In the space of a decade, the socio-economic, political and security conditions for millions of people living in central Mali has deteriorated. To fully grasp the extent of this situation, it is imperative to understand the local perceptions and needs of populations and give them a voice. The project ‘Central Mali for Security and Development’ aimed to represent and understand the daily lives of populations affected by Mali’s security crisis. This report concludes four years of research carried out by SIPRI and its partner Point Sud during 2019–22. It presents local understandings of governance, development and security—gathered through a mixed-methods approach—with 12 rounds of surveys and complemented by over 700 interviews and focus groups with central Malians. The report offers evidence-based data to address the needs of populations by advocating for multi-level conflict resolution strategies and providing a long-term vision for peace and security.