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

EiE Crisis Spotlight: Southern Chad


Location of Crisis

Chad has a long history of internal conflict that, over time, has affected all regions in the country, and lately has been affected by neighbouring countries crises. The crisis in Southern Chad  is located in the regions of Logone Oriental and the Moyen Chari.

Timing of Crisis

Chad has experienced chronic instability since its independence in 1960 and has been affected by the neighbouring countries crises. From 2003, unrest in neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region spilled across the border, along with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese and Central African Republic refugees.

Affected Populations

According to UNHCR, in 2009, in a south-eastern Chad area up to 10, 500 refugees from Central African Republic are now estimated to have sought safety. Most of the arrivals are women and children which have fled ongoing fighting in north-eastern CAR between rebel groups and the military. In a socio-economic study undertook in 2010 in the camps in the south, 65% of the population was under 18. Moreover, according to Care International, many of the refugees which are arriving are elderly, sick, pregnant women, children or mentally and physically disabled people.

These newly arrivals are being integrated into existing camps in southern Chad. According to the Reliefweb Global Emergency Overview of July 2013, in early July, on Chad’s southern border, ongoing political turmoil in the Central African Republic has resulted in an estimated 7,500 refugees and returnees having entered Chad, bringing the total amount of CAR refugees present in Chad to 69,889.

Brief Description of the Situation

Chad has a long history of internal conflict, foreign interventions and being affected by spill over from other conflicts in the region. According to an Actalliance appeal, Chad has experienced chronic instability since its independence in 1960 and has been affected by the neighbouring countries such as Sudan, the Central African Republic and Lybia. The IRIN news stated in April 2013, that Chad is grappling with an influx of refugees and returnees into its south-eastern regions, mainly from neighbouring Sudan and others from the Central African Republic (CAR) following a series of inter-ethnic clashes in Darfur and after the coup in CAR which has worsen the humanitarian conditions in many regions of the country.

Chad Relief Foundation ©
Students attempt to study in a makeshift classroom in a refugee camp in the south of Chad.
According to a UNHCR report (Assessing and Monitoring Youth and Adult Literacy: Field Assessment Report, Refugees from the Central African Republic, Southern Chad, by Therese MU Pankratov), the first wave of refugees from CAR to Chad arrived in the fall 2002, when CAR became occupied by the rebel forces of General Bozize.  This lead to the establishment of Amboko camp. The second wave of refugees was in 2005, following the presidential elections. Finally, the third wave in 2006 was due to the unrest and violence in the region of Paoua. The second and third waves led to the creation of Gondjé camp and Dosseye camp. Moreover, according to CARE International, which between 2007 and 2009 held literacy courses in the refugee camps in the Southern part, the political turmoil in the CAR has led to a new wave of people seeking refuge in Chad over the last few months. More than 6,500 people have left CAR in 2013 to escape the renewed fighting, looting and instability of this often forgotten crisis (see Central African Republic update).

According to UNHCR, many of the CAR refugees are in dire need of assistance. Many are sheltered under trees in the open or others have constructed shelters that offer very little protection from the weather. The main problem remains the logistical challenges to reach the area. Roads are in very bad condition and when the rainy season starts they become impassable. In addition, according to CARE Chad’s country director “ a lack of shelter supplies has meant that some refugees have spent nearly a week sleeping under trees, with no protection from the sun, wind and rain. We are increasingly concerned about the supply of water, sanitary infrastructure, food and schools in the camps to support this growing refugee population.” Finally, according to the UNHCR, humanitarian allocation to Chad is for the most part allocated to the refugee population in the East, thus the south has to become more self-sufficient.

Impact on Education

According to the Youth and Adult Literacy UNHCR report, the long history of internal conflict, foreign interventions and the spill over from other wars in the region have created "an insecure environment that has affected teacher and student retention and access to school, and that has diverted government resources away from education". According to IRIN news, there is a common need among the refugee and returnee children in Chad which is education. Furthermore, the agency highlights the challenges concerning the integration of children into Chad’s education system.

According to the UNHCR Youth and Adult Literacy report,  there has been dramatic examples of the destruction and robbing of primary and secondary schools. It also highlights that the IDEN (Inspection Departmental Education National), which is the governmental agency in charge of education in the area, including of refugees, has one inspector in charge of non-formal education and literacy effort for youth and adults not enrolled in formal education. However, in 2010, there was no literacy courses held. Furthermore, this report states that there is one primary school in each camp supported by ACRA. There is an average of 58 students per teacher in Gondje and Amboko camps and 31 students per teacher in Dossey camp. However, data for secondary school enrolment is not collected and the number of registered youth in training is very low. Access to primary education and technical and professional training was good, but on the other hand, access to secondary education was very weak. In addition, the quality of education and adult illiteracy were very low.

In the Human Development Index, Chad is today ranked close to the bottom and the estimated average years of schooling is one of the lowest in the world (3 years). Furthermore, Chad has one of the lowest estimated literacy rates in the world (female: 23.1% and male: 44.5%). The contexts in the East and South are extremely different and the unmet needs all vary. With regards to the Education system, in the south, CAR refugees have integrated the Chadian education system, attending Chadian schools and following the Chadian curriculum. According to a field assessment report of CAR refugees in the Southern Chad, there are, however, very low literacy skills for the population as a whole and a significant difference between the genders, disfavouring women on all levels with the exception of numeracy skills. The report concluded that there are a vast majority with no reading skills at all, and some with beginning/basic skills.  Furthermore, many of the young women, who play a vital role in ensuring the healthy upbringing and education of their children, have spent the last 5-10 years in the camp, but have not been able to access, participate and/or learn in an educational setting.

According to the Association for Rural Cooperation in Africa and Latin America (ACRA), the southern region and more particularly the Moyen Chari Region is among the areas with the highest illiteracy rate in Chad. It highlights that the weakness of the education system is due to a number of factors including: a precarious state of school infrastructure (school buildings made of straw or makeshift materials, lack of water and sanitation), overcrowded classes (up to 150 pupils per class), inadequate teaching materials, lack of qualifies teachers and the disruption of classes in the event of bad weather. The refugee populations are often unable to bear the necessary expenses for children schooling.

Education Actors Responding to the Crisis

  • The Association for Rural Cooperation in Africa and Latin America (ACRA)
  • The Centre for International Health Support (CSSI)

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 to:

  • 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.

Furthermore, according to the UNHCR literacy report, it is important to identify barriers for girls and find solutions as well as facilitate literacy classes for young mothers.Furthermore, it is fundamental to develop local, mother tongue based literacy courses and materials for youth and adults. In addition, from the sources consulted, it has been observed that there is also a need of post-primary education opportunities and access to accredited education for the adolescents and youth.

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 USD 6,216,140.

Tools and Resources

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


Key Information Sources


UNHCR reports:

-“Assessing and Monitoring Youth and Adult Literacy: Field Assessment Report, Refugees from the Central African Republic, Southern Chad” by Therese MU Pankratov

-“Finding our way: The Education Strategy for Refugees in Chad 2013-2016” 


Key Words

Central African Republic Refugees, Internal displacement, Primary and Secondary Education & Safe Learning Spaces


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