The Institute for Practical Research and Training (IPRT) was founded in October 1998 as an independent non-governmental and not-for-profit institution to promote local initiatives in health, education and good governance. IPRT was launched with a major conference whose purpose was to lay a road map for post-construction in Somaliland. The First Conference on Post-war Reconstruction Strategies and the Challenges Beyond Rehabilitation brought together 200 international experts from around the world, both Somali and international and local government officials and activist to discuss the myriad issues facing post-war Somaliland. Three similar conferences organized by IPRT took place between 1998 and 2001.
Promoting local initiative in education, health, human rights & good governance.
Since its founding IPRT trained more than 7000 students in Somaliland on various skills from IT (the IPRT IT school was the first created in Somaliland), auto mechanics, carpentry, electricity, welding, masonry and construction and media and journalism (almost all of the veteran journalists in Somaliland went through IPRT, including the following senior journalists: Mohamed Ilig, Head of Horn Cable TV, Sahra Ciidle, VOA Washington, DC, Sagal Mustafe RTN Nairobi, Muna Dhakhtar, SLNTV and Bulsho and many more. With FCO funding, IPRT created a handbook for Somali Journalists, which is currently used by SOLJA as their training manual.
For more than 15 years, IPRT was a partner of the Somaliland National Assembly and through funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) trained both members and staff, equipped the first IT center and library, created the Guurti website and managed several study tours abroad for MPs and staff.
In 2005, IPRT with funding from Forum-Syd of Sweden started the first distance learning program in Somaliland using the V-SAT technology as Somaliland had limited Internet access at the time.
Starting in 2012, IPRT started a Youth Training and Employment Project with the United States Africa Foundation (USADF). The program combines TVET skills training with employment placement. It has trained more than 600 youth and is still ongoing.
Starting in 2017, IPRT partnered with Sweden’s IMS-Fojo to train Somaliland journalists throughout Somaliland including those in the volatile border areas.
In 2009, IPRT was the anchor organization for the founding of the Abaarso School. IPRT procured the land, initial funding and was responsible for all construction. The first class of students started in IPRT’s campus in Hargeisa. Later IPRT founded the Abaarso Tech University (ATU) and hosted the first classes in its campus. IPRT is now part of the Abaarso Tech University Institutions.
In 2019, IPRT along with its sister institutions, founded the ATU-Polytechnic Institute. ATU-PI is created to provide world-class technical training in Somaliland and to become a center of excellence and innovation for the creation of local expertise and appropriate technology. Several products have already emerged from ATU-PI.
Research and International Activities
In 1997, IPRT joined the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Starting in 1998 and through 2006 IPRT conducted research on landmines for Somaliland and Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti for the annual Landmine Monitor. IPRT helped the establishment of the Somalia Campaign to Landmines, the Djibouti Campaign against landmines and the Somaliland Coalition against Landmines. Through these organizations IPRT was the major advocate for mine action and funding in the Horn of Africa.
In 2000, IPRT convened a High State’s conference for the Horn of Africa and Gulf States Conference on landmines. At the conclusion of the conference, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, Uganda, Kenya and Somaliland issued a proclamation pledging that all countries will abide by the landmine treaty.
In 2014, IPRT joined with researchers from Tufts University to study household energy use in Gabiley and Hargeisa. From this research, the utility of off-grid solar energy for rural communities was found feasible and one of our students started a startup company to distribute off-grid solar to many rural communities. The Startup, SOMLITE is still in business.
In collaboration with students and researchers from France’s Haute Ecole de Commerce (HEC or Paris Tech) to perform a social impact study on the project supplying off-grid solar equipment to rural communities initiated as described in iii.