain secondary education.

Fortunately, after several months as Dayaha Secondary Boarding School is being rehabilitated, I faithfully enrolled at the school to continue my education with the tireless encouragement from my parents. Now I have free education with a full studying package and free accommodation. The study is currently providing me with good knowledge in 9 different subjects; I really have learnt a lot. I pray for those who donated the funds for rebuilding this school.

Ultimately, I would like to encourage other girls of my age to continue their study up to university level. To learn is always an advantage for your future.”

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The Sool and Sanaag Education Project is funded by the Somaliland Development Fund. The SDF is a 4-year fund designed to support the Government of Somaliland (GoSL) filling a critical gap funding projects that are fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP). The SDF is currently funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Governments of Norway and The Netherlands.

From War on Nature to Savior

The 38-year-old Mustafa from Debis, Sahil region, has been working in the forest almost every day for the last 20 years cutting trees to secure a living for his immediate and extended family. He has been increasingly anxious about the nature of his job. Now, Mustafa is back to the vicinity where he used to conduct his charcoal business, but this time is different: he is participating in the conservation of the forest, turning from “war on nature to savior” as a result of a forestry project, implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development.

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Many parts of Somaliland are showing signs of environmental degradation due to overgrazing, biodiversity depletion, soil erosion, development of unplanned feeder roads, increased settlements and uncontrolled cutting of trees for charcoal. This degradation is not only a problem to the wildlife and biodiversity but also a threat to the nation and its pastoral lifestyle.

The Enhanced Capacity Building for Sustainable Natural Resource Management Project, implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development (MoERD), focuses on environmentally friendly and sustainable soil and water conservation interventions including soil bunds, check dams, establishment of forest nurseries and production of tree seedlings. Soil bunds, for example, reduce hillside run-off, increase water infiltration and prevent soil erosion. 

In Somaliland, charcoal production and limited recovery practices due to a lack of knowledge on post-harvest management techniques pose adverse environmental effects such as deforestation. Speaking on the environmental problem attributed to people like him working in charcoal production, Mustafa says: 

“Cutting trees brings calamity to everyone including mankind and their livestock: repetitive droughts are an imminent threat to all of us these days.”

 The project employed 290 casual laborers - mostly young men - who were formerly engaged in charcoal production. Mustafa also acknowledges the Ministry’s efforts to secure an alternative income, which is environmentally friendly, by employing the former charcoal producers for the construction of soil bunds.  

 “Today, charcoal producers have secured alternative sources of income through the project by being employed to build soil and water conservation structures.”

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The Enhanced Capacity Building for Sustainable Natural Resource Management Project is funded by the Somaliland Development Fund. The SDF is a 4-year fund designed to support the Government of Somaliland (GoSL) filling a critical gap funding projects that are fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP). The SDF is currently funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Governments of Norway and The Netherlands.


Where Women Rarely Tread

Engineering has always been a male-dominated career terrain where very few women dare to tread. For many, it is just one of those careers that hasn’t truly shaken off the ‘male-female’ divide. In Somaliland, however, two young women are pushing that boundary and demystifying the perception that engineering as a career is an exclusive preserve of men. Naima Faisal Mohamud and Nimco Mohamed Ibrahim are both Civil Engineers attached to the Roads Development Agency in Hargeisa.

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Against received wisdom and encouragement to take up medicine, Naima’s personal pride and desire to be first among equals prompted her to become an engineer instead. Of her career choice, Naima said "Women need not drop their Hijab to excel as engineers. All we need is courage to pursue our ambition because what a man can do, a woman can also do." Naima obtained her first degree in Civil Engineering from Eelo University in 2011 and completed a Master’s degree programme in Engineering Management at Gollis University in 2011. Born and raised in Borama, Naima’s colleague, Nimco is full of praise for her alma mater: the Ubay Binu Secondary School, Borama which she claims gave her a solid foundation in science and mathematics.

