Chrispine Ojiambo field story from Chad
Community led shelter construction in Kiloukime, Lac Region in Chad
The Lac region is one of 23 regions that together constitute the country Chad. The region includes the shore of Lake Chad, sharing the name of the country. The shores of Lake Chad are shared by four countries – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. It is an area torn by protracted conflicts, which have resulted in internal displacements of communities over years.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is largely involved in supporting displaced communities with shelter, non food items – NFIs and site planning for temporary settlements among other interventions. I have been seconded by the MSB to the IOM in Chad from June 2019, totalling 13 months today, with breaks in between due to the pandemic among other occurrences. I have been involved in supporting shelter construction, site planning and minor on site water and sanitation supports. IOM’s shelter interventions in the Lac are concentrated to sites around Baga Sola.
In my work, I have also done shelter design, supporting procurement and leading the implementation of activities. For emergency intervention, we build complete shelters, which we donate, to the most vulnerable households. However, for internally displaced families who often lack access to relevant shelter alternatives, we work closely with host communities who are willing to host the families and integrating them into the communities.
The IOM’s approach to them is that of partnerships. In close collaboration with the host communities and the internally displaced, the IOM provide construction materials and tools and combine this with training of the communities.
The idea is to support the communities and displaced families in supporting each other through building the shelters by themselves. This approach is new in these communities as it is traditionally the women who build shelter for their family, using traditional materials, while the men traditionally only reside in the shelters. By including both women and men in the joint trainings, while learning new building techniques, it is contributing to a new and positive experience in the sense of having all genders assuming shared roles in the construction process.
The weather in the area is mainly hot and dry all year round. To limit the negative impact on the local green environment IOM import materials like timber and corrugated galvanised iron sheets and distribute them through the support programme within the communities. Customary building material, which is often used locally such as reeds self-regenerate twice a year. To improve the green cover IOM also distribute seedlings of local trees for planting by participating communities.
Chrispine Ojiambo, shelter expert IOM in Chad