Sahel Regional

A rise in extremist violence in the region has led to an increase in the number of displaced people trying to escape violence and worsening conditions. With a primary focus on the work of youth leaders in border communities in Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire, IRI is working with the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat and national governments to expand conflict resolution programs. These programs help strengthen the local, national, and Sahel regional institutions in charge of managing instability and preventing violent conflict across the area.

This project improves collaboration between community councils and youth leaders in creating peacebuilding projects in conflict-affected communities. IRI is conducting focus group discussions and interviews with community members and leaders to assess vulnerabilities to violent extremism and identify ways to strengthen resilience. This work connects youth leaders with other community leaders on best practices and conflict resolution strategies. Including young people in politics and reducing insecurity requires leadership from young people in periphery communities to strengthen governance structures. And as intercommunal conflicts place stress on governance, conflict management and training youth in periphery communities to mediate disputes will increase their political agency while supporting governance institutions responsible for managing civil disputes.

In a region where young people are frequently marginalized, the Sahel project brings youth voices into all phases of the work. IRI trains youth leaders on project management and on inclusive dialogue and connects them with leaders to whom they traditionally lack access. By working for inclusion, the program models strategies that young people can use in local conflict management when they return home.

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