SIPRI films: Malians talk about their security

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has produced a series of interview films spotlighting people’s perceptions of security in Mali.

A range of voices from the country’s different regions are represented — all of which belong to members of the Monitoring Groups for Peace and Security (MGPS) within the SIPRI–CONASCIPAL peacebuilding and civil-society strengthening program in Mali.

The series, ‘Towards peace in the Sahel: Understanding local perceptions of security’, is introduced by Dr Grégory Chauzal, Director of the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme, and can be viewed on SIPRI’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

The interviews highlight numerous — and differing — sources of insecurity throughout the various regions. Unemployment, education and food security are recurring themes, alongside banditry on the roads and a perceived ineffectiveness of Malian police forces—particularly in more remote regions.

The interviewees highlight a desire for the 2015 Mali Peace Accord to be properly enforced and a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process for current and ex-combatants to be well implemented. In addition, many call for border controls to limit weapon flows and a furthering of efforts to counter radicalization.

The interviewees also call for a greater involvement of the state in providing services adapted to their needs and specific situations. They also demonstrate how resilient and innovative Malian communities can be in the face of adversity.

The wholistic perception of security that the interviews portray informs international actors seeking to better understand security dynamics and potential solutions in Mali. The collection of views from a diversity of groups within the whole of Mali showcases dynamics in the wider region, an increasingly relevant issue since many of the threats are transnational and not confined to Mali’s borders.

The interviews are in French with English subtitles.

The project, ‘Building a lasting peace in Mali: Contributions of civil society to security policies for the population’ (Construire une paix durable au Mali: contributions de la société civile aux politiques de sécurité des populations), collaborates with local stakeholders and civil society organizations in 35 Malian municipalities to monitor and document the security situation, its perceived causes and suggestions for policy action.

The MGPS carry out numerous security perception surveys locally and are, therefore, well placed to serve as a clearing house for a range of perspectives and can, thus, offer a more robust picture of how security is perceived throughout the country.

SIPRI is using the same methodology to analyse and better understand security in the wider Sahel region. Programming in Chad and Niger has already begun, and SIPRI intends to start work in Burkina Faso and Mauritania soon.