Countries | Pays

Countries of West and Central Africa

Pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre



© UNICEF/Chad/2008/Walther

In 2008, Chad is ranked among the seven least-developed countries in the world with staggering under-five and maternal mortality rates (200 per 1,000 live births and 1,100 per 100,000 live births respectively).

The growing entry of refugees from the east, at the border with Sudan, has increased tension and misery to an already forsaken land. Serious issues concerning hygiene, sanitation, education and health care continue to haunt the lives of women and children.

The current situation leaves very little hope for Chad’s vulnerable populations. Apart from pitiable development figures, the country has been suffering from ongoing political instability and internal conflicts. Despite the sensitive situation, robust humanitarian support remains insufficient to Chadian people, who depend heavily on subsistence farming, livestock raising and live on less than a $1 a day.

Peace abandoned the country in 1998, when unrest started in the Northern part promoted by members of current president Idriss Déby Itno’s ethnic group, the Zaghawa. In spite of several reconciliation agreements signed between the Government and the rebels, tensions continued to flare up sporadically throughout the following years.

Watch this touching video about a teenager in Chad who wants to thrive in school in order to help his family

After 2005, as a consequence of the referendum that removed constitutional term limits for President Deby, numerous rebel groups were born, composed mainly of Deby’s former partisans. From rear bases in Western Sudan, these groups started to attack villages in the east, launching a wave of internal displacement that has not stopped to date. In spite of dwindling support within the Chadian population and his own tribe, the president won another controversial election in March 2006.

In February 2008, the capital N’Djamena was attacked for two days by rebels. The opposing troops were eventually driven out of the city but street fighting left many dead and wounded, including women and children. Most expatriates were evacuated to Gabon, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, which hampered the implementation of humanitarian programmes.

Humanitarian Situation  

Since 2004, over 250,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur crossed into Eastern Chad, with nearly 85 per cent of them being women and children. They are now living in 12 camps spread out around the region. The latest influx of refugees arrived after an attack on three villages in Western Sudan, in February 2008.

Despite receiving some humanitarian assistance to facilitate access to safe drinking water, sanitation, food, health care and primary education for school-aged children, these refugees wish above all to return to their homes. Since the security situation in Western Darfur remains critical, their departure is not immediately foreseeable.

For the last four years, regular rebel attacks on Chadian villages in the border area of Darfur have led to a spiral of escalating violence throughout Eastern Chad. About 180,000 Chadians have been forced to abandon their villages, the majority of these being from Dadjo and Massalite ethnics. The situation is rapidly leading to disputes over limited resources amongst newcomers and host communities, consequently amplifying the risk of disease outbreaks through overcrowding.

In May 2008, humanitarian actors and the Chadian Government adopted a global framework aiming to create conditions for a sustainable voluntary return of the displaced. In August, the collection of quantitative and qualitative data started and will, once finished, allow the planning of an appropriate response.

For more infomation on the situation of women and children and UNICEF's programmes in Eastern Chad, download the Humanitarian Assistance in Eastern Chad Briefing Book [PDF].

© UNICEF/Chad/2008/Walther

UNICEF in Action
Since 2004 UNICEF has been responding to the needs of an ever rising number of Sudanese refugees, internally displaced population and local communities in Eastern Chad.

Between January and December 2007 the number of displaced Chadians increased from 100,000 to 180,000. About 700,000 people are directly affected by the impact of the new arrivals in their villages– which is illustrated by a depletion of resources, agricultural land and space for habitation.

As the living standards of internally displaced and host communities continue to be significantly lower than those of the 250,000 Sudanese refugees they represented UNICEF’s priority in 2008, followed immediately by continued support to refugees. The variety of interventions covers five sectors:


The objectives of UNICEF’s activities in the education sector are to support the upgrading of capacities for teachers and Parent-Teacher Associations, as well as the improvement of classroom infrastructures and the availability of school materials and textbooks. As lead agency in the education sector, UNICEF works to ensure that technical standards are respected in these regards. All activities are implemented under the umbrella of the Chadian Ministry of Education.

In 2008, for the first time since the beginning of the current humanitarian crisis in 2004, IDP children in three departments have completed a full school year programme, thanks to the joint effort of UNICEFs implementing partners.


UNICEF is working to ensure access to quality health care for mothers and children, through health centers which are managed by its non-governmental [NGO]-partners. Supported activities include the vaccination of children aged less than one year against all common childhood diseases, the supplementation of children under five years of age with Vitamin A and deworming drugs, pre-natal and post-natal care for pregnant and postpartum women, distribution of impregnated mosquito nets, medication, blankets and the training of local health staff. Throughout Eastern Chad, UNICEF is promoting the Accelerated Strategy for Child Survival and Development (ASCS).


UNICEF is providing therapeutic food, anthropometric equipment, drugs and micronutrients to therapeutic feeding centers in refugee camps and IDP sites. In addition, technical support and training of health agents and NGO staff are ensured. As leader of the nutrition sector’s cluster, UNICEF has been spearheading efforts to strengthen the capacities of cluster members and to promote the harmonization of data collection

Child protection

UNICEF is working towards the widespread availability of protection services that prevent and respond to violence, exploitation and abuse of children and women. Activities comprise the consolidation of child-friendly spaces, the building of capacities within grassroots-level organizations or NGOs and the training of community-based child-friendly space animators, traditional leaders, and military on child right issues. Awareness campaigns on the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance (UXO) are being conducted throughout the year. As leader of the sub-cluster for child protection, UNICEF is promoting the harmonization of data collection and programme design.

Since the signature of an agreement between the Government of Chad and UNICEF in May 2007, and the visit of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Children Associated in Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC) in May 2008, 534 children formerly associated with armed forces or groups have been demobilized. Approximately 60% of them have already been reintegrated into their communities of origin.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

UNICEF and the Ministry of Hydraulics are working though NGO-partners and private enterprises in order to provide continued access to safe water and hygienic conditions in IDP-sites and the surrounding host communities. UNICEF continues to ensure the water and sanitation needs of 30,000 refugees in the camp of Oure Cassoni, located in north-eastern Chad.

For more infomation on the situation of women and children and UNICEF's programmes in Eastern Chad, download the Humanitarian Assistance in Eastern Chad Briefing Book [PDF].





UNICEF in West and Central Africa | UNICEF en Afrique de l'ouest et du centre



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