Shapefile of Somaliland Regions

I occasionally want to map data at a regional level. Doing this for Somaliland is frustrating because — as far as I know — all the “official” shapefiles available online use Somalia’s pre-1991 regional borders. Those maps include the 18 pre-1991 regions of Somalia, 5 of which were in Somaliland: Awdal, Sanaag, Sool, Togdheer, and Woqooyi Galbeed.

But Somaliland now has 6 regions. My understanding is that Somaliland had 6 regions before unification with Somalia in 1960; regardless, the 2002 Regions and Districts Law (Law no. 23/2002) confirmed 6 regions. Despite attempts to create new regions, the original 6 remain and were re-confirmed as recently as 2019 (Law no. 23/2019). For more information, see the following pages at Somaliland Law:

Background, before the 2019 amendments
Current law governing regions

What is different about the two sets of regions? Awdal, Sanaag, and Sool remained unchanged. Saxil was carved out of Woqooyi Galbeed and a small portion of Togdheer. Togdheer lost the area around Sheikh to Saxil. Woqooyi Galbeed lost the entire coastal area between Awdal and Sanaag, and was renamed Maroodi Jeex.

If you ever need to map data by region, this shapefile has the current borders of the six regions recognized by Somaliland.


Mahad Mohamoud Ibrahim

Mahad oversees Sababi’s Somali Portfolio, including operations and administration of Sababi’s office in Hargeisa, and all aspects of fieldwork implementation. Over the last 8 years, he has managed some of the largest fieldwork initiatives in Somalia, with teams numbering up to 60 enumerators, for organizations like CARE International, UNICEF, UNOPS, Somalia Stability Fund and others. He has also collected primary data in every region of Somalia, typically on nuanced or conceptually challenging topics (e.g., constitutional reform and democratization). From 2016 to 2019 he was a Researcher and FW Manager for Forcier Consulting, after which he was the Senior Fieldwork Manager at Consilient. Mahad graduated at the top of his class (highest distinction) at Admas University with a B.B.A. in Management in 2013 and subsequently helped coordinate Admas’ distance learning program from 2014-2016.

Brenton D. Peterson

Brenton is a political scientist who studies political behavior, social identity, and survey methodology. His research has appeared in some of the top journals in political science. Within the development sector, he specializes in evaluations of large-scale education programs, political and context analyses, and research on election- or democratization-related conflict. He has led data collection in Kenya, Somalia/Somaliland, and South Sudan. Prior to Sababi, he was the Director of Research at Consilient, based in Hargeisa (2020-2022), and served as the internal technical backstop, trainer, and reviewer of research outputs as the Chief Research Quality Officer at Forcier Consulting (2015-2020). In both positions, he focused on applying the best possible research methods in contexts where standard practices break down. He was previously a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Virginia, and completed fieldwork in northern Kenya.


Manar Zaki

Manar is a social scientist who specializes in research on access to justice, policing, and the relationships between customary and statutory institutions. Her recent work includes studies of Somalia’s customary justice system, the justice attitudes and needs of Somali women, and community-police relations. She has developed most of the internal systems Sababi uses for monitoring and assessing data quality and has managed primary data collection over 50 fieldwork initiatives in the Horn of Africa. From 2019 to 2022 she was the Research Manager and then Director at Consilient, in Hargeisa. Prior to her work in East Africa, Manar worked in both the private and nonprofit sectors in Nepal, India, Ireland, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Manar holds a Masters in Development Practice from Trinity College Dublin and a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.