Over the past decade, the border regions of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have become the epicenter of violent conflict dynamics, including a dramatic increase in violent extremist activity.  In the face of these challenges, the Sahel region’s historical and cultural traditions of tolerance and moderation remain a critical bulwark against violent extremist influence and a solid foundation for efforts to build peace.  The series of reports produced by the Customary Characters in Uncustomary Circumstances project supports these efforts by furthering an understanding of the role of traditional and religious authorities in strengthening and/or weakening community resilience to violent extremism in the Sahel. Based on analysis of extensive quantitative and qualitative data, the project team has created the following reports to explore the role of these authorities in building resilience to violent extremism across six studied regions, and has developed in-detail policy recommendations and entry points for international and national actors seeking to support traditional and religious leaders in their resilience role. For more information about this project, please click here.


Regional Report Burkina Faso’s Est Region

Regional Report Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region

Regional Report Burkina Faso Centre-Nord

Regional Report Northeastern Mali

Regional Report Niger’s Tillabéri Region



Synthesis Report

Programming and Policy Recommendations

To explore the project data in an interactive dashboard, click here.