Here is the research work of Sadio Soukouna, PhD in Political Science, as part of our weekly series Les Papiers de la Fondation, articles written by the researchers that the Foundation supports at the end of their research year. The Papiers de la Fondation, scientific articles of around twenty pages, present the results of their work in the form of working papers. They are written according to academic criteria for specialised or non-specialised audiences, in order to make the knowledge thus created accessible to all interested people and to allow for a broad debate.

Les Papiers de la Fondation: disseminating research and fostering debate

“From assistance to autonomy: life trajectory of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso”

Sadio SOUKOUNA, PhD in Polical Science, Economy, Postdoctoral Student at the IRD (the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development)


This article studies the logic of empowerment driven by local self-help and care networks for Malian refugees in Burkina Faso.

This reflection emphasizes the collective representation of the city as a functional and / or legitimate space for crisis management, welcoming exiles and potentially more sustainable security. It analyzes the trajectories and the conditions of negotiation of access to the city by Malian refugees while clarifying the tensions and oppositions between on the one hand, the injunctions of the State and humanitarian actors and on the other hand the needs refugees.

This particular context encourages refugees to develop bypass and / or alliance strategies with humanitarian actors in order to stay in town.

Key words: refugees, encampment, integration, empowerment, solidarity

Photo credit : © EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie