Rethinking Solutions to Displacement in Chad: Applying IOM’s new PRDS Framework

  • Women, who returned from Sudan and the Central African Republic to Chad, assemble handmade solar panels in Tissi, Sila region. Photo: IOM

Since early 2015, Boko Haram-related violence and military action have resulted in significant displacement in the Lack Chad Basin as Chadian citizens and Nigerian refugees seek safety. Chadian migrants, who fled crisis in the Central African Republic, Libya and Darfur, are also still in need of assistance and protection. Chad continues to host large numbers of refugees from several nearby countries. Chad has had its own history of turbulence since gaining independence in 1960 but its current challenges are inextricably tied to the situation in neighbouring countries.

In the Lac Region, the combination of poverty, climate change and violent extremism is stretching local capacities - resulting in spiraling needs across the Basin. Boko Haram attacks targeting civilians in villages and in cities have intensified and are causing widespread trauma, limiting access to essential services, destroying infrastructure and restricting trade and livelihoods.

IOM is currently applying a new Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS) Framework in Chad, including in the Lac Region.

With the PRDS Framework, IOM embraces more inclusive approaches that recognize the needs and rights of all those affected by crises, including displaced persons (refugees and internally displaced persons), as well as other migrants and mobile populations and affected communities. In the Lac Region, both internally displaced Chadians and Nigerian refugees are fleeing to safety in Chad. Chadian communities are hosting many of the displaced, sharing their meagre resources with those fleeing violence. There are also many Chadian migrants who lived and worked in Nigeria, who have fled violence and returned to Chad, often empty handed.

“I left Chad in 1989, looking for work in the Central African Republic. I worked in agriculture, cultivating cassava, and later started panning for gold. With the outbreak of violence, I fled back to Chad where I worked with others to cultivate rice. IOM supported us with the appropriate tools and some training. We learned that scorching the earth took away the nutrients, so we learned new methods of rice cultivation, which has greatly increased our rice yields." explains father of six, Mahamat Idriss Abakar.

There is growing evidence of mobility in displacement areas, including temporary movements to sites where assistance is available as local capacities are quickly over-whelmed. The closure of the border between Chad and Nigeria has restricted cross-border trade, impacting local markets and the livelihoods of local traders who rely on being mobile. The PRDS Framework recognizes that displaced and other affected populations are often mobile and utilize a range of mobility strategies to improve their circumstances. IOM seeks to better understand these mobility strategies, and explore the opportunities that mobility may offer to progressively resolve displacement.

Identifying economic opportunity is critical to avoiding aid dependency and providing alternatives for youths affected by displacement situation who may be at risk of recruitment by armed groups or of themselves engaging in illicit activities. Comprehensive market analysis is mapped against the capacity and intentions of displaced persons to identify realistic and sustainable economic opportunities. Revitalizing markets and trade would perhaps be the single biggest game changer for the communities across the region. The PRDS Framework focuses on resilience outcomes for displaced people, aiming to reduce aid dependency and support those impacted by crisis and displacement to better cope with shocks and stresses and achieve self-reliance.


IOM and Chad’s Ministry of Women teach women from Goza village, Tissi how to produce traditional spaghetti. Photo: IOM

The PRDS Framework promotes partnership with a wide range of traditional and non-traditional actors, striving to optimize humanitarian, development, peace and security interventions, for greater and more sustainable solutions to displacement. All activities are closely coordinated with the Government of Chad and the United Nations Country Team. IOM also works with communities to identify a diverse array of income-generation activities, collaborating with the private sector to integrate innovative technologies to increase yields while respecting the environment.

As in many crises, psychosocial suffering is a characteristic of those fleeing Boko Haram, with many experiencing or witnessing trauma. Critical support is provided through tailored counselling, referral, recreational activities and awareness campaigns reinforced with efforts to strengthen existing health, social and community services to ensure continued support in the longer term, to help individuals, families and communities deal with the emotional consequences and begin recovery. The PRDS Framework emphasizes the importance of multi-level interventions like these to respond to displacement, with complementary, mutually reinforcing actions at individual, household, community and systems levels.

The PRDS Framework ensures people remain at the heart of efforts to resolve displacement, integrating age, gender and diversity considerations and balancing changing needs, intentions and opportunities in often fluid environments. IOM promotes the active participation of those affected by crisis, supporting realistic analysis of available options and designing livelihoods plans which reflect specific needs and preferences. Community-based projects are developed together with communities, reflecting local needs and priorities and seeking broad benefits as a contribution towards social cohesion and equity.

Since 2010, IOM has supported the Government of Chad to respond to massive and sudden influxes of Chadian returnees, refugees, and other migrants from neighbouring countries affected by crisis. IOM provides assistance to the Chadian host communities also in partnership with the government. In this fragile region, IOM’s new PRDS Framework helps to guide IOM Chad to focus programming on incrementally building towards resilience.

In 2016, IOM released a new framework – the Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS) Framework – which aims to guide IOM and inform its partners to frame and navigate the complexity of forced migration dynamics and support efforts to progressively resolve displacement situations. The PRDS Framework promotes the inclusion of displaced populations, other migrants and affected communities in a resilience-based approach. IOM further recognizes and embraces mobility strategies that support progression towards resolving displacement while ensuring safety nets are in place to avoid potentially harmful mobility strategies.

With this Framework, IOM strives to:

- Identify and strengthen coping capacities weakened as a result of displacement situations

- Foster self-reliance by responding to the longer term consequences of displacement situations

- Create conducive environments by addressing the root causes of crisis and displacement

For more information, please visit: https://www.iom.int/progressive-resolution-displacement-situations or IOM’s Transition and Recovery Unit, email: TRDCoreGroup@iom.int. For more information on the project in Chad, please contact Yoko Fujimura, email: yfujimura@iom.int.

Yoko Fujimura is Head of Programmes at IOM Chad.