The U.N.’s main refugee agency is expanding its work in southern Chad, adding programs for impoverished local villagers in order to head off conflict between locals and a growing population of Central African refugees.
The programs, administered by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and partner aid groups, include aid to farmers and herders. The idea, according to Serge Male, UNHCR’s representative to Chad, is to ensure that the local population never have less than the refugees they host. “We cannot provide more to refugees if the local population does not benefit to some extent,” Male told World Politics Review.
But the need to care for both refugees and host populations means more demands placed on cash-strapped agencies — and belies deep inadequacies in Chad’s government and economy that might curtail efforts to reduce the U.N.’s role in Chad.