Relations with the United States and Chad began in 1960 following its independence from France. Over the past few decades, Chad has emerged from a half-century of regional conflicts and internal turmoil to pursue better governance and development. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Chad by recognizing the significant steps the country has taken after decades of instability.

The United States and Chad

The U.S. has supported the Chadian government in committing to more regional stability and security, and promoting human rights and the rule of law. The U.S. government hopes to pursue these goals through the State Department, diplomatic engagement and multilateral, regional and bilateral assistance programs.

Today, over half of Chad’s population lives in poverty and has experienced decades of conflict and instability. Chadians face one of the highest rates of maternal mortality, high infant mortality and life expectancies of fewer than 50 years in the world. Many of Chadians are food-insecure, meaning they do not have consistent access to the food they need for basic nutrition.

To address these issues, USAID has partnered with the U.N. World Food Program to distribute food to those in need. Also, the organization aids in providing money to hungry families and aid farmers by getting the seeds they need to produce more food.

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Chad

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Chad by being its 95th largest goods trading partner with $931 million in total goods in 2016, and goods exported totaling $33 million. Chad was the United States’ 176th largest goods export, and top export categories included vehicles, machinery and electrical machinery.

U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Chad totaled $1 million, and Chad was the U.S.’s 78th largest supplier of goods imports in 2016; interestingly, U.S. goods imports from Chad totaled $899 million in 2016, down 31.1 percent from 2015. The U.S does not have an investment treaty or bilateral tax agreement with Chad, which is a partnership that could lead to better U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Chad in the future.

Uncertain Partnership

Recently, the Trump administration included Chad in Presidential Proclamation 9645 restricting travel from Chadians. The decision to include Chad in the “travel ban” occurred over the objections of the Pentagon and State Department.

Chad has been one of America’s more reliable counterterrorism allies in Africa. Chad has battled Islamic terrorists in the region, including offshoots of Al Qaeda and Boko Haram. Chad’s military has worked closely with Americans, playing host to exercises conducted by the United States.

Over the past decades, many top U.S military officials have talked about the importance of foreign aid and how it strengthens relations with countries around the world and national security. In 2011, senior Pentagon officials — including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Director of the CIA — argued before Congress in halting proposed cuts to America’s foreign aid budget.

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Chad by having a reliable ally in Africa to fight terrorism in the region and a strong trade partner to increase both nations’ economies. It remains to be seen how relations between Chad and the United States continue, but whatever the outcome, peaceful conversations are always preferable.

– Zak Ott

Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in Chad

In Chad, a landlocked country in Central Africa, nearly 63 percent of the 12 million population lives in destitution. Developing sustainable agriculture in Chad poses a challenge for its people and economy.

In addition to poverty, Chad scores very low for many humanitarian indicators, suffering from environmental degradation, political instability and internal conflict. Chad ranked 186 among 188 countries surveyed in the United Nations’ 2016 Human Development Report.

Agriculture is an integral part of the economy and of community life. Agriculture and livestock production accounts for more than one-fifth of Chad’s GDP. The agriculture sector employs nearly 80 percent of Chad’s working population. However, food shortages are widespread. Close to 40 percent of Chadian children under age six suffer from chronic malnutrition.

The Impact of Climate Change on Sustainable Agriculture in Chad

Developing nations are more susceptible to climate change than developed nations. In a recent survey of climate vulnerability, Chad ranked the most vulnerable country to climate change out of 186 countries. Sustainable agriculture, as an adaption strategy to climate change, is also a good practice for increasing agricultural productivity and alleviating poverty and food insecurity.

Most of the population is concentrated in the central and southern regions of Chad, where extreme climate conditions, from drought to flooding, have made the region inhospitable. Other challenges to sustainable agriculture in Chad are poor infrastructure and environmental degradation. It is difficult for farmers to restore the productivity of the degraded land, as there is limited access to agricultural services and other productive resources, knowledge and technology.

Recently, the development of sustainable agriculture in Chad has progressed. For example, farmers have adopted a sustainable rainwater harvesting technique, called Zaï, to overcome desertification and increase productivity. Though Zaï is labor intensive, it could help Chad achieve food security and safeguard it against a changing climate.

