Citizen Perspectives on Societal Challenges in Mali

The programme Perspectives citoyennes des défis de société au Mali is a five year project funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Bamako on behalf of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), 2022-2026. It is led by the Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University, and will be implemented in collaboration with Swedish and Malian partners. The programme is the outcome of years of working with Malian researchers and students on key problems in local arenas in Mali. In such collaborative research projects, particular attention has been paid to engaged research, such as the studies of security and safety from below in two Malian municipalities (2017), of municipal democracy in the Sahel (2019), and to the Malian crisis and transition (forthcoming). Methodologically and practically, it furthermore draws on collaborative research carried out in Burkina Faso, notably on sociopolitical transformations, published in English as "Nothing will be as before" (2017, 2018), security from below (2019), and women leadership (2021). 

The programme leader is Sten Hagberg, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Director of Forum for Africa Studies, who has also been in charge of developing the programme. At Uppsala University, he will be supported by a coordinator and a financial officer. In Mali, the research lab LACET at the Institut des Sciences Humaines, will be the main actor leading the programme, including coordination, logistics, and management. Collaboration will be developed with the public universities, as well as, with actors engaged with communication and public debate.

The main objective is to promote citizen perspectives through the implementation of engaged research, the organization of citizen debates and the capacity building of young researchers. Particular attention will be paid to the promotion of women leaders as researchers, teachers and opinion leaders.

The programme is composed of two parts:

  1. The implementation of strategic studies and citizen debates, in particular the documentation and analysis of citizen perspectives of the challenges of Malian society. The results of the strategic studies will then be presented to the general public and published in the form of books accessible to non-specialists, “briefs” or podcasts/television programs in different Malian languages.
  2. The strengthening of networks between Malian and Swedish educational research institutions in order to develop partnerships between research teams from two countries. The programme will also organize on-site training workshops in Mali on research methodology, project conceptualization, data analysis and scientific writing.

The programme was signed on 12 August and preparatory work for the launching is underway. Stay tuned.



On 22 August 2022, a strategic planning meeting was organized in Bamako with LACET/Mali (from left to right): Bintou Koné, N'gna Traoré, Baba Coulibaly, Yaouaga Félix Koné, Sten Hagberg, Fatoumata Camara and Almamy Sylla.


Planning Meeting with LACET/Mali on 22 August 2022



Richard Bomboma, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Mali, and Sten Hagberg, Director of Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University, signing the agreement.


After a long process of preparation, the project is finally signed.


Désiré Ballo, Sten Hagberg, Richard Bomboma, and Altiné Coulibaly, at the signing ceremony at the Embassy of Sweden on 12 August 2022.


Sten Hagberg, Director of the LACET, together with LACET-Mali at the Institut des Sciences Humaines, in September 2020, while doing research on the 2020 Malian Crisis. Standing from left to right: Fatoumata Camara, Bintou Koné, Almamy Sylla, N'gna Traoré, Sten Hagberg, LACET-Mali Coordinator Baba Coulibaly, and Yaouaga Félix Koné. In front are sitting the students Fanta Traoré, Sidy Diallo, and Salimata Coulibaly.