School of Social and Political Science

Research project type

Return from Peacekeeping: Mission Effects on Veterans, States, and Communities



Impact of peacekeeping deployments

The number of peacekeepers deployed to Africa has doubled over the last decade and the majority of deployed soldiers are now drawn from African militaries.

In addition to this significant personnel contribution from African countries, substantial international resources in the form of equipment and training are invested into preparing African soldiers for peacekeeping and supporting them while on deployment.

Yet, little is known about the impact of peacekeeping deployments on the thousands of soldiers that return home each year.

Looking beyond an individual’s identity in the military 

This project looks at the effects that peacekeeping deployments can have on soldiers, militaries, and communities upon return from the mission. In doing so, it expands the conventional view of focusing on peacekeeping as an action that takes place at a specific time and in a location abroad.

Instead, the project proposes to explore gradual impacts, which may occur over years and in a soldier’s home country.

The study also looks beyond an individual’s identity in the military to explore the social and cultural networks that soldiers are part of and how these may shift following foreign missions.

Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia

Using in-depth interviews with returned peacekeepers and military decision makers, the project focuses on three key themes:

  • professionalism
  • livelihoods
  • state support

Research will take place in five African countries:

  • Ghana
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • The Gambia

The diverse peacekeeping profile of these countries allows for a deeper understanding of variations in motivations for sending peacekeepers as well as differences in state support for veteran peacekeepers.

Research staff

Principal investigator: Maggie Dwyer (University of Edinburgh)

Associated researcher: Oystein Rolandsen (Peace Research Institute Oslo)

Associated researcher: Osman Gbla (Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone)

Associated researcher: Clair MacDougall (Independent researcher)

Associated researcher: Humphrey Asamoah Agyekum (University of Copenhagen)

Associated researcher: Sait Matty Jaw (Center for Research and Policy Development)

Associated researcher: James Barnett (University of Oxford)

Associated researcher: Saleh Bala (Whiteink Institute for Strategy Education and Research, Abuja)

Project Outputs

MacDougall, C. & Dwyer, M. "Serious Troop Rotation Blockages Could Ease Soon for the UN Mission in Mali." Pass Blue, July 4, 2022.

Dwyer, M. & Gbla, O. '"The Home Stress": The Role of Soldiers' Family Life on Peacekeeping Missions, the Case of Sierra Leone.' International Peacekeeping 29, 1 (2022): 139-164.

Dwyer, M. "Burkina Faso's coup makers capitalised on wider grievances within the ranks." The Washington Post, The Monkey Cage, January 28, 2022.

Dwyer, M. & Gbla, O. “Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the COVID-19 Response: A Growing Domestic Focus for the Army.” pp. 21-31. In Anne-Laure Mahé and Nina Wilén (eds) Facing a pandemic: African armies and the fight against COVID-19, Report No. 91, IRSEM/EGMONT, December 2021.

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