In 2016, the government of Chad unveiled its national development plan addressing the need for increased agricultural production and industrialization. By developing new or enhanced techniques for sustainable agriculture, like Zaï, the country is taking practical steps toward achieving a goal that will improve the resilience of agriculture for food security and economic growth.

– Gabrielle Doran

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to chad

The sub-Saharan African nation of Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. Nearly one-half of its 13 million inhabitants live in poverty, with that number reaching 87 percent in rural areas. Chad ranks 184 out of 188 on the Human Development Index, a measure of achievement in three essential elements of human development: life expectancy, education and standard of living. Given these statistics, humanitarian aid to Chad is imperative.

Issues Faced in Chad

Chad faces the overlapping crises of food insecurity, malnutrition, human displacement, epidemics, climate change, drought and chronic poverty. It has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality, high infant mortality and a life expectancy of under 50 years. Over one-third of the population is undernourished, and less than one-third is literate.

Approximately 4.7 million citizens require humanitarian assistance, including 900,000 in need of emergency food. Conflict in neighboring countries has also led to an influx of 409,000 refugees into Chad, which has an extremely limited capacity to shelter them.

International Organizations Providing Humanitarian Aid to Chad

Thankfully, a number of international organizations are providing humanitarian aid to Chad.

The European Commission (EC) is one of the main donors. It focuses largely on food assistance, malnutrition, epidemics, internally displaced people and refugees. The EC has helped 750,000 people through food programs. It has also provided healthcare and education for internally displaced people, protection for those fleeing Boko Haram violence and agricultural programs for refugees.

Solidarites International

Solidarites International assists farmers and herders, whose livelihoods have been in decline for several years. It provides them with resource management to combat lack of income and malnutrition, and risk reduction activities to better handle natural disasters.

Solidarites also establishes agricultural cooperatives, credit facilities and various income-generating activities. Joining the fight against malnutrition, it feeds therapeutic meals to children under five and leads campaigns for nutrition and hygiene awareness. To reduce the usage of unsanitary water, Solidarites rehabilitates water points and helps communities better manage their water supplies.

UNICEF Providing Aid For Children

In 2018, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) plans to provide treatment for 169,200 young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, measles vaccinations for 147,000 children and clean water for 182,500 conflict-affected people. It estimates that there are 4.4 million people and 2.5 million children in urgent need. Of these, UNICEF hopes to reach 763,800 and 502,650 respectively.

Its multi-faceted humanitarian strategy encompasses a broad range of solutions. It includes children’s rights, psychosocial support for refugees, care for unaccompanied children, family reunification services and mine-risk education. To meet the need, UNICEF is requesting $54 million in funding for 2018.

Humanitarian aid to Chad is essential yet underfunded. The international community bears the responsibility of intervening on behalf of the Chadian people. While many organizations are doing amazing work on the ground in Chad, more help is urgently needed to combat the complex crises facing the nation.

– Anna Parker

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in Chad

Infrastructure encompasses many things, including roads, electricity and water systems. The infrastructure in Chad has been lacking, which affects its citizens’ daily lives. However, many groups are lending a helping hand to Chad so the lives of its citizens can improve.

Problems with infrastructure in Chad can be attributed to the civil war and poor management by the central government. The decades-long civil war damaged many of the country’s roads, and the remaining roads are made of dirt and are often at risk of eroding. The distributors of power and water are often corrupt and demand an excessive amount of money for their services. Although water and electricity are available in the capital, they are expensive and not available to most of the population in rural Chad.

Due to its many problems, the quality of infrastructure in Chad is ranked 143rd out of 148 countries in the world.

One of the most important things that good infrastructure helps with is the maintenance of water. A strong water infrastructure means that people do not have to wonder whether or not their drinking water is contaminated. Unfortunately, Chadians must worry if their water is safe to drink. People in rural Chad have to rely on traditional water wells as their main water resource. Unfortunately, these wells are susceptible to surface contamination. Bacteria and disease can propagate in the wells.

Although Chad is having problems with its infrastructure, there are people who are willing to help. Spirit of America is a group of American troops who help people in impoverished nations improve their lives. These troops have gone to Chad and built water pumps in key towns and cities. Prior to the troops arriving, these towns and cities did not have any running water.

The immediate effect of building water pumps is a safe water source for the town. If a town has a clean and safe water source, its quality of life will improve and the occurrence of disease will decrease.

