an Entity of Abaarso Network



Barwaaqo opened its doors to its first students in October 2017. Barwaaqo was started by the original founder of the Abaarso School and Abaarso’s former Assistant Headmaster with the vision of building new career opportunities for young Somali women.

Barwaaqo University is located in Baliga-Cas village, 23km north of Hargeisa.

Barwaaqo does not currently have an office in Hargeisa. We do use a number of different venues in Hargeisa (and in Berbera and Burco) for events that we hold throughout the academic year.

The university provides transport to new students who have been accepted on the second stage of applications to attend Open House (typically mid-September). Thereafter, students arrange their own transport, typically by hiring a bus, between Barwaaqo and Hargeisa for weekend return trips and single trips at the end of the mid-semester or semester.

Barwaaqo students typically spend their first two years at Barwaaqo pursuing a rigorous fundamentals program, designed to give students a strong background in English, mathematics, and technology. After this, students may select a degree program. Students may choose to study for a Bachelors of Education with a Montessori Specialism, a Bachelor’s in Education, or a Bachelor of Arts in International Communication. 

It is important to note that students who enter with a strong background in English and Mathematics may be able to finish their degree in only 3 years, while other students may need up to 5 years. 

Yes, Barwaaqo’s entire campus was built with USAID funding. All buildings on campus adhere to USAID’s accessibility requirements. 

Student Information

Barwaaqo maintains a student body of approximately 140 students.

Barwaaqo admits students each semester. Please follow our social media pages to see when we open the application for next year’s students. 

We review all applications to assess a students’ potential to succeed at Barwaaqo. We are primarily looking for students who have exceptional ambition and commitment to our mission, rather than those who have excelled academically in secondary school.

Men in Somaliland have far more opportunities than women. 90% of teaching jobs in Somaliland are currently held by men, so we believe that there is a greater need for highly skilled female teachers. 

To date, almost 100% of students who have earned a bachelor’s degree have found a job within only a few months of graduation. This is because our students are highly trained and have completed several professional internships by their date of graduation. 

Earning a bachelor’s degree at Barwaaqo is difficult, and requires many years of sustained effort. 


Yes, any woman with a secondary school certificate may enroll at Barwaaqo University. Students with a documented learning disability will need to work with the Student Success Coordinator to determine what accommodations, if any, will be needed to ensure her success while at Barwaaqo. Students with a physical disability will be provided with accessible rooms, and will be able to access all classrooms.


Barwaaqo University offers a range of fundamental and elective courses, as well as those specialized in education. When students join Barwaaqo, they first take fundamental courses which include English, Maths, Computers and Spoken English as well as General Electives including Wellbeing, Anatomy, Ethics, Human Geography and Leadership. In the second phase of their university education, students take education classes, for example, Education Psychology, Education Knowledge, Exceptional Education, Teaching Methodologies, etc. and Education Electives, including Critical Issues in Education, Community Development, Education Seminar and Education Policy/Law. An Internship element is the final requirement for obtaining either a Bachelor of Education or an Associate’s Degree in Education.

See the Academics page for a comprehensive course guide and to learn more about  Barwaaqo’s  graduation pathways system.

Barwaaqo has three degree programs: 

  • Bachelor of Education with Montessori Specialism
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Communications 

In all faculties, students must complete three scaffolded internships of increasing responsibility, demonstrate a minimum of B2 English proficiency, and finish a year long research project of their choosing. 

Barwaaqo University employs a competency-based system. This means that each student takes a placement test during Open House before they might be admitted into the university. This placement test determines which level of fundamental classes (English, Maths, Computers and Spoken English) she starts at. During Open House, Barwaaqo’s Director of Academics and her team meets with the new student to discuss which level she is entering Barwaaqo’s classes and, based on that, how many years it will take for her to complete her fundamental courses and thus to complete her degree. It will typically take between 3-5 years for a student to complete her degree. This depends on the level at which she enters Barwaaqo as well as how quickly she is able to progress through her competency-based courses.

Placement tests do not determine whether a student is accepted or not. This test only determines which level the new student will start her classes at. Admission to Barwaaqo University is determined, first, by the student’s enthusiasm to study at Barwaaqo, and second, how well she fits Barwaaqo’s expectations.

See Our Mission page for more information about Student Expectations at Barwaaqo University students.

Transfer from and to other universities is currently not possible at Barwaaqo University. It is, however, an opportunity that Barwaaqo is investigating.

Barwaaqo University currently only offers undergraduate programs.

Finance & Fees

It costs $3000 each year to educate a Barwaaqo women. This cost includes full room and board, a world-class teaching faculty, and many internship opportunities with the local community. 

Given the high need for skilled female graduates in Somaliland, Barwaaqo automatically grants a 50% scholarship to all students when they are accepted to the university, and we ask students to pay the remaining $1,500. 

If this is a significant financial burden, students are invited to apply for further financial aid or scholarships.

Students should pay via Zaad by the first of the month each month.

We are committed to providing high quality education to women in Somaliland. We expect students to pay $150 each month, with Barwaaqo providing an automatic scholarship for the other $150. This money goes towards room and board, operations, and ensuring students have an excellent faculty. 

If you would like to apply for further scholarship, you will have the opportunity to submit a financial aid application in addition to your application.