Gender in research and higher education in the Somali regions

Project description

Since 2016 INASP has partnered with the Somali Institute for Development and Research Analysis (SIDRA) to explore and address gender issues in research and higher education and the role of women in research in Puntland.

This work began under INASP's SRKS programme and continues during the foundation year of the SERKS programme.

The project activities have included:

  • Two knowledge exchange forums that brought together representatives from government, higher education institutions, education sector partners and civil society organisations to discuss the issue of gender inequality in research and higher education in Somalia and to identify challenges and opportunities to address these.
  • The production and dissemination of the SIDRA gender policy brief, in both English and Somali. The policy brief provides recommendations for higher education institutions, government departments and civil society organizations to enable the creation of a more supportive environment for women in research and higher education.
  • Invitation for SIDRA to present the policy brief at the launch event of the Somalia Higher Education Development Support Project (SHEDS) in Nairobi in September 2017. SIDRA continues to work with partners to address some of the challenges identified by the events.
  • The creation of a community of practice for female researchers where they can feel safe to discuss issues, collaborate and share their research and other resources. There are now 42 female researchers signed up to the group from the Somali regions and from the Somali diaspora.
  • Training support to female researchers to publish their work, both through face-to-face training and online. There was also an opportunity to support and link with another project, funded by the European Union and delivered by SIDRA and Vrije Universitiet of the Netherlands.

For more details of this work see this article and this interview with Sahro Ahmed Koshin.

“We all know there are restrictions for women to study and we need to address it.”
Faduma Shukri

“This is a programme that is very much needed. It is important to educate women as much as men. Success does not depend on finance only but also on planning and organizing yourself which you learn from education.”
Anisa Hajji Mumin


The project has served as a catalyst for initiating discussion and action on addressing the inequalities in higher education in the Puntland region of Somalia and turning the focus of women in education from access to the need for ensuring a supportive environment which can help female students and academics to have the same opportunity to succeed as their male counterparts.

It has enabled female researchers and academics to have a voice, to access training opportunities and to develop a supportive network.

“One of the main issues that stops Somali girls doing research is that they cannot travel alone.”

“There is lack of female role models in our Somalia community.”

“The importance and excellence of knowledge for both men and women has been highlighted both directly and indirectly in over five hundred places in the Holy Qur’an.”

“Men get intimidated by women’s achievements and success.”

“We know that women are half of the community but really do we believe that and do we act with that firm belief in mind?”

The image for this page was taken in Somalia by joepyrek and is used under a Creative Commons licence

Funded by
Somalia Institute for Development and Research Ana