Helping Chadian Youth Say No to Violent Extremist Recruitment

Mahamat Brahim, a student in Bol, studies for final exams in the newly rehabilitated library.
Mahamat Brahim, a student in Bol, studies for final exams in the newly rehabilitated library.
USAID PACC-Tchad program
Students gain access to enhanced library, reading materials
“It was difficult at the beginning of the school year because of the long-lasting strikes and lack of books to read in preparation of the upcoming exams.”

October 2018 — The security dynamics and economic situation of Chad’s Lac region remain fragile: The Chad-Nigeria border is closed for commerce and approximately 108,000 people have been displaced by the Boko Haram/Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-West Africa conflict.

Since 2016, the region has been able to increase school enrollment and literacy at the primary level with support from the international community. However, middle and high school students have had limited access to classroom education, reading materials, and cultural and scholarly activities.

Chadian authorities often cite low literacy rates, limited job prospects, and geographic and social isolation as driving factors that cause youth to join violent extremist groups.

USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives seeks to strengthen local efforts within targeted communities in the Lake Chad Basin region to withstand or counter violent extremist threats. To help address this threat to youth, in March, USAID partnered with the cultural center in Bol, the region’s capital, to rehabilitate and equip its library with books and furniture to increase youth access to cultural and scholarly activities. USAID also provided information technology equipment and trained youth on library management.

As a result of these efforts, the number of youth registered at the library has increased from 22 to more than 200 in only a couple of months. According to Chadian officials, about 910 pupils are enrolled in the Bol middle school and 1,910 students are enrolled in high school. Chadian officials will encourage all students to join the library during the upcoming school year.

The lack of reading materials in the Bol middle school and high school, as well as the education sector shutdown stemming from several teacher strikes since November 2017, has resulted in uncertainty among final-year high school students. The rehabilitated library and its educational resources have come as a relief to many students, particularly those preparing for their high school final exams.

“It was difficult at the beginning of the school year because of the long-lasting strikes and lack of books to read in preparation of the upcoming exams, and I was really worried,” said Mahamat Brahim, one of the library’s newest registrants, who added that, thanks to the library and its resources, he passed his exams.

“The library is part of my life,” he said. “It has helped me to … interact with other youth as we worked in groups to prepare for the exams.”

In addition to increasing youth access to academic resources, USAID has supported youth engagement and dialogue activities that empower them to become positive and active members of their communities. The activities include sports and cultural events, leadership and conflict prevention trainings, community dialogue sessions, and awareness-raising campaigns.

Read more about the work of USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives in Chad here.

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Last updated: October 01, 2018

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