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 has 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 20 percent since 2005. And while half of the population lives in extreme poverty, Chad provides 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.
USAID programs in Chad provide humanitarian relief, support a democratic transition, and address drivers of violent extremism.
Humanitarian assistance alleviates human suffering that is impacted by instability in the country and its regions and is implemented in an impartial manner: Chad hosts more refugees per capita than any other African nation. USAID’s contribution includes food assistance 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 chronic food insecurity in the country. More than 6.9 million Chadians need humanitarian assistance, while 2 million people are categorized as food insecure.
USAID monitors farming conditions and vulnerable populations through the Famine Early Warning Systems Network or FEWS Net. FEWS Net is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises 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 in the marketplace.
The U.S. Government is a leader in recognizing the threat of violent extremism in the Sahel. As early as 2006, USAID started funding programs to address its underlying causes. The current focus is to amplify moderate voices and strengthen national institutions that contribute to countering violent extremism. A network of twelve partner radio stations broadcast locally produced radio programs in local languages, and civics education is taught in primary and secondary schools using textbooks developed with USAID funding.
Recognizing the important role that civil society plays in empowering Chadian youth and women, USAID initiated a multi-year civil society strengthening activity. The civil society activity aims to rebuild Chadians’ interest in engagement with government institutions and provide training, workshops, and networking opportunities for Chadian civil society organizations (CSOs) to better equip them with tools to productively and effectively engage those institutions.
UNICEF is the recipient of two COVID-19 grants to support the readiness, delivery, and post-delivery monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccine in Chad. Activities support strengthening the cold chain, awareness-raising interventions to boost vaccination demand through the involvement of key community organizations, and the use of tailored communication activities for vulnerable or highly exposed populations (refugees, internally displaced people, nomads, and front-line health personnel).
USAID supports Chad’s National Malaria Control Program for better malaria prevention and control, routine vaccinations, including polio, to decrease infant and child mortality, and longer-term training by Yale University of health professionals at Chad’s new National Institute for Public Health.