|School takes the field|
|Objectives and results|
Food crisis in Chad: the school takes the field to feed the children
This intervention is focused on the issue of food crisis, a phenomenon that has been afflicting the Sahel region of Chad in an alarming way since 2009 and that is affecting the most vulnerable people, especially children. Schools are an effective tool where it is possible to take immediate action against child malnutrition. The project focuses in particular on improving existing school infrastructures (e.g. through the construction of wells for water supply) and on the development of appropriate technologies for the starting up of sustainable productive activities (school gardens for fruit and vegetables production, school fields for growing millet, peanuts and corn and school canteens managed by the Association of Pupils’ Mothers.) The project also aims to provide schools with adequate teaching and training materials (e.g. manuals for cultivation and nutrition education and special training for garden management) that permit the long-term consolidation of best practices for safeguarding food security thus improving significantly the living conditions of children. Through schools it is possible also to involve the community - teachers, families, associations of parents - in many different activities. The project has been implemented in three different contexts (Salamat, Grande Sido and Mongo) where ACRA has been working since a long time and where the food crisis is showing its disturbing effects on the health of future generations.
The project is supported by the eighth edition of La Fabbrica del Sorriso, - which this year has decided to allocate its funds to the right to food and nutrition for all children of the world. The project will start in the second half of 2011.
Problems to solve
The food crisis broke out in the Sahel in 2009 and nowadays still threatens the lives of more than 2 million people. According to a survey - sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development and Health, by the FAO and the WFP on children from birth to 59 months and pregnant and / or lactating women, - chronic malnutrition affects more than 35% of children in rural Chad and acute malnutrition affects more than 17% of them. The main structural causes that make the Chadian population - especially children - highly vulnerable to the current crisis are the following:
- difficult access to drinking water and water for agricultural use
- lack of access to quality seeds
- lack of agricultural equipment and storage facilities
- progressive and irreversible decline in soil fertility
With regard to farming activities - in particular grazing - the vulnerability lies mainly in the strong dependence on variations in rainfall. Another problem is the gradual settling of the nomadic herdsmen with consequent concentration of the population in farming areas, which implies the emergence of serious conflicts between farmers and breeders for the use of resources, first of all water.
The situation - already compromised by external factors - is compounded by unfair practices related to the use of food and water within families, which can have devastating effects on the physical development of children. To resolve this problem it is important to intervene at the community level, providing people with the tools and knowledge necessary to introduce changes in the behavior of individuals and families and enhance the resources locally available in respect both of cultural traditions and the environment.