The Sahel Crisis in Historical Perspective: Supporting a Conflict-Sensitive Approach through Interdisciplinary Research

Project status


In the West African Sahel, the activities of armed groups, either described as 'jihadist' or themselves laying claim to 'jihad', have increased in recent years, severely limiting possibilities for economic development. However, current responses lack conflict sensitivity, are overly militaristic and have worsened the situation for civilians. There is widespread recognition that alternative approaches are required, but cross-regional, historically nuanced understandings of the specific drivers of violence, on which new policy could be built, are underdeveloped. This project employs a novel interdisciplinary, comparative approach to assess the interplay between local and transnational influences on these 'jihadist' groups in an effort to boost the conflict sensitivity of local and extra-regional actors. Delivered by an interdisciplinary team of historians and political scientists based in research institutions across Europe and West Africa, the project will develop new policy-relevant understandings that will feed into the redevelopment of Sahelian security strategies at this crucial time.

Research team

Dr Edward Stoddard, University of Portsmouth; Professor Isaac Albert, University of Ibadan, NIgeria; Dr Melita Lazell, University of Portsmouth; Dr Jennifer Lofkrantz, American University of Nigeria; Professor Abdarrhamane Ngaïdé, University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Senegal; Dr Luca Raineri, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Italy; Dr Bakary Sambe, Timbuktu Institute, Mali

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