Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

Customary Characters in Uncustomary Circumstances

23 Mar 2022 - 10:50
Traditional and religious authorities' resilience to violent extremism in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso

Traditional and religious authorities are key figures when it comes to supporting governance in the Sahel. They can therefore support USAID West Africa Regional Mission’s countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts, which apply a holistic approach to addressing the root causes of violent extremism.

Based on 1,437 surveys and 656 key informant interviews (KIIs) with citizens and authorities in six border regions in the Sahel, the Customary Characters in Uncustomary Circumstances study shows that these authorities are often the first set of actors that citizens contact in domains such as conflict resolution, justice provision, and – in some regions – even security and basic service provision. They are much more relevant, and also much more trusted, governance providers than local and national state administrations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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Pour la version française cliquez ici / this report is also available in French.

About the project

This report is part of a series of reports produced for the project Customary Actors & Community Resilience. The project explores community resilience against violent extremism. It assesses specifically how traditional and religious authorities can improve the resilience of their community. In partnership with USAID and ICCT Clingendael experts surveyed nearly 30 municipalities in the Ménaka and Gao regions (Mali), the Tillabéri region (Niger), and the Sahel, Est, and Centre-Nord regions (Burkina Faso). Results are based on 1400 quantitative surveys and 600 qualitative interviews.

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