Following the assassination of President Idriss Déby and the resulting coup in August 2021, IRI has closely monitored the evolving political situation in Chad. In the summer of 2021, the transitional junta, the Transitional Military Council (CMT), officially rescinded the constitution and dissolved parliament. It is in this environment, and in response to a lack of clarity on election timelines, that IRI’s Sahel team is supporting civil society organizations to boost Chadians’ participation in their upcoming elections.

To open the political system to all citizens, IRI is working to provide civil society stakeholders with the technical and financial support they need to run civic and voter education drives. IRI has partnered with local groups to do this work in several remote provinces and in cities around the country.  

Chadian citizens do not have opportunities to for involvement with governmental agencies that oversee local and national elections, and therefore are not informed of their rights. Civic education in Chad happens mostly in secondary school, but 79 percent of the population has never attended a secondary institution. Chadian civil society organizations (CSOs) have tried to fill this void with outreach programs, but heavy restrictions on freedom of speech and association limit their ability to reach an audience. Historic political instability, violence, and dislocation driven by poverty have left the Chadian population with a limited collective identity and few ways to connect with government institutions to articulate their needs. Through increased access to civic education, IRI is working to improve citizen participation in national and local political processes.

To counter this disconnect with government, IRI is supporting its CSO partners in their work on awareness-raising and civic and voter education programming in the provinces of Mandoul, Lac, Ouaddaï, Moyen-Chari, Ennedi Ouest, and N’Djamena. In selecting partners, IRI prioritizes CSOs with a demonstrated history of working with marginalized communities, including women, youth, people with disabilities, and rural populations. IRI also focuses on connecting with rural communities far outside the capital city. IRI is developing an innovative civic education curriculum aimed at teaching populations with high rates of illiteracy. To build this curriculum, CSOs worked with, and learned from, Chad’s most marginalized communities. Each CSO will use this new curriculum to run civic engagement activities in their respective regions. These activities include radio shows, education sessions, community meetings, and theatrical performances.

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