The Somaliland Biodiversity Foundation was established to develop a biodiversity program within Somaliland that will enable the country’s citizens to acquire the education and experience need to study, document, and build understanding about the country’s diversity and its use by local people. Such knowledge is critical to formation of conservation and restoration plans that earn the support of local communities while allowing economic development. As an integral part of this mission, the Foundation will stress extending awareness of the benefits of maintaining ecosystem biodiversity to all segments of society.

Establish a Biodiversity Museum at the University of Hargeisa that will house carefully documented specimens, tissue samples, and digital recordings of biological organisms from Somaliland. The museum will make these resources available for use by scientists and share what is learned from its holdings via publications, displays, and the web.

Increase access to information about Somaliland’s species. Considerable information exists about many of Somaliland’s species but much of it is difficult to access. All records from the museum will be made available online, those for plants and fungi via OpenHerbarium (http://Openherbarium.org), those for animals through a site that is in development. These web sites will also provide, with acknowledgement, information from other sources, thereby increasing access to existing information.

Develop a biodiversity program at the University of Hargeisa. The program will encompass many disciplines and be developed in collaboration with the university’s faculty. It will be designed to enable students and others in the region to acquire the knowledge, skills, and understanding to engage in biodiversity research, management, and education at multiple different levels. Although the program will be based at the University of Hargeisa, the offerings developed for it will be made available for use by other institutions in the region.

Create a biodiversity teaching laboratory at the University of Hargeisa. Close study of biological organisms requires that each student have access to microscopes and other tools. The proposed laboratory will have these resources and will use current technology to share the instructor’s demonstration with students in the room and, via the internet, those elsewhere and permit offering synchronous and asynchronous teaching opportunities.

Build awareness of the importance of maintaining Somaliland’s diversity in all segments of society through education, workshops, meetings, and creation of local resource management centers. These activities will often be undertaken in partnership with other organizations.