Nimco happens to be the first person in her family of seven children to get a university degree “which was a pretty big deal.” “I encourage other girls to enter the engineering profession; I like visiting communities to see first-hand what the problems are and work with residents themselves to develop solutions, which make their lives better…and that gives me a lot of satisfaction”, Nimco enthused. If Naima’s choice of engineering as a career has been influenced by personal pride and desire for recognition among peers, Nimco, on the other hand, was inspired to choose the career by her parents. She, however, has regret. “How I wish my supportive mother can witness this day my success!” she lamented. Naima and Nimco both work as supervisors on road construction projects, a role which tests their ability to work within a team to great lengths. "There are skills that women bring to the team that men often can't, including negotiating skills, particularly in community development work,” Nimco proudly argued. Often, Naima and Nimco are able to discuss issues arising from review and analysis of field data in their office. On construction sites, such as the Dila-Kalabaydh road, being rehabilitated, it is not uncommon to see these young women measure the dimensions of potholes to be filled, carry out quality control of asphalt and alignment of shoulders.

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They equally provide oversight for the preparation of culverts. Watching these two young women at work leaves no one in doubt as to their passion for what they do, though for different reasons. Naima said, “I love leading a team, planning schedules together with my work colleagues and making sure the job is well done”.

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Away from the usual dirt road, dust, and asphalt, these engineers, however, have other interests that they cherish dearly. Nimco loves drawing and cooking local dishes for the family, especially on Friday afternoon. An author of three books, Naima adores reading novels and is constantly in search of inspiration. “I like to follow in the footsteps of great writers and poets like Gaarriye and Hadrawi. Even as we speak, I am in the process of writing another book,” she stressed. If boosting Somaliland’s economic growth, through the improvement of its network of roads is anything to go by, reaching out to budding engineers like Naima and Nimco looks like a rewarding path to tread.

The road rehabilitation projects are funded by the Somaliland Development Fund. The SDF is a 4-year fund designed to support the Government of Somaliland (GoSL) filling a critical gap funding projects that are fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP). The SDF is currently funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Governments of Norway and The Netherlands.

Closer Access to Water Empowers Communities in Aburin

Abdi Hashi, 53, agro-pastoralist, lives in Laalayska, a village in the Maroodijeh Upper Catchment area, about 24 km west of Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. His home, a small hut, is located at the bottom of a hill on rough terrain overlooking the dry agricultural land of Mahbuubta area. Lack of water has turned the surrounding trees black and the soil dry. Rain has been sporadic over the recent years and the area is now experiencing a drought. Over the past years, persistent water scarcity, recurrent droughts and soil erosion have led to poor harvests from farms and killed many of the livestock he owned. Due to soil erosion and overgrazing, the little uncultivated land available has gradually turned into rough terrain and gullies formed in the eroded parts.

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Being an agro-pastoralist, Hashi is connected to his farming land and had no option but to stay in the same locality for years. With the deteriorating environment and the drought, the few livestock in his possession had nothing left to eat except the dry sorghum. The farms are rain-fed through the run-off from the hillside terrain. However, this run-off also has drawbacks as it carries with it fertile soil resulting in soil erosion. Water scarcity has been a major problem. Without being able to dig a borehole and utilize the ground water, Hashi, like other agro-pastoralists in the area, was in a dire situation.

The Maroodijeh Upper Catchment Area Project, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, aims to improve access to water through the construction of soil bunds and rehabilitation of berkads. Soil bunds are conservation structures that reduce hillside run-off, increase water infiltration and prevent soil erosion, while berkads are underground water tanks, designed to store water.  “The project was launched at a crucial time when severe land degradation had already occurred. It had become so bad that we were very worried about the future of our land which is quickly turning into a desert in front of us,” Hashi says. He also mentions the benefits, apart from the increased access to water, that the rehabilitation of the berkad brought for the community.  “Before rehabilitation of the berkad, most of the people used to travel a long distance, up to 6 km, to the Dhabolaq area to fetch water. Because of the rehabilitated berkad, this is no longer necessary. The water is now easily accessible, which saves time, and it is used both for drinking water and household chores.” He added that even if rain fails, they can call for water trucks to fill the berkad. “This is more sustainable and makes life easier,” Hashi says.

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 “I am very optimistic that once it rains, the water run-off will be slowed down by the soil bunds and will fill the earth dams and berkads. Thus, water will not be wasted anymore or cause soil erosion and formation of gullies.” Hashi also explains the change of attitude of the community resulting from the skill transfer program offered by the Ministry of Agriculture. “We used to believe that soil erosion of such magnitude was impossible to stop without the provision of heavy machinery and equipment like tractors. Thanks to the training opportunities offered by the Ministry, we are more confident that we can make a difference both individually and together as a community. We are now able to construct soil bunds to conserve the environment.”

