In March, World Justice Project researcher and ACLS Mellon Fellow Joe Haley traveled to West Africa to interview local government officials and civil society activists. The purpose of this field research was to understand how access to justice — the capacity of ordinary people to resolve their everyday justice problems fairly without undue hardship — works in the Sahel, a semi-arid region that snakes along the southern edge of the Sahara desert, from Senegal and Mauritania in the West to Sudan and Eritrea in the East.
The Sahel is marked by high levels of poverty and environmental fragility. It is also host to one of the world's most intractable conflicts. Since 2012, national and international forces have been locked in a pitched fight against Islamic extremists in Mali, Niger, and Chad. This conflict has had profound implications for West and Central Africa, as it has disrupted economic activity and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. In the following series of reflections and accompanying podcast interviews with local practitioners, Joe asks, how can access to justice build peace and resilience in the Sahel?
Reflections on Access to Justice in the Sahel