• English
  • Français
  • العربية
  • Sahel (2020 – present)

    “In the Sahel, civil society is on the frontline of the crisis and has a unique expertise that too few decision makers take into account. By helping to create the People’s Coalition for the Sahel, Crisis Action has elevated West African voices to new audiences globally.”

    —Niagale Bagayoko, Chair, African Security Sector Network.

    A decade of conflict in the Sahel region of West Africa has contributed to acute security, governance, and health crises. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes in what has become of the world’s worst displacement crises. Sahelian security forces, supported by thousands of foreign troops including a 5,100-strong French ‘‘Opération Barkhane’’, have used military force to try and drive so-called jihadist armed groups from the region. The military-first strategy has failed to protect civilians and done little to address the humanitarian and governance problems underlying the crisis.

    In March 2020, Crisis Action launched a campaign in the Sahel, targeted at encouraging all governments active in the region away from a primarily militaristic response to the crisis and towards a more holistic people-centered response that addresses the root causes of violence.

    Working towards this, Crisis Action has:

    After years focusing primarily on counter-terror, Sahelian governments and their international partners have committed to a “civilian and political surge” to address governance issues and accountability, in line with the People’s Coalition recommendations. French, British, EU and UN officials have affirmed how instrumental civil society’s efforts have been in driving this shift. In the words of the UK’s Sahel envoy: the People’s Coalition “created the atmosphere for these political changes to occur”.

    Yet this new consensus for a revised approach has yet to translate into more safety for civilians in the Sahel. Furthermore, it is at risk of unravelling amidst concerning setbacks: military coups in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso; increasing attacks by jihadist groups; proliferation of self-defence groups and possible use of private military companies. More than ever, civil society pressure is needed to put into practice the “civilian surge” governments committed to. The People’s Coalition for the Sahel and its more than 50 members will continue to hold governments to account in the urgent search for protection and peace for the people of the Sahel.