Chad: Continuing to Protect Children During COVID-19

23 July 2020

A small investment of bikes and cell phones is making a big impact for refugee communities to be able to monitor and protect children.

Though the majority of refugees in Chad live in camps along its Eastern border, there are many urban refugees living in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city, mostly coming from the Central African Republic, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among them, more than half are minors, many of whom are unaccompanied. These children face many issues including access to education, child abuse and sexual violence based on gender, and forced child labor.

To address these challenges and protect the rights of these children, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) works with several protection “focal points,” individuals from the refugee communities, who play a crucial role in the protection of children. Under the supervision of two JRS Case Workers focused on prevention and child protection in urban refugee populations, the focal points lead awareness raising, identification, management, and follow-up activities. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 and its consequent confinement and distance measures left JRS without an ability to support these community focal points and monitor the needs of the vulnerable children they helped to protect.

With support from generous contributions from JRS USA donors, JRS was able to purchase smartphones and bicycles for thirteen focal points to improve the quality of their work during this time and the ability for JRS to support and communicate with them.

This has been a great motivation for the refugee focal points, since their capacity to mitigate and identify any violation to children’s rights in real time has been now strengthened.

“ I thank JRS USA for their donation to the focal points and I hope that this kind of initiative can continue. I particularly needed a work phone to communicate directly with the Case Workers who supervise us and also to coordinate with my colleagues. During the presence of the COVID 19 pandemic, I will no longer have to go through my colleagues to contact with JRS. ”
Deabona Ngodi, Focal point of the Third District of N’Djamena.