Since gaining independence in 1960, Chad has suffered from political instability, social unrest, and conflicts with neighboring countries. This has left the country with poor infrastructure, an unstable government and a dire humanitarian situation. In addition to problems that Chadian citizens face, the country also has a great and growing number of refugees fleeing violence in neighboring countries. This influx of refugees has created an even more urgent need for humanitarian assistance. Action Against Hunger has been working to address these problems since 2006.
Natural disasters have also increased the need for humanitarian assistance in Chad. While people in the country’s arid Sahelian region frequently experience malnutrition and food insecurity during the routine scarcity between harvests known as the “hunger gap,” 2010 proved particularly harsh. Lack of rainfall, usable farmland, clean water, and sufficient healthcare pushed two-thirds of families in Chad into food insecurity. Malnutrition rates skyrocketed: one in four children in Western Chad were suffering from deadly malnutrition.
In response to the growing numbers of malnourished children, we scaled up our nutrition treatment programs in Chad. Already supporting more than thirty nutrition centers, we extended our reach to include an additional ten health centers in areas with alarming rates of malnutrition. This significantly increased access to and quality of care for severely malnourished children in vulnerable communities affected by the Sahel food crisis.
In addition to expanding nutrition treatment, we are supporting populations in Chad through food security and livelihoods programs designed to strengthen local economies. We support local markets, provide farmers with tools and education for growing healthy crops, vaccinate livestock, and train budding female entrepreneurs in small business management. We are also helping to bolster the country’s weakened health care system. The aim of these initiatives is to strengthen Chad’s resilience to food insecurity and prevent future nutrition crises.