Chad

Situation Report

Highlights

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners strengthen communities’ resilience
  • Integrated projects that deliver results
  • Water management is the backbone of development
  • Humanitarian aid alone is no longer enough
  • The thorny issue of gender and population dynamics
Doungoulou, Guéra province
31 August 2021, Doungoulou, Guéra province. "By working at the dike, we can buy our own food, school supplies and clothes for our children," says Anassa Hamdane, president of the village peasants committee. Photo credit: OCHA/Augustin Zusanné

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Chad

Situation Report

Key Figures

5.5M
People in need
4M
People targeted
523K
Refugiés
406K
PDI
361K
Personne dans les communautés hôtes
109K
Retournés

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Chad

Situation Report

Funding

$617.5M
Required
$185.7M
Received
30%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Federica Gabellini

Public Information Officer

Augustin Zusanné

Public Information Analyst

Sarah Sakatni

Reporting and Advocacy Officer

Chad

Situation Report
Feature
Visite Djoukoulkouli
31 August 2021, Djoukoulkouli, Guéra. The delegation exchanges with local partners. Photo credit : OCHA/Augustin Zusanné

The work that WFP and its partners are undertaking with communities

A joint mission, organized by the World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), visited four provinces in central and eastern Chad (Guéra, Batha, Ouaddaï and Wadi-Fira) from 31 August to 3 September 2021. The objective of this mission was to observe the impact of the activities carried out by various partners - WFP, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and state services - on vulnerable communities.

"Instead of giving someone a fish every day, it is better to teach them to fish”. This reminder from Dieudonné Bamouni, OCHA's Head of Office, during the mission's meeting with the Governor of Guéra on 31 August in Mongo, sums up the United Nations' wish to see vulnerable communities take ownership of the initiatives put in place for their benefit by humanitarian organizations. This is especially true as humanitarian crises are multiplying around the world, making it difficult for donors to support all affected populations.

"The situation in Chad is unique in the world. There is a fair amount of rain that falls every year, but there are no dams or dikes, in short, no water management. We need to find solutions other than assisting affected populations all the time. They need guidance," pleads Sougour Mahamat Galma, Governor of the Guéra province.

This is precisely what the WFP office in Chad is doing through its program to support community resilience in the Sahel. This program includes several projects that enable communities, affected by a multitude of vulnerabilities, to recover. Most of these projects are integrated, making it possible to meet several needs at the same time. This is the case of the school garden and the community field, implemented in several localities including Chawir in the Guéra province and Brégué-Biguit in the Batha province.

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Chad

Situation Report
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Community forest project in Djoukoulkouli
31 August 2021, Djoukoulkouli, Guéra. "Working in this space allows us not only to have food, but also to own goods," says Hawa. Photo credit: OCHA/Augustin Zusanné

Integrated projects that address several problems at once

The garden produce (vegetables, millet, etc.) feeds the school canteen, improves the nutritional status of the children and boosts schooling. "Since the implementation of the project, we have seen a decrease in the number of cases of malnutrition in the health center and the number of students has increased in the school. From 200 students in 2019, there are now more than 400 students," says Mr. Hamit Brahim, project manager of the NGO Moustagbal, a WFP partner. The school garden and the community field supply both the households and the school. The one-hectare area has increased fourfold, creating a surplus of production that could be sold on other markets.

In light of these promising results, Mr. Claude Jibidar, WFP Representative in Chad, says that the school canteen must be a priority. "If it were up to me, the school canteen would be integrated into all elementary schools in Chad," he said.

Another integrative project involves the installation of a community forest on an empty area, to combat desertification, climate change and to slow down the winds that cause damage in the villages of Djoukoulkouli and Chawir in the Guéra, and Amdjoufour in the Batha.

In Djoukoulkouli, about 100 vulnerable households have been identified to benefit from the cash-for-work program. Beneficiaries go into the bush to collect local seeds for the nurseries. These villagers buy water to irrigate the nurseries and planted shrubs, because, they say, "there is no water here, even for drinking”. The nearest water point is, according to them, 2 km away and, once there, everyone has to wait their turn.

More than 12,000 seedlings have been planted since 2020 on the empty 20-hectare space, which will become a community forest at the foot of the mountain range commonly referred to as the "Queen of the Guéra," and which often serves as a natural windbreak for the town of Mongo and its surroundings. "Working in this space allows us not only to have food, but also to own property. There are people who didn't have chickens in their homes, others didn't have small ruminants. Now we can have all this thanks to the support of Moustagbal and WFP," says Hawa, a 40-year-old resident of Djoukoulkouli.

