Chad: improving the food supply for refugees and host communities

World Refugee Day: Weirs are helping to increase harvest yields and improve the food supply for refugees and local communities in Chad.

The majority of the world’s refugees and displaced persons are in Africa. Many of them seek refuge in their own country, never crossing a national border.

Eastern Chad is currently hosting more than 400,000 refugees from neighbouring countries such as Sudan. At the same time, fear of terrorism, perpetrated by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, is driving many local people out of their home villages. On top of this, almost 90 per cent of Chadians live below the poverty line, and there is not enough food to go round. Frequent droughts, interspersed with heavy rainfall and flooding, destroy the already meagre harvests time and again.

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On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting refugees and local communities in the Ouaddaï region in eastern Chad. Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the federal enterprise GIZ aims to achieve lasting improvements in the food supply.

As part of these efforts, local companies were commissioned to construct 22 weirs in six river valleys. The weirs distribute rainwater evenly across the slopes and prevent the soil from being washed away by floods. The water seeps into the ground, rehabilitating the arid land so that it can be used to grow crops. Agreements on use ensure that refugees and local communities have fair and peaceful access to the new fields. Around 40,000 people are benefiting from these arrangements.

On behalf of the German Government, GIZ provided support to more than 1.5 million refugees and displaced people in Africa and assisted almost as many people in host communities, both urban and rural, between 2010 and 2015. Further examples of GIZ’s projects in Africa are available on the Displacement and Migration microsite.