Fragile Futures: Rural lives in Times of Conflict – University of Copenhagen

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Fragile Futures: Rural lives in Times of Conflict

Principal investogator:

Helle Samuelsen

Involved Researchers:


  • Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen
  • Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé/Direction Regionale de l’Ouest
  • Department of Sociology, University of Ouagadougou
  • Copenhagen School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen


This research project explores how the rural population in two different areas of Burkina Faso relate to and make use of state offered services within the fields of health care services, conflict management and water management. The project builds on the hypothesis that a perception of the state as a set of institutions delivering services and offering its citizens a sense of belonging is particularly important in low income countries with vulnerable populations in order to avoid emerging conflicts.


The overall objective of the project is to identify key potentials for the strengthening of the relationship between civil society and the state in order to reduce the vulnerability of the population.

The immediate objectives are:

  1. To describe and analyse imaginaries of the state and its local representatives from local, village based perspectives;
  2. To identify key barriers for optimal use of existing basic services delivered by the government (health services, water access and conflict management) at village level;
  3. To identify possible improvements of the government services at village level in order to reduce the vulnerability and fragility of the population; and
  4. To improve research capacity in Burkina Faso within social science.

The main outputs:

The main outputs of the project will be the following:

  • An improved understanding of the critical relationship between civil society and the state;
  • Identification of the most needed improvements of government services within three sub-areas seen from a village perspective;
  • Improved analytical capacity within social science in Burkina Faso; and
  • Improved research collaboration and capacity between Danish and Burkinabé research institutions as well as with NGOs working in Burkina Faso.


August 2012 - August 2017

More info about the project