Another effect of building water pumps is that they function as a means of counterterrorism. Extremist groups often use the lack of water as a rallying call for people to join their cause. Once there is a proper water system available to people, the extremists have less backing for their cause and will not be able to recruit as many people.

Chad has had troubles with regard to infrastructure, but things are beginning to improve. With the assistance of groups such as Spirit of America, improvements in Chad’s infrastructure can have a positive impact on its citizens.

– Daniel Borjas

Photo: Flickr

Women's Empowerment in ChadLike in a lot of the countries in Africa, women’s empowerment in Chad is lacking immensely. Lack of freedom, child marriage, violence and mutilation are a few of the issues women must face in Chad.

A tradition that resides in many countries in Africa, in different tribes and families, is female genital mutilation(FGM), an act that young girls must go through as a rite of passage into womanhood. One type of practice is confined to the eastern parts of the country nearing Sudan, but FGM crosses ethnic and religious lines and is performed by Christians and Muslims all over Chad.

There is an estimate that 60 percent of the women in Chad have undergone the procedure and that it is even more prevalent in rural parts of the country. There is no law that makes these practices a crime, but the act is prosecutable as an involuntary physical assault against a minor. A new law, drafted in 2001, would specifically criminalize the practice of FGM.

Child marriage is extremely common in Chad and is the main reason why young girls have to leave school early. Over two-thirds of young girls will have been married before the age of 18. To add, it is a norm in the country for many of the men to have more than one wife and large extended families of wives and children. There are organizations that are trying to raise awareness about the higher health risks for young girls when they become pregnant and are also trying to encourage them to stay in school.

In Chad, there is inequality between the genders in three different dimensions. The different dimensions being reproductive health, empowerment and labor market participation. Reproductive health refers to maternal ration and adolescent birthright. Empowerment refers to the share of parliamentary seats held by women and the share of the population, who are women, with at least some secondary education.

With inequality of genders comes violence. Around 18 percent of women in Chad who have been in a relationship, ranging from ages 15 to 49, have had a partner commit some type of physical or sexual violence act against them at least once in their lifetime. Women in Chad are citizens who have full voting rights but lack the knowledge about certain rights including their right to protection from gender-based violence. Many women are unaware that rape is a crime and see it as just an indecency. Without more knowledge on rights, women’s empowerment in Chad is stifled.

To bring back women’s empowerment in Chad, organizations like UNICEF are uplifting women by informing them about their rights. They are confronting violence and consolidating peace in Chad. The women of Chad are protesting against the violence against them but they still need support while they continue to deal with the gender-based violence and abuse in their country.

– Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

Why is Chad PoorChad is a landlocked nation within Africa and one of the world’s poorest countries. As 87 percent of the rural population lives below the poverty line, many raise the question, “Why is Chad poor?” While the answer is multidimensional, the following are three major reasons for poverty in Chad.

1. Climatic Variations
As Chad’s climatic conditions can change drastically from droughts to torrential rains and flooding, the nation lacks reliable production of harvests, which is the main answer to the question, “Why is Chad poor?” Because the amount of rainfall varies drastically from one year to the next, harvests of staple foods such as millet and maize are often put in jeopardy. When a period of drought lasting over a year is followed by heavy rains that bring floods and destroy crops, food insecurity becomes a consistent threat and ongoing problem. According to the World Food Programme, Chad ranks 73rd out of 78 countries on the Global Hunger Index.

2. Poor Public Services
While there are a few hospitals and health centers within the country, the facilities within them are poor and understaffed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were only 345 doctors working in the country between 2000 and 2010, which equates to just 0.4 physicians for every 10,000 people. Along with a lack of access to proper healthcare, underdeveloped infrastructure and limited human resources serve as major obstacles towards the education of those within Chad, as only one-third of adults are literate and just two-thirds of youths are enrolled in basic schooling.

3. Economic Misfortune
Another critical area in need of assessing in order to answer the question “Why is Chad poor?” is the recent oil crisis. Since joining the list of oil-producing countries in 2003, Chad’s economy has been heavily dependent on oil. With the plunge in oil prices in 2014, the nation has faced a continuing recession, leading to projected cuts in public services as well as an expected rise in poverty.

While the question “Why is Chad poor?” may seem too complicated to determine, reducing poverty within the nation, as well as globally, is a highly achievable task. Through the assistance of foreign aid, developing nations are able to increase the accessibility of productive public services, and for Chad, this would mean a major increase in the amount of citizens able to experience the empowerment of an education and good health in their future.

