The Sahel region is severely affected by organised violence and an important focus area for security force assistance (SFA). Such assistance aims to build the capacity of government forces to wage counter-insurgency and counter-terror campaigns, prevent organised crime, and control borders. This policy brief discusses challenges related to provision of SFA in the Sahel. It highlights the role of small states such as Belgium, Ireland and Sweden. These small states experience challenges concerning the impact and unintended consequences of their efforts, as well limited autonomy within larger coalitions. Such obstacles hamper the effectiveness of their SFA contributions. Looking at the provision of SFA between 2010 and 2018 in six countries in the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal), this brief summarises lessons learned and suggests ways to address future challenges.