A new free app is making all the difference for the population of Somaliland and across the Horn of Africa, helping hundreds of thousands of people learn how to read, even those who live in the most remote parts of the country, since it can work offline.
“It used to take us to go to class to learn our own mother tongue,” says Ismail Ahmed, founder of the Sahamiye Foundation and creator of the app Daariz, “and now we have thousands of users who were able to be functionally literate in their own tongue without going to a class.”
In 2019, the Somaliland government and UNICEF agreed to invest in education in the hopes that a greater number of children would complete at least their primary education. According to data from UNICEF, in 2022, three in every four adults can’t read and write, and one child in four isn’t attending school. During the COVID lockdown, a Somalilander refugee in the UK developed the Daariz app using “mobile phones to tackle the learning crisis” in his country of origin. So far, Daariz has taught 410,000 people how to read Somali all over the Horn of Africa.