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Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

EiE Crisis Spotlight: Eastern Chad

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Location of Crisis

Eastern Chad is composed by Ouddai, Sila, Wadi-Fira and Ennedi regions.

Timing of Crisis

From 2003, unrest in neighboring Sudan’s Darfur region spilled across the border, along with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese and Central African Republic refugees. They have been joined by thousands of Chadians who are fleeing rebel fighting as well as violence between ethnic Arab and ethnic African Chadians. According to a May 2013 OCHA document, inter-communitarian conflicts in Darfur (Sudan) in early 2013 caused the massive displacement of population in direction of the Tissi zone, locality situated in the southeast part of Chad.

Affected Populations

According to the November 2012 OCHA Humanitarian Dashboard, people affected by the crisis include refugees and IDPs as well as migrants returning from Libya and Nigeria. In addition, according to UNHCR as of January 2013, Chad hosted some 373,695 refugees and has 90,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). In September 2012, there were 288,700 refugees from Sudan, 56,700 from the Central African Republic (CAR). The agency states that by January 2013, there were 90,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 35,000 returned IDPs and 550 urban refugees and asylum-seekers. According to OCHA, eastern Chad is already home to about 300,000 refugees from Darfur and thousands of others from CAR. Chad has, since December 2012, received at least 4,000 new refugees from CAR, in addition to some 65,000 already there.

Furthermore, in March 2013 the first wave of 24,000 people fled Darfur and arrived in Tissi, a remote area in Chad’s southeastern Sila Region; 8,000 were Sudanese and 16,000 Chadians. Most of them being women and children. According to the Reliefweb Global Emergency Overview of July 2013, in early July, more than 30,000 refugees and 20,640 Chadian returnees have arrived since march in the volatile border area of Tissi, following intertribal violence in central and northern Darfur. An IRIN article from 12 April 2013 highlights that at least 74,000 people fled into Chad from Darfur in the past two months, 50,000 of them in the past week alone, sparking the largest influx of refugees from Sudan into Chad since 2005.

Brief Description of the Situation

According to the BBC Chad profile, Chad’s post-independence history has been marked by instability and violence stemming mostly from tension between mainly Arab-Muslim north and the predominantly Christian and animist south. In the mid-1990s the situation stabilised; in 1996 the first election was held. In 1998 an armed insurgency began in the north and a Libyan-brokered peace deal in 2002 failed to put an end to the fighting.

Youth in a RET programme in one of the Eastern Chad camps.
From 2003 unrest in neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region spilled across the border, along with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees. They have been joined by thousands of Chadians who are fleeing rebel fighting as well as violence between ethnic Arab and ethnic African Chadians. According to the November 2012 OCHA Humanitarian Dashboard, in the border areas in south and east Chad there are high levels of insecurity due to banditry and organized crime. UNHCR highlights that the political and security situation in the country is stable thanks to improvements in relations and the work of the joint Chadian-Sudanese border-monitoring force. However, the Sudanese refugees in Chad are still reluctant to return home due to the ongoing instability in Darfur. Moreover, as the situation in CAR remains tense, a further influx of refugees continue to arrive in Chad.

According to a March 2013 document from the United Nations and Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Aminata Gueye, representative in Chad for UNHCR said: “We are facing the greatest influx of Sudanese refugees since 2004 and the UNHCR is even more concerned about the developing situation in the Central African Republic, from where we could expect more than 15,000 new refugees in the coming months. Right now, we simply do not have the funding to respond simultaneously to these emergencies and we are obliged to pull resources from existing programmes in order to assist these extremely vulnerable refugees.”

Furthermore, UNICEF has reported that Tissi lacks basic social services, which most have been destroyed or damaged during the 2004-2006 civil war and ethnic tension in the Sila region. According to the April 2013 IRIN report, the refugees which are in Tissi lack everything and are living in very dire conditions. They need food, water, and shelter. UNHCR states the relocation of at least 8,000 Sudanese refugees from Tissi, to the Goz Amir and Djabal refugee camps in Sila Region. The relocation is expected to help in the provision of assistance to the new arrivals and to improve their security. Finally, despite favorable rainfall in 2012 and better agricultural production, 1.8 million people remain at risk of food insecurity in 2013. Drought and the impact of climate change are putting poor families at risk of food insecurity.

Different sources highlight the following drivers of crisis:

-Refugees from Sudan and CAR
-Internal displacement
-Natural disasters such as floods and droughts
-Return of migrants fleeing violence in neighbouring countries

Impact on Education

RET states that in eastern camps, the socio-economic situation is already unsteady and the influx of refugees is resulting in higher level of competition for the few services already provided, such as education. This organisation highlights that there is a lack of education opportunities and a lack of or limited access to accredited education for the adolescents and youth.  According to IRIN news, there is a common need among the refugee and returnee children in Chad which is education. According to Reliefweb, Radio Dabanga states that there is a shortage of teachers and kindergarten centres, lack of furniture as well as problems students face with enrolment at universities and higher educational institutes upon completing secondary school in the camps. Furthermore, IRIN news highlights the challenges concerning the integration of children into Chad's education system. According to a UNHCR report (Finding our Way: the Education Strategy for Refugees in Chad 2013-2016), refugees have access to education in Chad, as supported by Chad’s signature of International instruments. However, due to the Government’s policy of encampment for the majority of refugees and the weak infrastructure available in the refugee-hosting regions of the country, most schools have been established in the 17 refugee camps (12 in the east and 5 in the south). There are still many challenges remaining in ensuring access to quality education for refugees in Chad.

