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.