In 1996, a group of Somalis living in the Netherlands came together to discuss how they could contribute to the stabilization and reconstruction of their home country. Two years later - in 1998 - HIRDA was born with a view to delivering development and humanitarian aid to Somalia.
HIRDA’s initial activities focussed on improving primary education in different parts of the country such as Bardere, Abudwaaq, Hiiraan, Mogadishu and Lower Juba. For funding, HIRDA reached out to the Somali community in the Netherlands.
Due to the success of the inceptive projects, the demand for HIRDA’s work increased. In an effort to raise awareness on the development situation in Somalia, HIRDA organised different activities in the Netherlands. This resulted in financial support from donor organisations to continue the development efforts. Initially, on a project-by-project basis, but, later in 2004, HIRDA got the opportunity to receive structural funding from Oxfam Novib, and, onwards, it was possible to increase and diversify the number of programmes concerning health, small-scale food production, microfinance, women empowerment and access to clean water in Somalia.