WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN CHAD
Chad was a central component in a regional strategy to defeat Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa (BH and ISIS-WA). Lake Chad served as an intersection for the greater Sahel, attracting individuals and groups with economic opportunities and historically serving as a sanctuary for criminals and rebel groups. The Chadian government’s response to the BH and ISIS-WA threat has primarily been military in nature. Security forces' ramped up presence around Lake Chad enacted a state of emergency, prompting a large wave of internal displacement. While the government regained large areas of the lake and residents slowly returned, there remains limited civilian government engagement. With USAID/OTI programming in Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, the USAID/OTI Chad program provided a further link across the political, social and economic spheres of the Lake Chad Basin.
USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN CHAD
USAID/OTI’s Chad program sought to strengthen local efforts within targeted communities in the Lake Chad Basin to withstand or counter violent extremist threats. This facilitated the promotion of development and longer-term state and non-state investments in Chad. To achieve these goals, USAID/OTI’s Chad program aimed to:
- Increase stability in targeted communities vulnerable to extremist threats in the Lake Region; and
- Strengthen the effectiveness of institutions and local initiatives that addressed violent extremism in communities affected by BH and ISIS-WA.
USAID/OTI’s agility and locally driven approach positioned it well to undertake countering violent extremism efforts. USAID/OTI’s iterative programming methodology allowed for designing, testing and adjusting region- and community-specific, hypothesis-driven activities at a pace consistent with the dynamic challenges facing Lake Chad Basin due to BH and ISIS-WA. Further, USAID/OTI’s flexible implementation mechanisms and grassroots-level programming enabled engagement with a wide range of local partners in challenging security environments. Possible activities may have included, but were not limited to, community improvement, conflict mitigation, addressing youth grievances and strengthening community cohesion.