Kendra Richardson

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in ChadThe Republic of Chad is a nation located in Central Africa, and is home to about 11.8 million people. The nation has endured a difficult past, which includes three decades of civil war from the time it stopped being part of the French African holdings in 1960. Today, Chad is a presidential republic with three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. Despite progress made, one weakness that this government has shown is an inability to protect human rights in Chad.

According to the 2015 United States Department of State’s Human Rights Practices report on Chad, there are three human rights problems that stand out above the rest: security force abuse, harsh prison conditions and discrimination and violence against women and children.

Protecting people from physical danger is an integral part of human rights protection, but Chad has largely failed in this area. According to reports, the government or its agencies have committed illegitimate killings, including by torture. A tragic example of this occurred in the fall of 2014, when protests against a variety of issues, including increased fuel prices, was met with live fire from police. According to Freedom House, a self-described “watchdog organization” that aims to spread freedom and democracy around the globe, between three and five protestors were killed. Unfortunately, an end to events like these may not come anytime soon due to a lack of accountability. The Department of State’s report found that Chad’s government rarely punishes those who commit abuses.

There are 45 prisons in Chad. Unfortunately, the conditions in these prisons are absolutely reprehensible. Finding oneself in one of these prisons can be potentially life-threatening due to a number of reasons, including inadequate food storage and deleterious sanitary conditions.

Human rights in Chad must be protected equally among all people, but this is unfortunately not always the case. Women, for instance, widely report instances of domestic violence. While this is technically against the law, police have seldom been helpful and women have few legal options. One can only hope that Chad will take steps to improve its protection of human rights, so that its citizens can one day enjoy a higher quality of life.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Flickr

Diseases in Chad

The degree of the risk to get infectious diseases in Chad, the biggest landlocked country on the African continent, is critically high. Typhoid, cholera, malaria and hepatitis E tend to become more widespread in the rainy season.

Chad’s population continuously grows due to the country’s high fertility rate and a large youth cohort. More than 65% of the populace is under the age of 25, although the mortality rate is high and life expectancy is low. Diseases in Chad caused the world’s third-highest maternal mortality rate. According to UNICEF, 33% of children between 12-23 months are not vaccinated against childhood diseases.

Among blood or waterborne diseases in Chad, the most concerning are bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E and typhoid fever. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, water contact disease schistosomiasis, respiratory disease meningococcal meningitis and some of the animal contact diseases including rabies had a large outbreak in 2016 and are also among the most threatening. In the past decade, Chad has faced epidemics of meningitis, measles and cholera with increasing severity.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) identified the first hepatitis E cases and treated 885 patients with Acute Jaundice Symptoms (AJS), with numbers increasing to an average of around 60 new cases a week. AJS commonly causes the yellowing of the skin and eyes, which can indicate if a person has hepatitis E. In total, 45% of cases tested positive for hepatitis E. Since September 2016, 11 have died, including four pregnant women among hospitalized individuals, but the fatality rate could be underestimated. Nearly 90% of the AJS cases were reported from Am Timan which appears to be the epicenter of the outbreak.

The government of Chad officially declared a cholera epidemic on August 30, 2010. In January 2011, the number of cases started to increase again and during September, 4,410 cases and 83 deaths were reported. The high mortality rate appeared due to the weakness of the monitoring system, the lack of appropriate health strategies and of access to health services for patients and the poor quality of existing health services.

As with some other diseases in Chad, cholera appears during the rainy season in the regions surrounding the Lac Chad. In 2014, 172 cases of cholera were notified in the regions of Lac, Mayo Kebbi and N’Djamena. In 2016, no cases were notified. Given the low levels of access to a sustainable water source (only 52% of Chad’s population have access) and improved sanitation (12%), it is likely to be a continuous problem.

In 2016, more than a million cases of malaria were notified among other diseases in Chad. UNICEF and the World Health Organization have launched a distribution of bed nets, medicines, malnutrition treatment for children under five and stimulated prenatal services such as vaccination and preventive malaria treatment.

The causes of malaria are dirty water and garbage that become the nests for mosquitoes. More important, even with vaccination, is to use nets, especially covering children’s and elders’ beds, as the disease affects them the most.

