Sahel on Sahel

Collaborative visual anthropology

Sahel par lui-même

The Sahel on Sahel project and it's Sahel par lui-même initative, seeks to develop more inclusive dialogues with and within Sahelian communities through filmmaking.

Sahel par lui-même is an action research initiative which aims, in a very concrete way, experimenting with visual tools to engage local populations in dialogues on their life situations and futures, by training “comunity filmmakers”. Involving people whose lives are often characterized by violence, "radicalization," migration, and poverty, visual narratives will center around the issues defining people’s lives. This will be achieved by what we call the “Sahel par lui même methodology”: organizing film-training courses to educate individuals selected by their communities to make films about their individual and/or community lives. Filmmaking intends to be a creative space for reflection and storytelling. 

The outcome of these reflections; the films and ethnographic knowledge, is intended to be used in various ways, to various audiences and stakeholders, locally, regionally and internationally. In local commuites, villages, in classrooms in schools and universities, at filmfestivals and other sorts of filmscreenings

This page intend is one way we are trying to initate such dialouges

Sahel par lui-même film workshop in the Mandara mountains, Northern Cameroon Foto: Juvintus Guimaye

Below have we gathered some films made in the Sahel, through this specific project, but also films made in an earlier stage of our collaborative work. We have selected films according to topics, giving each of these topics or themes an introduction. Then there is a series of questions linked to each film. Question we hope that you as audience will be inspired by. Inspired to reflect on and to discuss with others either in your family, neighborhood, school class, or where you work.

 The films can be watched independently or by topic. Enjoy!

"Is it a boy or is it a girl?" Posed at the first moment of life this question expresses, embeds, and underlined the common dispostions toward the path of life for the newborn. It signals the order and the terms of wich gender established itself at the moment of birth. Life is gendered. And so it is in every corner of the world. 

From the litterature in social science and humanities we know that that there are few studies about women in the Sahelian region. With the Sahel on Sahel project are we trying to tell some of these stories. Made by Sahelian students, by women and men themselves.  

At the bottom of this page will you find a series of short films who portray  how women and men live their lives in a specific part of the world, The Far North Region in Cameroon . These films which in various ways portrays lived lives where the common issue might be seen as the cultural expectations to women and mens behaviour are touched upon. The films raises a series of question on the importance of traditions, religion, economy, globalisation and so on. 


The films presented here are made by Cameroonian students, either as a part of their master or phd training, or by trained Cameroonian Visual Anthropologists teaching filmmaking in communities on topic which interests those involved. 

To each film have we developed a set of questions that can be used to trigger discussions and debate in communities and classrom, for different kind of audiences and steakholders.


Marrie a 13 ans, Ilya 13 ans

– Mostapha Bako

Djebba’s cabaret

– Ghislaine Magou Tainon

Veille et deplacé

– faites par....

Mon rêve

– Abdoulazis Ousman

Derrière le masque

– Asta Méré Rachel

Les blessures encore ouverte

– Juvintus Guimaye

Africa South of Sahara is the region where cities are growing the fastes in the world

UN fears in serveral report for increased violence and anarchy in fastgrowing cities in Africa 

Through a selection of films that are made by African and European resarchers and students are we here giving examples on how life is lived in some selected urban settngs. 

We are aksing what are happening in these cities? How is intergration going on?

Selection on ethnographic films dealing with topic connected to fast growing cities can be watched here: 

Urbanisation in Africa



Les Mairuuwas - The Masters of Water

– Trond Waage

Good formal education for all is seen as the key to a better long-term future for the Sahel region. Education improves employability and incomes, narrows gender gaps, lifts families out of poverty, strengthens institutions, and yields benefits that echo to the next generation.

Millions more children in school, yet access to quality education remains a challenge. The good news is that the region has taken the important first steps toward building this future. Over the past 15 years, many more children have been able to access education: enrollment in the region has nearly doubled in primary education and tripled in secondary education. Governments have launched numerous initiatives and announced high-level commitments in support of education.

Still, many children remain out of school, and those who are in school learn far less than they should. In several regions in the Sahel have Jihadist groups prevented schools to stay open. 

Only 12% of the children are enrolled in school and can read and comprehend an age-appropriate passage by the end of primary school. In every Sahel country, fewer than 50% of adult females are literate, compared with 59% in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.

Traditional education 

And what to do when you have gotten your education but not a job?

In this folder have we collected 6 films that in diverse ways talk about education. 5 films from Cameroon and 1 from Mali


The Principal’s Fight

– Sidy Lamine Bagayoko


– Lisbet Holtedahl


– Trond Waage

Juarke : Boys made men in Mboum society

– Saliou Mohamadou


– Ghislaine Magouo Tainon

Pourqoui pas moi

– Yaodam Angèle

Au cours de 2022-mi 2023, 7 ateliers Sahel par lui meme ont été organisés par les anthropologues visuel à Maroua, Cameroun. Au total, 40 films ont été réalisés. Parmi ceux-ci, nous avons sélectionné trois de chaque atelier, soit un total de 21 films.


Derrière la masque

– Asta Méré Rachel

Le Desilusión du Manga

– Juvintus Guimaye

Le dilemme des instants

– Atouna Michel