Chad is consistently ranked as one of the five poorest countries in the world by the Annual United Nations Human Development Report. The measure of the country’s underdevelopment is staggering. Only about 6 percent of the population has access to electricity and only 8 percent access to basic sanitation. Adult literacy is 22 percent. Life expectancy is only 53 years. Around three-quarters of all births take place without the attendance of a skilled health professional.
The country has nonetheless made some progress, for example by reducing the maternal mortality rate by more than a fifth since 2005. And while half of the population lives in extreme poverty, Chad is providing asylum, and allows humanitarian relief, to 480,000 refugees and almost 300,000 internally displaced people. Chad is a young country: 65 percent of the population is under 25 years of age - the median age is 16.8 years.
Humanitarian assistance alleviates human suffering while contributing to stability in the country and its region: Chad hosts more refugees per capita than any other African nation. USAID’s contribution includes food aid and funding for various relief programs.
Although 85 percent of the population works in the agriculture sector, most subsist from farming small areas of land, contributing to a situation of chronic food insecurity in the country. More than 3 million Chadians are in need of humanitarian assistance, while nearly 800,000 people need emergency food assistance.
USAID monitors farming conditions and vulnerable populations through the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, also known as FEWS Net. FEWS Net has been a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises since 1985 and is currently active in 30 countries.
To support the agriculture sector, USAID supports regional institutions that can improve the quality and accessibility of seeds and fertilizer on the marketplace.
The U.S. Government was a leader in recognizing the threat of violent extremism in the Sahel. As early as 2006, USAID was funding programs to address its underlying causes. The current focus is to amplify moderate voices and strengthen national institutions that prevent or counter violent extremism. A network of twelve partner radio stations broadcast locally produced radio programs in local languages as an alternative narrative to violent extremist ideologies.
Recognizing the important role that civil society plays to empower Chadian youth and women, USAID has initiated a multi-year civil society strengthening activity.
USAID also supports Chad’s National Malaria Control Program for better malaria prevention and control.