In Amdjoufour in the Batha, WFP and the Evangelical Community Development Project (PEDC) a national NGO, have integrated agriculture with the establishment of the community forest. This practice is called agroforestry. Thus, the planted trees, following the half-moon technique, will grow along with rainfed and flood-recession crops. This allows, in the short term, to create sources of income for the members of the groups that work in this area. In the medium term, the village will be greened up and will be protected from the strong winds that blow away everything in their path.

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Situation Report
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Pond in Bregue-Birguit
1 September 2021, Bregue-Birguit, Batha. This pond will allow communities to do both market gardening in the dry season and aquaculture. Photo credit: OCHA/Augustin Zusanné

Eating your fill requires water management

Water is indispensable everywhere and for everything, especially in the rural world. All the farmers we met in the four provinces decried its lack, which keeps them vulnerable. However, as the Governor of Guéra said, this resource is often wasted in Chad. His view is shared by an officer of the National Agency for Rural Development Support (ANADER), Mr. Djimnodjial, based in Mongo: "In terms of agricultural production, water is the most important element. Sometimes it rains a lot, but water gets lost in nature. In order to guarantee agricultural production, we must control the water by delaying its passage. It is necessary to allow it time to permeate so that it can bring the maximum moisture to the crops to ensure the completion of their cycles."

Without working with the communities, water control would be of little use. According to WFP, "The amount of water that falls is enough to bring change, but it is also necessary to change the mentality of the population and facilitate access to land for a certain category of people," says Claude Jibidar.

With this in mind, WFP and its partners are working with communities in the Guéra, Batha and Ouaddaï provinces to help them overcome chronic vulnerabilities. In Brégué-Birguit in the Batha, a weir has been built to retain water for the duration of the dry season so that farmers can plant béré-béré (sorghum) and, if possible, undertake market gardening. In addition to the weir, a pond has been built to collect rainwater to help the beneficiaries in their market gardening activities. At the pond, villagers also learn to breed fish. All these elements will allow these people to recover from their vulnerabilities, generating income, strengthening their food and nutritional security and improving school attendance.

In Doungoulou in the Guéra, farmers have found that thanks to the dike system with slopes, the labor force of the village has work to do on site. "The support from WFP and Moustagbal has stopped the rural exodus. Young people used to leave for N'Djamena and other cities in search of better opportunities and to send some money to their parents left behind. Since January 2021, no young people have left the village, because there is work," said Mahamat Dourgane, village chief of Doungoulou. The president of the farmers' committee, Mrs. Anassa Hamdane, adds: "By working on the dam, we can buy school supplies and clothes for our children”.

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Situation Report
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Travailler avec le gouvernement
3 September 2021, Bagarine, Ouaddaï. Development actions can only prosper with the commitment of the Government. Dr Hamadou Abba (in the middle) explaining to the delegation the different aspects of activities. Photo credit: OCHA/Augustin Zusanné

Emergency humanitarian response is no longer enough, it must be accompanied by development actions

In Kouchan, a village about 18 km west of Biltine in the Wadi-Fira province, acute malnutrition is rampant, particularly during the lean season. WFP and the Association for the Promotion of Integrated Development and Training (APPRODIF) are providing seasonal assistance for three months to save children aged 6 to 23 months.

Each year, WFP provides this assistance to several locations throughout Chad, such as Kouchan, to rescue children whose parents are mostly very poor. This year, more than 1.7 million people are severely food insecure, and WFP can only help 690,000 of them -less than half- due to lack of funding. Sudanese, Central African and Nigerian refugees in Chad have even had their food supplies cut off due to underfunding.

Attor Waddak, the chief of Mimi-Goz 2 canton, where Kouchan is located, is aware of the situation and does not want continued humanitarian assistance, but rather support towards self-sufficiency. "Assistance is good, but producing your own food is better, because the benefactor might get tired of you one day," he says wisely. The WFP Representative echoes this statement: "What would make me proud is to come back here in two or three years, not to continue providing food assistance, but rather to buy food for the refugees who really need it," Claude Jibidar hopes.

Changing lives is the goal of the various resilience projects, especially since these initiatives will reduce the chronic vulnerabilities of communities. One example of this type of project is in Amchoka, where villagers have set up a community granary that allows them to sell grain at a good price during the winter months and to protect their village from chronic vulnerabilities with the proceeds. In addition, the farmers are able to process their harvested products through drying tools.

