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Five new “Child-friendly spaces” for displaced population in Chad

© UNICEF Chad/2010/Nanguita
Children playing in the yard of one of the new "Child-friendly spaces" opened in Chad

Ndjamena, Chad, 10 August 2010 - UNICEF and one of its partners in Chad, INTERSOS, inaugurated this week five Child-Friendly spaces in the displaced sites around Koukou Angarana, in South-Eastern Chad.

Fatimé Ousmane, mother of five, explained that the Spaces will allow mothers to go and work with peace of mind. "When left alone, children are often exposed to many dangers and as mothers, we worry about them. We are impatient to see all activities start in the spaces", she said.

In the sites around Koukou Angarana, more than 50.000 displaced people have gathered since 2007, fleeing the insecurity at the border with Sudan and inter community fights. They are coping with extremely scarce resources and these spaces will offer moments of relief and fun to children who mostly haven’t been able to go to school.

The inauguration was attended by the Mayor of Koukou Angarana, the Chief of villages (heads of the displaced sites) and partners from the UN system as well as local NGOs. "Beyond Child-friendly Spaces, there is a whole process of community awareness on various issues relating to the protection of children and women", said Arnaud Quemin, UNICEF Chief in Goz Beida.

Many challenges had to be overcome by INTERSOS and UNICEF to be able to open these spaces in a remote area where insecurity remains a great concern for the population and the humanitarian community. An intense rainy season also caused major floods in the region.

In one of the sites, called Habilé 3, the Child-Friendly space couldn’t be opened on time. Despite these difficulties, the Child-Friendly Spaces will now be welcoming children in all other 4 sites (Habilé 1 and 2, Aradib 1 and 2) from 8 am every day but Sundays. In every space, children will be taken care of by one Protection officer and two animators, for games and educational activities.

As well as aiming to protect children, such spaces can also foster child development. "Here, we can start to promote a spirit of peace and tolerance and this is the pledge of a country of peace and tolerance", highlighted Elise Le Carrer who conducted this project for UNICEF partner INTERSOS.

An opinion shared by Nobyengar Nanguita, UNICEF Protection Officer in the Sila region. "We can start to change this generation and break this image of violence that has followed us, Chadians, since so many years", he said.

Child-friendly spaces are widely used by many agencies working in emergency situations or in areas of continuing crisis to provide temporary activities and support for children. They are recognised by UNICEF as a key child protection strategy.

By Mathias Gillman

 

 
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