Why are we running this project?

The importance of this project lies in the complex political context of the Sahel, which is marked by violence and instability. International efforts to eradicate armed groups from the West African region of the Sahel have largely been in vain or even counterproductive, contributing to food crises and displacement – further worsened by the effects of climate change.

The region's history of ineffective military approaches highlights the urgency of finding new ways to ensure the protection of civilians. Despite international attention and commitments from bodies such as the AU, ECOWAS, the EU and France, tangible progress remains elusive.

In response, the People’s Coalition for the Sahel created by Crisis Action in 2020 to support civil society in the region to take its rightful role in policy and peace-making, was formed. Its main objective is to shift regional and international policy on to a more people-centred approach.

What are our goals?

The People’s Coalition for the Sahel directly confronts this complex political context by harnessing the collective power of civil society to secure policy change and leverage international pressure to prompt meaningful action. Its success could reshape crisis response strategies in the Sahel and provide an important model for conflict zones around the world. By supporting this initiative, the Robert Bosch Stiftung aimed to not only protect civilians in the Sahel, but also to fundamentally change the face of managing complex security issues through collaborative efforts. It is part of our wider ambition to strengthen the role of local actors in peacebuilding.

How does the project work?

The initiative aims to empower Sahelian civil society by facilitating online and in-person meetings, including youth and women-led groups, to engage with policymakers. In pursuit of this goal, the Coalition facilitates joint advocacy efforts with national and international decision-makers, monitors progress against benchmarks, holds political targets accountable, shifts narratives, and demands concrete actions by decision-makers and duty-bearers. Through these actions, the initiative bridges the gap between policy commitments and tangible improvements in civilian protection in the Sahel region.

In 2023-24 the Coalition’s focus lies on two objectives: a better protection of civilians in the region and the pursuit to become an independent entity (“autonomisation”). The autonomisation pursues to enable the People’s Coalition to become an effective and independent entity that can influence politics and policy in the Sahel in the long term.