Travelers to Chad should follow standard hygiene recommendations in terms of water and food safety. These should protect them against hepatitis E, as the risk of person to person transmission is very low. In order to control these epidemics and reduce morbidity and mortality rates associated with cholera, malaria, yellow fever, measles and meningitis outbreaks, UNICEF in collaboration with Chad’s government plans to launch mass vaccination of the entire population and returnees of all ages to prevent further spread of epidemic diseases in Chad.

Yana Emets
Photo: Flickr

As the rainy season approaches in the war-torn Lake Chad region of Africa, humanitarian organizations stand on high alert. The Lake Chad Basin is composed of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. With some of these countries facing violent attacks from Boko Haram and others in desperate humanitarian circumstances, this upcoming rainy season poses a threat to millions of lives. Fortunately, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), USAID and other humanitarian organizations are coming together to figure out solutions to the Lake Chad crisis.

The focal threat of the rainy season is disease and famine, caused by flooding and muddy roads which limit the accessibility and mobility of populations. With more than seven million people already suffering from malnutrition in this region, the threat of the rainy season puts 17 million individuals, mainly women and children, directly at risk. Of those 17 million, 5.6 million children are in danger of contracting water-borne diseases such as cholera, which can prove fatal if not treated.

Amplified by the violence occurring in the Lake Chad region (specifically conflict in Northern Nigeria), the threat of this upcoming rainy season is palpable. Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria prevents much of the aid from reaching the affected population. The group has also destroyed vital infrastructure such as medical clinics, schools, water pipelines, bridges and roads, which has left many without access to essential services.

With 2.3 million people already displaced in the Lake Chad region, it is essential that humanitarian organizations work with haste. After meeting at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, international humanitarian agencies have devised a response plan for 2017. However, it will require a budget of $1.5 billion, which is out of reach for most aid agencies.

Despite the lack of funding, UNICEF and its partners have stayed committed to the cause, going to the communities at the highest risk for cholera outbreaks and teaching families about sanitation and how to protect themselves against water-borne infections. In Niger, Cameroon and Chad, the distribution of essential drugs and bars of soap have helped out the citizens living in internally displaced persons’ camps. Humanitarian organizations are also urging the governments of the affected populations to take their responsibilities seriously and protect their civilians.

Despite the difficulties faced by both the concerned communities and the aid organizations trying to reach them, UNICEF, the WHO and other international humanitarian agencies still dedicate their resources to helping those in the Lake Chad crisis.

Kelly Hayes

Photo: Flickr

Lake Chad_Hunger
A hunger crisis in the Lake Chad basin has unfolded since Boko Haram has left much of Nigeria and surrounding nations in ruins.

The people in the region are facing famine-like conditions due to being forced to abandon their crops to flee Boko Haram. More than eight million people in the Lake Chad basin are currently struggling with hunger. The area is plunging further into food scarcity as more crops go unharvested. Some crops are even being burned as Boko Haram raids and loots villages.

Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group that has created unrest with bombings, abductions and assassinations. Its followers believe that the Nigerian government is run by non-believers, and Muslims should be forbidden from taking part in any activities associated with Western society, including voting in elections and participating in secular education.

While the group was founded in 2002, military operations began in 2009 in an attempt to create an Islamic state. The name Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden,” when translated loosely from the Hausa language. The U.S. declared Boko Haram a terrorist group in 2013.

Boko Haram spread its military campaign into the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The U.N. estimates that 14 million people in the region are in need of humanitarian assistance.

An estimated 480,000 children across the four countries affected by Boko Haram are suffering from acute malnutrition. Basic supplies in refugee camps are scarce, and aid groups cannot reach those in villages occupied by Boko Haram as well as remote areas to offer humanitarian assistance. Of the children in critical need of assistance, U.N. officials estimate that 75,000 could die within a few months.

The hunger crisis in the Lake Chad basin is so severe that Doctors Without Borders physicians have added food to their bags of medical supplies. The U.N.’s World Food Programme delivered aid to more than one million people in December 2016, a sharp increase from the 160,000 people it assisted in October 2016. The World Food Programme is in desperate need of more funding to deliver life-saving assistance to all those in need in the region.

To help relieve the hunger crisis in the Lake Chad basin, you can make a donation to the World Food Programme.

Cassie Lipp

Photo: Flickr