RAKO – Research & Communication Centre

What We Do

A regional organization based in Hargeisa with extensive network & knowledge with the ability,
capacity to develop research and communication strategies that have a lasting impact.

The main objective of Rako is to provide comprehensive research and  studies on a range of topics that affect the Local populations  across the Horn of Africa.

Main areas of research include:

  • Governance
  • Health
  • Education
  • Media and Internet
  • Migration
  • Political participation
  • Investment and trade
  • Environment.

In addition, Rako further undertakes and organizes relevant conferences and seminars and works with local media to disseminate research results. While our work is scientific in nature it is also policy and action oriented.

At Rako Research and Communication Centre we strongly believe that search for knowledge and creating the right environment for critical thinking are important elements for any given society. Hence, fostering intellectual capacity is not just a goal for Rako it is what shapes our existence. We are devoted to link research to action through effective communication. Relating theory to practice while mixing empirical research to action-oriented activities becomes vital to foster a more effective and pragmatic societal change. Rako addresses a narrative that has become a common place across the Somali regions whereby research is generally confined to mainly reports, seminars and so now and then journal articles. At Rako we believe significant social change is more likely to be achieved by relating it to activities that foster positive change.

The main objective of Rako is to focus on and study the local problems across the Horn of Africa including:

  • Governance
  • Health
  • Education
  • Media and Internet
  • Migration
  • Political participation
  • Investment and trade
  • Environment.
Data collection techniques
Local researchers often rely on primary data as it is a great challenge to find existing data for many of their research queries. At Rako we have started to address this critical problem by ensuring that our data is managed and secured properly. Furthermore, we started a databank where we store relevant existing data to help our studies while also using this as an important base.
As it is usually the case for many of our research queries the exact proper data is almost none-existent. Therefore, researcher usually resort to primary data collection and adopt the following methods:
  • Interviews.
  • Questionnaires and Surveys.
  • Observations.
  • Focus Groups.
  • Ethnographies, Oral History, and Case Studies.
  • Documents and Records.
Conferences and seminars

Rako further undertakes organizes relevant conferences and seminars and works with local media to disseminate research results. While our work is scientific in nature it is also policy and action oriented.


Rako is currently in the process of setting up a customised Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system, which will be used for primary data collection and surveys.

We are adopting such research methodology to improve and simplify telephone-interviewing process as it includes software that automatically supports and leads the interviewer during data collection. Questions are displayed on the computer followed by possible answers that respondents may give.

It has clear advantages for our intended research projects and surveys including:

  • High quality of collected data: one avoids any interviewer misinterpretation or incorrect question administering;
  • Time reduction: call-back is automatically managed by the system. The interviewer can also directly insert the data with no use of paper (with all its issues);
  • Better accuracy: being a questionnaire displayed on a computer and completely automated, there’s no room for mistakes or unclear compiling;
  • Complete control on interviews progress: a recap allows to check, in real time, how many interviews are completed and how many are incomplete or dropped.
  • Cost reduction on common research practicalities: everything happens under one roof. This means that high costs normally associated with transport and travel, per diems, accommodation etc. are drastically reduced leaving room to fund other more important areas or simply just make savings on the project.

 CATI management will in part rely on the in-house IT knowledge from our partners, as this will help us produce and deliver research outcomes that are inline with what our partners want.

Rako functions as a knowledge and research hub for both local and international researchers that are from diverse backgrounds and disciplines working on a variety of topics. We understand that undertaking research in new social settings can be complicated by local unfamiliarity and field dynamics. Rako, therefore, offers a friendly and welcoming environment that puts researchers at ease that enables them to concentrate on their research.


Researchers connected to Rako are encouraged to actively participate in the organisation’s events and activities, whether this through writing about their work and share that with the larger research community through the website and the blog or simply presenting their research findings to a sympathetic audience. Also, due to our access to local media facilities we support researchers to take part in media programmes specifically meant to help promote their work positively.

Rako’s seminars include local, regional and international speakers presenting on a wide range of topics including culture, education, health, media, politics, and other relevant areas in the social sciences. MA and PhD students as well as PostDocs are also welcomed and encouraged to present and share their work. The seminars feature contemporary research from researchers mainly undertaking work on Eastern African matters in general and on Somali issues in particular. Furthermore,.

If you are interested in presenting your work please contact the organiser. We encourage others to attend these workshops.

Upcoming Seminars

Rako Research Seminar Series In Collaboration with DIIS – Wed 5th Jan 2022
Brief Summary
With increasingly intensifying heavy cyclones as well as longer lasting droughts the impact of climate change in the Horn of Africa is real and charting to unknown terrain. Furthermore, the region’s unique geographical locations and climate conditions add to the vulnerability of the damaging effects of climate change.

Rako intends to organise annual conferences and publish newsletters on contemporary issues.

Rako Research Training and Capacity building programme (RRTC) includes modules and short courses covering relevant research methods and approaches of the social sciences, humanities and media. We draw on our larger network of academics and experts asking them literally to donate their valuable time and offer training on i.e. thesis planning, writing and other more common skills relevant to researchers and graduate students from our wider academic community. The RRTC is designed to complement the various studies undertaken by Rako.

Media training & capacity building

The Somali media have had mixed developments, impacts and consequences. In general, the media have played an important role in shaping the politics and social dynamics across the Somali regions in various ways both in terms of peace and violence. Traditionally, radio was the most common media source of information Somalis. However, more recently improved access to Television and increased use of social media are becoming important sources of information sharing.

We recognise that with the kind of media freedom and commonly easy access to the various information sources that exists today the capacity of journalists could be improved and strengthened on numerous levels. One such significant area is the need for a professional training in addressing controversial matters. This, we believe, will help increase the understanding and practice of commonly recognised media standards and ethics, which will ultimately increase the quality of reporting.

By working with other media institutions and communication agencies both in the region and internationally we plan and coordinate capacity building courses for media actors on production, content gathering, analysis and delivery. We also aim to provide practical and technical training for those who are interested in the more technical aspects and management of information delivery.

Knowledge transfer & mutual learning

Rako is an organization committed to providing high quality research.