Humanitarian funding partners are beginning to understand the importance of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to lift communities out of vulnerability. "Today, donors themselves know that meeting humanitarian needs alone is no longer enough, development must be included. To do this, we must pool our resources. If we have come together today, it is also to give you a message, that of working together, as a community in support of the Government", says Mr. Dieudonné Bamouni, OCHA’s Head of office.

Working together is one of the pillars of the nexus that allows us to be effective in the field. That's what some members of the humanitarian team in Chad believe. "No single entity or institution can achieve its objectives alone, we must work together and deliver as one, on the ground," advises Mr. Sennen Hountong, UNFPA Representative in Chad.

It is not only humanitarian actors who must work together to pool efforts. Communities have also set the tone through these different projects. Several villages are working side by side to learn, as is the case at the Bagarine site, located a short distance from Abeche. There, WFP has set up a community learning center to train members of six cooperatives on innovative farming techniques. Working together also helps to avoid inter-communal conflicts, which have become recurrent over natural resources in recent years.

Another very interesting aspect of the community learning project in Bagarine is the direct involvement of the State, through the Ouaddaï provincial delegation of agriculture, as WFP implementing partner, with the participation of Adam Barka University in Abéché. The collaboration of the State is certainly appreciated, but it would be even more useful for the national authorities to take ownership of these approaches in order to ensure their long-term impact.

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Chad

Situation Report
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Discussion on gender issues
1 September 2021, Bregue-Birguit, Batha province. The GBV sub-cluster coordinator discusses gender issues with women. Photo credit: OCHA/Augustin Zusanné.

What about gender and demographic growth?

In Chad, women have less access to decision-making power due to socio-cultural norms. Despite this, in all the resilience-building projects visited during this mission (community forest, weir, agroforestry, community waterhole, community granary, and learning center), women are overwhelmingly present, and their work is highly valued. "The contribution of women is more important than that of men. We have tried to work on the mentality of men, there is a change. This is the basis of any viable project," reinforces Serge Badigué, director of PEDC in Oum-Hadjer.

These women work more than men in agriculture and agroforestry, but they also suffer from the burden of multiple childbirths, close in time, without the presence of midwives, which leads to the death of mothers and newborns, severe malnutrition, a very high dependency rate and a great loss of productivity.

Social and cultural norms are such that women have a greater workload than men in these community activities, but the distribution of earnings from the programs is equal. Women's earnings are used for household survival, while men have room to maneuver for their individual needs. The woman is the main actor in production, in addition to her role as a family caregiver, but she has no control over the management of resources, let alone her own. In addition, the majority of these women are heads of households as their husbands have often migrated to gold mining sites or to the cities.

The coordinator of the sub-cluster on gender-based violence (GBV) notes this recurrent problem that undermines community work. "Female genital mutilation, early marriage, rape and physical violence always come up in discussions with women. People are informed but the problem persists. Women are intimidated," laments Adeline Binon Diombo.

If water management is the backbone of development, the integration of contraceptive security with food security on the one hand, and the integration of the prevention of violence against women, including harmful practices, on the other hand, allow for a balance between demographic growth, economic growth and poverty reduction. Taking gender into account is a long-term work, especially when there is gender-based violence. "On GBV, we need to work on the ground, and it takes time. Before, women were not even allowed to speak in public and to conduct their own activities. Now, all that has changed, but there is still a lot to be done," says Abdoulaye Baine, director of Moustagbal.

The mutualization of actions that Mr. Sennen Hounton, UNFPA Representative, would like to see takes into account gender and reproductive health. The realization of a joint project is expected, integrating the reinforcement of resilience, the fight against malnutrition and food insecurity, contraceptive security, and the inclusion of gender, including the fight against violence towards women.

As a conclusion to the mission, WFP, the member agencies of the delegation as well as other humanitarian actors, fully share the point of view of the Mimi-Goz 2 canton chief who wishes to see his population spread its wings and fly on its own instead of being perpetually dependent on humanitarian aid. The encouragement from the Head of WFP to the humanitarian actors is unequivocal: "You have all done an extraordinary job in saving lives. But there is one thing we have failed to do and we have to be honest about it: having people who have been in a situation of emergency for 14 years. Today, we must not only save lives but change lives", invites Claude Jibidar.

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