SomaliREN is a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to promote research and quality higher education among the Somalis. It is a network whose members include the major Somali higher education institutions and exists for the sole purpose of bringing them together to collaborate on issues that matter not only to them but to the Somali community at large.
The organization’s activities and programs revolve around nurturing environments conducive to research and development, an area in which the whole region seems to lag far behind. The establishment of SomaliREN sprung from the realization that the development of the research capabilities and facilities of those institutions, and the general quality of higher education is a necessary component for finding a way out of the current state of messed affairs. With the belief that knowledge is the real power and research is the only way to gain and share it, representatives of six universities convened to work towards this goal.
SomaliREN is a member of a sub-‐regional backbone (UbuntuNet Alliance) network in eastern and southern Africa connecting National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) to each other and to similar networks on other continents via GÉANT, the European research and education backbone network. SomaliREN’s efforts are currently focused on the development of the ICT capabilities of the member organizations to facilitate connectivity among them and also connect them to the UbuntuNet Alliance. This is a first step towards building a suitable network infrastructure for e-‐Learning and cross-‐ border research collaborations. The bottom-‐line is to empower the higher education sector to have a tangible role in the development and rebuilding of the Somali society.