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The Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) has allocated funding to the Ministry of Agriculture to implement the project, intending to improve household incomes of communities residing in the Maroodijeh Upper Catchment (MUC) areas through improved conservation of soil and water and improved agronomic practices. Due to the absence of any permanent rivers in Somaliland, agro-pastoral communities depend heavily on rainfall. The project, launched in June 2014, has witnessed steady progress towards attainment of the set objectives. With these soil and water conservation interventions, the project is expected to become a model for other Somaliland agro- pastoral communities who face similar constraints. The Maroodijeh Upper Catchment Area Project is funded by the Somaliland Development Fund. The SDF is a 4-year fund designed to support the Government of Somaliland (GoSL) in filling critical gaps funding projects that are fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP). The SDF is currently funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Governments of Norway and The Netherlands.

Launching Ceremony for Construction of Water Quality Laboratory

Hargeisa- 3 August 2016

Hargeisa Water Agency (HWA) conducted a launching ceremony for construction of new Water Quality Laboratory at the HWA offices. Being the first of its kind in Somaliland, upon completion, the laboratory will be used for water quality monitoring to ensure that all the safety of water consumed in Hargeisa. Specifically, the laboratory will be used for conducting bacteriological, waste, heavy metal, full chemical and sediment analysis to ensure the water is of good quality for any intended purpose. This will ensure that the about I million residents of Hargeisa and Somaliland citizens in general have clean drinking water.

The launching event was presided over by Somaliland senior officials, including Minister of National Planning and Development Hon. Ali Hussein Ismail Jirde, the Chairperson of Board of Directors for Hargeisa Water Agency, Dr. Edna Adan Isma'il and the Chief Executive Officer of Hargeisa Water Agency, Mr Ibrahim Siyad Yonis.2016.08.18 HWA

The project which is funded by the Somaliland Development Fund is expected to be completed and equipped in the next four months and consists of both construction of the laboratory main building and equipping it with modern water quality testing equipment.

Speaking during the launching event, the Minister of National Planning and Development lauded the Somaliland Development Fund donors for their contribution in the development of Somaliland. The Minister specifically said “" I am pleased to preside over the launching ceremony for construction of water quality laboratory for Hargeisa Water Agency which is the first of its kind in Somaliland. This shows the Somaliland Government's commitment for enhancing the quality of life for its citizens. I also thank the SDF contributing donors for their support towards implementation of life impacting projects in Somaliland."

The chairperson of the HWA Board while providing her remarks during the event said that: “This Water Quality Laboratory is part of the development of the country to test and analyse the quality of water that will be served to the residents of Hargeisa. I appreciate HWA and the donors of SDF for the support towards the construction of the Laboratory”.

Talking on behalf of the Hargeisa Water Agency at the same event, the Chief Executive Officer of HWA, Mr. Ibrahim Siyad Yonis said that: “Upon completion of the construction of the water quality laboratory, Hargeisa Water Agency will be able to carry out water quality analysis to monitor the safety of water distributed to all residents of Hargeisa municipality. HWA is very grateful to all SDF contributing donors (UK, Denmark, Norway and Netherlands) for the support in constructing the laboratory. I call upon the contractor to implement this project in a timely manner.”

Other activities funded by the SDF and implemented by Hargeisa Water Agency include:
1. Construction of Ayaha 1 and 2 Settlement Water Supply Project;

2. Drilling of 3 boreholes in Hora Hadley as well as laying 6 km of pipeline connecting the boreholes to Geed Deeble pumping station;

3. The procurement of pipes for laying of 23 km of pipeline mains from Geed Deeble to the Chinese Reservoir;

4. Detailed engineering design to supply water to the Southern districts of Ahmed Dhagah and Mohamoud Haybe and the northern districts of Ibrahim Koodbuur and Ga’an Libaah districts; and

5. Construction of three subsurface dams to boost the sustainability of the Haraf filtration gallery which feeds the Ayaha 1 and 2 water supply system.

The Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) is a 4 - year fund designed to support the Government of Somaliland (GoSL) filling a critical gap supporting projects that are fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP). SDF is currently funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the Government of Norway and Kingdom of the Netherlands.

For more information, please contact Mr. Ibrahim Siyad Yonis,
The General Manger of Hargeisa Water Agency.
Or visit SDF Website ( for more information on SDF.

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