A new level 1 computer class took place between December 2019 and January 2020, focusing on Microsoft Word. The following video shows what the class was like and the students’ reactions to what they have learned.
A dental health training and clinic was held at the provincial hospital in Moussoro, Bahr el Gazel from November 1 – 8.
The training started with two days of theory: the anatomy of teeth and gums and nerves along with the uses of explorers and forceps and elevators. After learning the theory, seven local men began seeing their first patients.
Their first attempts took a long time: some teeth broke partially as they learned how much force to apply and how best to gain leverage. As the week went on, they increased in skill and confidence. By mid-week, they were needing tools faster than they could be sterilized, and had to slow down. By the end of the week the men had gotten into a rhythm and could skillfully extract even the most stubborn molars.
We were slightly worried about having enough patients during the week because the local radio station wasn’t working and so we didn’t have an easy way to publicize what we were doing. But we needn’t have been worried—good news travels fast and we had more patients by the end of the week than we had time to treat.
At the end of the week we held a ceremony to give out certificates to the seven men who had completed the training. Dental instruments were given either to one man or to pairs of men who were working in the same place. During that ceremony, the representative of the Health Minister said the following:
“Having trained dental personnel in Moussoro is like ‘taking a big thorn’ out of the flesh of the people of Moussoro.”
Representative of the Health Minister
And the initial feedback we’ve gotten has confirmed this. One doctor who was trained called to say “thank you thank you thank you”. “I’ve just arrived and the people of Michemire [105km west of Moussoro] are so thankful that I can pull teeth. Before they used to have to travel for help.” Finally, a friend of mine overheard someone saying “the international NGOs who are here are very busy but we don’t know what they’re doing all the time. You guys have done something concrete by helping pull our rotten teeth.”
Chad is located in Central Africa. The country is one of the poorest and most underprivileged in the world, ranking 184 out of 188 on the 2015 Human Development Index. The population of 11.5 million is rapidly growing and is very young (45% of people are under 15 years).
SAS’s project is in the Hadjer Hadid region. These communities have multiple needs. There is high infant mortality (124 per 1,000 births) and low life expectancy 51.6 female/48.6 male. Over 30% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Around half of girls receive no primary school education. Factors contributing to these problems include:
Low rainfall which limits the availability of easily accessible groundwater. People are therefore forced to use unclean water sources. Less than 20% of the region has access to safe drinking water.
A prevalence of waterborne diseases, diarrhoea, cholera, hepatitis and typhoid associated with drinking unclean water
A lack of basic hygiene and sanitation practices (over 75% of people defecate in the open). This results in widespread disease transmission and high infant mortality rates.
Girls do most water fetching. This often takes several hours’ daily, making school attendance impossible.
SAS has projects running in Hadjer Hadid, Eastern Chad. This is located in on the edge of the homeland of the Masalit people, who historically have spanned the Sudan-Chad border. The 2003 Darfur War resulted in widespread displacement and the arrival of over 400,000 refugees in Chad, located in 13 different refugee camps along the Darfur border. Several of these refugee camps are located in near to the town of Hadjer Hadid (population approx. 10,000) where SAS have their operational base in the East.
These camps have existed for over ten years in what has developed into a protracted refugee situation (PRS), and they now more closely resemble mid-sized towns rather that camps. Furthermore, worsening circumstances in Darfur mean that there is little prospect of their return being feasible. There is therefore a critical need for development initiatives within these refugee camps such that they are transformed into viable, resilient, peaceful & sustainable communities. Furthermore, surrounding Chadian villages have taken on additional burden of accommodating refugee communities and they too are struggling with subsistence livelihoods and chronic vulnerability, which requires action to address.
For more detail on our work, see the map of the region surrounding Hadjer Hadid.
We started this language centre in October of 2015, and called it ‘Markaz Attafahum’ which means ‘Centre of Understanding’ in Arabic.
Our hope is that this centre will for many years to come be a hub of learning and deepening understanding: that both expatriates and Chadian nationals would gain deep insight into the languages and cultures of Chad.
training up tutors and teachers so that we had high quality instruction;
developing and compiling resources in the local languages for students to use;
setting up a professional and practical place to have lessons and to study;
develop a language learning community whereby we encourage and support one another mutually in our language learning.
Moussoro is a town of about 50,000 people on the edge of the Sahara desert. Service au Sahel has taught computer classes in Moussoro since 2010 through a partnership with a local association. While teaching those computer classes, one of Service au Sahel’s teachers found out that there was no accessible map of the city of Moussoro.
So with the help of his computer students, they made this map of Moussoro with the neighborhoods roughly in the right spot.