Gaba’s fields: drought relief in Chad

By Lisa Krebs

For five years, Gaba Goundoukou has been a member of Aura, a partner organisation of Caritas Switzerland in Chad. Gaba is an educated farmer and works in 20 villages in the region Guéra, located in the east of the country. Gaba is responsible for the implementation of various activities of Aura for rural development, in collaboration with the villagers.

This year Gaba is fully engaged with the emergency assistance project of Caritas Switzerland and UNAD (Caritas Chad) that helps people from several regions of Chad who are severely affected by the drought. Help is mainly provided in form of food and new seeds.

From the beginning of the project, Gaba took on an important role: he was responsible for determining which families could benefit from the emergency assistance project. In order to make a fair selection, Gaba visited every household in “his” villages and completed a questionnaire with the help of the household members.

“Actually, I created a kind of an inventory, together with the family members. I inquired about the number of family members, the number of animals, the grain quantity stored as well as other sources of food and income,” said Gaba. “For the distribution of grains and seed for the next planting seasons, we selected those families who suffered most from the effects of the drought crisis. This included women who have to run a household alone, older and sick people, as well as orphans.”

Gaba’s next task was not an easier one. He had to purchase grain and seed – a challenging task in a country plagued by drought. Although the goods in the region were available, the acquisition of such a large amount would have directly affected the price of other commodities, resulting in an increase. To prevent this unwanted effect, grain and seed were purchased in Am Timan, a region in the South, which was less affected by the drought. After purchasing the goods, the distribution of urgently needed food and seed for the upcoming crop could finally take place. Gaba visited his villages for the third time and accurately monitored the distribution of the goods.

“The goods are distributed according to the lists created at the beginning of the project,”said Gaba. Not everything happened as planned. “In the village of Am-Koumi, it happened that even the poorest people shared the seed with all people of the village, and not only with the ones who were on the list.”

Today Gaba visits the village of Am-Koumi for the fourth time since the project began. A unique solidarity exists in this village and Gaba wants to know the exact situation of all the families. He wants to see if there is enough grain until the next harvest and also if the farmers are satisfied with the cultivation, thanks to the seeds that have been distributed.

Together with the farmers, Gaba visits the fields to see the current situation with his own eyes. A smile appears on his face when he sees the vibrant green of the groundnut plants that the farmers are cultivating. “It actually looks like the farmers of Am-Koumi will have a good crop again this year”, said Gaba.


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