RET is providing secondary education in Farchana, Gaga, Bredjing, Treguine, Goz Amir and Djabal camps. Since 2005, RET provides Sudanese refugees in the Eastern camps with formal and non-formal post-primary education programmes, either directly in school's settings or in non-formal settings (e.g. literacy and numeracy coupled with life skills leading to completion of primary education, Secondary Education Distance Learning programmes- SEDL). In addition, RET is particularly concerned to achieve gender parity in school and is applying different strategies to achieve it. Finally, RET organises accredited teacher training at secondary school level to strenghten  the quality of education. RET has also been mandated by the UNHCR to implement the DAFI programme allowing Sudanese, Central African and urban refugees established in Chad to benefit from tertiary studies opportunities.

According to UNHCR, the overall net enrollment rate (NER) is 37% for refugee children and it highlights that there are an estimated 76,536 out-of-school children, 30,000 being at primary school age. There is also a poor condition of learning spaces which has negative impact on student’s learning and motivation. Many classrooms need to be repaired while other children learn under trees and plastic sheeting due to the lack of space. In addition, many schools do not have access to water points, separate latrines for boys/girls, a proper space for the teachers and school directors and a lockable storage space.

The 2013 United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Chad states the lack of effective establishment of conditions conducive to sustainable return and/or integration of IDPs, particularly in a context where resources are more and more scarce. Moreover, it highlights that the recurrent floods put more children in need of access to quality education. With regards to the Education system, in the East, Sudanese refugees have not yet integrated the Chadian Education system, but instead follow the Sudanese curriculum and attend schools entirely run by NGOs. According to an IRIN article,  Sudanese refugee children are not receiving birth certificates while the ones from CAR [the Central African Republic] do, this means that the children may not be able to sit for exams - when they go back home, they may also not be recognized there.

RET makes available accredited certificates of primary and secondary education issued by the Sudanese Ministry of Education to all the students in the twelve Eastern Chad refugee camps. IOM states that refugee children who were born and grew up outside Chad face serious challenges in adapting to the education system, if they do exist in their location, either in French or Chadian Arabic. According to the RET, in the Sudanese refugee camps in Eastern Chad, a small minority of young refugee people in age to benefit from secondary level courses are actually registered with the Secondary Education partners in Eastern Chad and only 14 of all those students are given an opportunity to pursue tertiary studies (through the DAFI programme).

Education Actors Responding to the Crisis

The following education actors are responding to the crisis:

  • RET is currently present in Ouaddai and Sila regions in Farchana, Gaga, Bredjing, Treguine, Goz Amir and Djabal camps, along with the implementation of ad hoc projects (accredited exams organisations and the DAFI programme) in the camps of Milé, Kounougou, Touloum, Iridimi, Am Nabak and Ouré Cassoni.
  • Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS)  in Sila and Wadi-Fira
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Ennedi
  • Christian Outeach Relief and Development (CORD) in Ouddai

According to the Reliefweb, insecurity in eastern Chad and in southern Chad, continues to limit humanitarian access.

Needs and Challenges

The Education cluster response plan aims in 2013 at fulfilling three sector-specific objectives to:

  • Increase the access to quality preschool and primary education for affected children (refugees, IDPs, returnees, forced repatriated migrants, host communities and other vulnerable children)
  • Promote equity between boys’ and girls’ access to quality preschool and primary education by improving gender parity index and retention rate for girls
  • Strengthen institutional capacity of the Government and community-based associations through development of capacity-building activities ensuring a better governance and effective management of the education system in affected areas.

UNHCR Education Strategy for Refugees in Chad highlights the need of:

  • Ensuring that children and adults are provided with spaces in which to learn and that learning opportunities address various needs, whether formal or non-formal education
  • Getting children into schools through a recognized curriculum, the recruitment and training of teachers, and learning/teaching materials are all necessary to support quality education.
  • Making sure that refugee schools are safe learning spaces which are free from violence and exploitation. Particularly amongst conflict-affected communities, communication skills focused on listening, empathy and conflict resolution should be transmitted by both teachers and students.

According to UNICEF, children need child-friendly spaces as they provide safe environments and serve as recreational areas, and restore a sense of normalcy. Those spaces offer a protective environment to children traumatized by the conflict. They add many of the basic necessities of life-including safe water, adequate sanitation, public health, nutrition, protection and education-are lacking.

Concerning youth education needs and existing gaps in Eastern Chad, RET highlights that in the Sudanese refugee camps in Eastern  Chad, the diversity of post-secondary oportunities shall be diversified in order to match youth's expectations toward their future. RET emphasis the need for professional trainings to be offered to refugee youth in a greater scope for their self-reliance and complement the few tertiary studies opportunities already available. Furthemore, several community-based surveys demostrate the great demand for literacy and numeracy courses, based on the Life Skills programme RET implemented in the past. Adults and out-of-school youth are requesting this type of basic learning for them to be more autonomous in their daily life and benefit from subsequent vocational trainings.

According to the Reliefweb, the 20th of March the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Chad Mr Thomas Gurtner met with key regional partners in Dakar in order to develop a common Sahel strategy and to raise the alarm on the funding crisis facing humanitarian actors in Chad. The 2013 United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Chad states that the funding cluster requirement for 2013 for education is of $6,216,140.

Tools and Resources

The following key INEE resources in English, French and Arabic can be used to support EiE efforts in Eastern Chad.


Key Information Sources

UNHCR (2013). "Finding our Way: The Education Strategy for Refugees in Chad 2013-2016".


Key Words

Refugee Camps, Primary and Secondary Education Access & Quality, Learning Safe Places


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