“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
2021 saw a new start for Markas al Nour in N’Djamena with the appointment of a new director in August. Classes and other activities were less in the Bahr el Gazel in 2021 compared to 2020. Water and community-led total sanitation continued in the Ouaddai with the same rhythm as before.
The transformation we would like to see in coming, but has not yet been achieved, so we will continue to work hard in the coming years. In the meantime, we hope that you appreciate reading the report about what we’ve accomplished in 2021.
Service au Sahel held a two-day training in neonatal resuscitation at the Provincial Hospital in Moussoro. The course was held on November 12 and 13 and 16 medical staff from the hospital were trained.
The program teaches skills in caring for neonates with a focus on those babies who have difficulties in breathing after birth. The participants improved their practical skills in basic life support, working on clinical scenarios in small groups. Implementation of a set of simple measures like bag and mask ventilation has been shown to reduce early neonatal mortality up to 50% in the low resource setting.
Of the 16 medical staff trained, five were from the Maternity department of the hospital.
The training on neonatal resuscitation is the second collaboration Service au Sahel has had at the hospital in Moussoro. The first was a dental training in November 2019.
This is the history of Markas al Nour, an education center in N’Djamena whose name means the “Center of Light.”
The association Service au Sahel was started in 2002 by a group of volunteers. The association is non-profit and non-political, working primarily in education and development. The association received its Autorisation de Fonctionner from the Chadian government in 2003. The board of directors is composed of three to seven people and is led by a Coordinator.
The association’s first venture was the education center named “Markas al Nour” on the 30m road in N’Djamena. Markas al Nour opened its doors in January 2003.
Initially the center was equipped with donated books and computers and had two classrooms. Two Chadians were hired full-time: a secretary and a librarian.
In 2005 the French embassy gave a grant to help equip the center with more than 600 books, a third classroom, a new generator, and updated computers. The updates were finished in 2006, and a ceremony was held with representatives from the French embassy and from the neighborhood. A 50% increase in students was seen in 2006 because of these upgrades.
Growth and Challenges (2007-2011)
Significant upgrades were made to the center starting in 2007. Computer teachers gained such good instruction at Markas al Nour that they went on to find good positions working in IT. It became necessary to recruit more teachers for computer classes.
In 2010, the center had major problems with the electrical generator resulting in costly repairs. In 2011 a new 22 kVA electrical generator was donated to the center.
Autonomy and financial pressure (2012-2019)
During this period, French classes grew from on average 130 students per year to almost 500 students per year. Night classes (7-9pm) were added in 2015 and that brought in more students who didn’t have time to study in the afternoons. Morning classes also became more regular at the center with a peak of 25 morning classes during 2017.
However, the increase in French language classes was offset by the decrease in computer classes: computer classes dropped below 100 students per year in 2016 for the first time and have remained low, although MaN received a gift of updated computers in 2016.
In 2018, the center opened a Maternelle, but failed to attract enough children to pay for the teacher. The nursery school was not continued in 2019.
Financial pressure increased as Chad’s economy contracted in 2017 and 2018 due to plunging oil prices. Increased competition from other education centers put pressure on MaN to reduce the price of French classes.
Markas al Nour officially closed in July 2020 due to this financial pressure along with the added strain of covid restrictions. However, by November 2020 the center reopened, and classes restarted.
The history of Markas al Nour has been full of growth and change. The years to come will bring more change with one constant: high quality education classes for the northern neighborhoods of N’Djamena.
Markas al Nour Statistics (2004-2020)
English was the most popular class from 2005 to 2008 powered in part by an active English club.
Computer classes were the most popular from 2009 to 2012, including classes on maintenance, networking, and website creation.
French classes have been the most popular from 2013 until today.
2016 was the biggest year when more than 1000 students attended classes. 2020 was the smallest year due to the center closing and reorganizing.
2020 had plenty of success and challenges. The biggest challenge was the financial crisis which forced the closure of our Markas al Nour education center. Nonetheless, the center reopened its doors in order to keep offering high quality instruction. Our activities in Moussoro and Hadjer Hadid were slowed down by covid-19, but were still able to adapt and continue. We will continue working together on our common objectives in education and development in 2021.
Here are the number of beneficiaries from our activities in 2020:
Markas al Nour – N’Djamena
Education classes – Moussoro
Animal health videos – Moussoro
Water, health, and mapping – Hadjer Hadid
Sewing and distributing masks – Hadjer Hadid
Health and cultural videos – Hadjer Hadid
We would like to thank all those who helped us continue advancing our goals.
Tawisa 3 was a project that ran from July 2019 – July 2020. The project has completed mapping and survey for the Chokoyan Canton of the Ouaddai State of Eastern Chad. This included mapping and surveying over 184 villages and their improved and unimproved water sources. Printed maps are being shared with all stakeholders in the region and detailed data has been provided to the government to use in its geospatial database.
Additionally, a pump repair program was initiated in three villages within the Chokoyan Canton. These villages had existing broken pumps. Service au Sahel ran a two-day water committee training, introducing cost replacement schedules, record keeping, management of a cash box and savings goals for maintenance and repair, in each of these villages. After the training the pump was repaired. Monitoring visits have been conducted each month post the repair, tracking and working with the village to implement the training received. These monitoring visits are continuing into the next Tawisa project until the full year of monitoring is completed.
Additionally, water committees and villages who received new wells during the previous Tawisa 2 project were monitored on a quarterly basis, encouraging them to save for future repairs that will be needed for their new well. The Tawisa 3 project finished within budget, having spent 92% of total funds.
Service au Sahel Tchad, working with the Provincial representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sport in the Bahr el Gazel, launched a one-week computer training class for the young people involved in different associations.
The ceremony took place at the House of Culture in Moussoro. This video was taken by the National Office of Audiovisual Media (ONAMA) et published during the evening news on 20 July 2020.
2019 was a difficult year for the association. Even with many successes, the general financial climate in Chad slowed down several of our projects. Nonetheless, our work in education and development impacted thousands of people:
Markas al Nour
Projets de Développement – Hadjer Hadid
Projets de Développement – Moussoro
We would like to thank all those who helped us continue advancing our goals.