Chaouir is a 3,180-strong village in Guéra, in the Sahelian belt in Chad — a region prone to droughts, food shortages and high levels of malnutrition. Every year,the lean season hits hard and residents turn to humanitarian assistance to meet their daily food needs.
In the last quarter of 2018, Chaouir has been include in the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Sahel Initiative, which aims to gradually build the resilience of vulnerable people against climatic shocks.
Villagers decided to focus on strengthening the school feeding programme, which already connected local production of fresh foods with the children’s meals, placing schools at the heart of their resilience planning.
Back in 2017, WFP had already supported a home-grown school meals programme in Chaouir. Participating families worked on their plots of land, while WFP and its implementing partner, Moustagbal, provided all necessary materials through a ‘food assistance for assets’ scheme. Ever since, the community has lent continuity to this model, in which activities converge to achieve long-lasting and sustainable effects.
The produce of community gardens addresses immediate food needs and builds long term resilience: 30 percent is consumed in school canteens, 40 percent is intended for household consumption and/or sale and 30 percent is reinvested in school infrastructure and to complement staff salaries for teachers, cooks and others.
Banate’s children attend Chaouir’s primary school and he participates in community gardening activities. “We are very satisfied. The best vegetables in our crop are used to prepare the children’s meals at school. They are our children and we want them to eat well. And we can make some money by selling some of the products at the market,” he says.
In the last quarter of 2018, WFP expanded the home-grown school meals programme in Chaouir supporting the construction and management of school kitchens, canteens and food storage rooms. The community garden and the irrigation system that were first established in 2017 were further developed by the community. 1,200 families in and around Chaouir built 1,200 composting toilets and prepared additional 1,200 sq meters of compost for the community garden. In early 2019, water-management structures will be established and the community garden will be expanded.
This model inspires new projects in the Sahelian belt in Chad (regions of Lac, Kanem, Bahr El Gazal, Batha, Guéra, Ouaddai and Wadi Fira), where WFP concentrates its activities around clusters of villages to achieve sustained impacts.
WFP is able to build resilience in the Sahelian belt in Chad thanks to the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Embassy of France.