Coping with Climate Change in Chad through the Construction of the Spreading Thresholds
Chad, particularly its Sahelian zone, is confronted with recurrent climatic and environmental shocks, such as floods, droughts, and sandstorms, that increase the vulnerability of its population. These shocks translate into high rates of food and nutrition insecurity.
To help communities cope with these climate changes, CARE Chad and its partners are implementing climate change resilience and adaptation projects. One of these initiatives is the Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Vulnerabilities project for sustainable food and nutrition security in the Sahelian zone of Chad. It is funded by the European Union with the objective of contributing to food and nutrition security in a sustainable way through the promotion of innovative and “smart” agriculture in the face of climate change and improving access to social services (health care, education and water, hygiene, and sanitation).
To increase the availability of fertile lands and agricultural productivity, CARE and its partners have supported the construction of spreading thresholds that have rapid impacts in terms of restoration of cropland and vegetation cover, increased yields agricultural and recharge groundwater etc. These structures slow down the flow of rainwater, promote infiltration and greater surface irrigation. The project uses a participatory approach to involve community members in a logic of learning and appropriation of new practices to adapt to the consequences of variability and climate change. For each application threshold, a committee is set up to monitor the construction, distribution and use of the restored land to increase production.
Ousmane, one of the beneficiaries, is 74 years old and a father of 10 children. He is the chairman of Guideme’s threshold management committee in the Ouadi Fira province. In total, eight villages benefit from this threshold. Ousamane’s role in the management committee is to oversee construction activities, land distribution, and the maintenance of the application of the threshold. A few kilometers away, Ousmane’s group and those of the other villages have developed recession crops including beans, okra and sorghum.
“Before, it was difficult to retain water to cultivate, but currently we no longer have this problem and, thanks to the spreading threshold, we are able to adapt to climate change by growing on a plot of several hectares to cope with food insecurity in our villages,” said Ousamane
The annual production of Ousamane’s group has doubled; in the past, the crops were only rain-fed, but with this threshold, they manage to produce harvests both from rain-fed crops and crops off season. This production enables them to cope with the lean season and to sell a part of their crops to diversify their diet.