Situation Report
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.