Somaliland: USAID Financing the Expansion of Abaarso School


In abaarso school work and play goes hand in hand

Somalilandsun – Abaarso School of Science and Technology located in Abaarso in Somaliland, and the US non-profit Horn of Africa Education Development Fund (HED), announced today a landmark agreement with USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA). ASHA, through HED, has given Abaarso a $291,000 capital grant that will be used to expand the school and serve more students with additional classrooms, dorms, computer labs and staff housing.

The Abaarso School was founded in 2009 by Jonathan Starr, a one-time financial executive. He invested half million dollars of his own money and brought together a dedicated international teaching staff. Within five years, the school has sent 29 of its graduates to U.S. colleges and prep schools. Colleges that have accepted Abaarso graduates include MIT, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, and Amherst.

Jonathan Starr, who also serves as Abaarso’s Headmaster, said, “We are ecstatic that ASHA is funding Abaarso School’s growth, and we are grateful to all those who brought this together. With this agreement, USAID will pay for Abaarso School’s expansion to serve up to 250 students each year. With ASHA’s backing, far more Somali students can benefit from an Abaarso education.”

“HED and Abaarso School have taken major steps moving from privately funded startup non-profits to now being able to secure an agreement with USAID, said Anand Desai, Chairman of HED. “We are pushing our governance and oversight to meet even the highest standards, while keeping our focus on efficiency and tangible results,” he added.

Jonathan starr founder of Abaarso School

According to The Director of ASHA, Katherine Crawford, “Educating Somali youth is essential to ultimately drive jobs and growth in what has been an economically depressed region of the world. Abaarso provides a wonderful education and incredible economic opportunities to future generations in Somalia and ASHA is proud to fund the expansion of the school.”

“Abaarso is an example of Somalilanders and Americans working together to create what is already one of the top schools in Africa. Somaliland welcomes USAID in joining this partnership. This marks another positive step our two peoples are taking together,” noted Somaliland Foreign Minister Mohamed B. Yonis

Abaarso School of Science and Technology is a non-profit intermediate and secondary school nurturing the academic, intellectual, and character development of promising Somali boys and girls, so they can effectively and ethically advance their society.

By: Mary Frances Duffy
Dilenschneider Group