Chad : The impact of climate change on gender-based violence

From March 12 to 16, 2024, a mission team led by Damienne Beksoubo, the project manager of the Feminist Fund, left N’Djamena for a series of meetings and discussions in the Mayo-Kebbi West province. This Oxfam initiative in Chad brought together civil society members and representatives from state services, demonstrating strong collaboration and a shared commitment to advancing the feminist cause. The goal? To enhance knowledge, share experiences, and best practices to improve the effectiveness of interventions by the 18 organizations supported by Feminists in Action in Chad, in a climate-change context.

A meeting focused on the concrete impacts of climate change in Chad

The initial discussions highlighted the urgent need to integrate these issues into development actions and strengthen local communities’ capacities to address these environmental challenges.

Participants identified climate change as a leading cause of poverty, emphasizing how it reduces women’s economic power and increases the risk of famine. These changes lead to multiple and profound social, economic, and behavioral repercussions that directly affect households. Key issues include scarce rainfall, floods, soil degradation, low agricultural production, and difficulties accessing energy. These challenges result in increasing poverty among women, who are forced to seek alternative solutions to meet their needs, especially during the rainy season when their domestic workload increases. Additionally, their health is threatened by climate-related diseases.

These impacts affect all aspects of women’s lives, including household dynamics, and can often lead to violence.

Gender-based violence and climate change: two sadly interwoven themes

Discussions also covered gender-based violence (GBV), sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), and women’s empowerment. Associations fighting against GBV reported 84 cases, with 36 addressed so far. A debate on GBV experiences was led by five organizations working in this area (APEF, KDLP, CELIAF, UFEP, CIFDES), highlighting successes, challenges, and poignant stories in the fight against violence. Despite ongoing efforts, GBV persists in various forms, from abuse to murders and cases of gender-based harassment. Southern OSCs reported unresolved murders and difficulties in investigations to find and punish perpetrators, exemplified by the distressing case of a young girl’s murder in Komé.

This exchange highlighted innovative initiatives such as the listening center and income-generating activities (IGA) awareness campaigns conducted in N’Djamena by the APEF network. Participants discussed prevention and monitoring measures for GBV cases and cross-referenced statistics from various organizations involved in raising awareness and combating violence.

At the end of the mission, participants returned to their respective localities on March 16, carrying new ideas, concrete recommendations, and a strengthened determination to continue their actions for a sustainable and equitable future for all. This initiative underscores the importance of established partnerships and the need to integrate gender and environmental dimensions into all development initiatives to ensure a better world for present and future generations.