The independent resource on global security


Bamako, 2020. Photo: SIPRI
Bamako, 2020. Photo: SIPRI

The deteriorating security situation in West Africa is accompanied by a growing number of protection incidents, ranging from physical violence, gender-based violence and forced displacement to family separation and the closure of schools. A hotspot of rights violations is the Liptako-Gourma region, encompassing the border regions of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

In 2020-2022, SIPRI conducted research on humanitarian protection mechanisms in the Liptako-Gourma region in collaboration with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), LASDEL (Niger), Point Sud (Mali) and the Centre for the Democratic Governance of Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso). The research included two rounds of quantitative data collection, qualitative interviews and focus groups. Findings were included in the DRC 2021 and 2022-cycles of humanitarian protection programming, and lessons learned were disseminated to the humanitarian community. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK Research and Innovation (AHRC-UKRI).

SIPRI conducted a study, for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to understand the reasons for forced displacement in the urban areas of the Liptako-Gourma region and its specific challenges. The first round of quantitative and qualitative research was carried out in the regions of the North and Sahel in Burkina Faso, Mopti in Mali and Tillabéri in Niger in May 2021.

SIPRI is also currently working on mapping community protection mechanisms in the three different Malian regions (Timbuktu, Mopti and Sikasso). The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented in collaboration with Malian research partner Centre d’études pour le développement en Afrique (CEDA).

Research staff

Dr Virginie Baudais is a Senior Researcher and Director of SIPRI’s Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Dr Pauline Poupart is a Researcher in the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Dr Shourjya Deb is a Researcher in the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Louise Edgren is a Research Assistant in charge of Budget and Finance with the Sahel/West Africa Programme.
Evelina Cristofano is a Research Assistant/Programme Coordinator for the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme.