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Belgium supports FAO in assisting female-headed families with children at risk of severe acute malnutrition in Chad

18/07/2019

The province of Batha in Chad is one of the most isolated and prone to the Sahel’s extreme climate variations from one year to another. Since there is only one productive season per year, the effects of climate variability are causing a precarious food security situation in a country already facing widespread poverty.

Families are forced to separate so the men can bring the animals from grazing areas to markets while leaving the women to take care of the children and of the provision of food. Households are therefore not able to diversify their diets and cannot adequately cover basic needs. The global acute malnutrition rate is close to 17 percent, which is almost double the prevalence threshold established by the World Health Organization.

In response, FAO is collaborating with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to identify the best options to allow these families to provide for themselves and better anticipate immediate food and nutrition risks while creating the opportunities to improve their living conditions over the long term. In the framework of this collaboration, FAO focuses on the expansion and diversification of nutrition-sensitive agricultural production and ensure that it is better distributed throughout the year. IFRC will facilitate access to community credit and savings systems, allowing beneficiaries to not only diversify their sources of income but also to accumulate capital.

Thanks to the contribution of Belgium, through the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA), FAO is supporting 250 female members of mothers’ clubs. This will enable FAO together IFRC to integrate their response in a timely manner, which are based on the caisses de résilience and mothers’ club approaches, including nutrition-sensitive agricultural production, training on nutrition and the management of village savings and loan associations.

As funding from Belgium will only cover the technical component, the main expected result of the project is that the 250 women organized in ten mothers’ clubs will be able to apply the agricultural techniques learned. This will allow them to produce a variety of food to cover the most frequent deficiencies encountered particularly during the lean season in Batha.