A "Gender in Emergencies" specialist in the midst of crisis around Lake Chad
Fatouma Zara is the Gender in Emergencies specialist with CARE’s Rapid Response Team. Fatouma works with our teams in humanitarian emergencies to ensure gender remains at the heart of everything we do. Fatouma’s work has taken her to many countries including Cambodia,
Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Turkey.
Today we find her in Diffa, in the south east of her native country Niger. Diffa is hosting around 340,000 of the 2.4 million people displaced by the crisis in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin. Caused by the ravages of violent conflict, extreme poverty, underdevelopment and climate change, the crisis is affecting more than 17 million people across north eastern Nigeria, Cameroon’s Far North, western Chad and south eastern Niger.
CARE is assisting more than 300,000 people currently seeking refuge in the Diffa region; working with local partners to provide hygiene and shelter kits, build latrines and boreholes, and distributing cash, food, seeds, agricultural equipment and small scale livestock such as goats and sheep.
CARE ensures that the communities with whom we work have a voice in the planning, implementing and evaluation of our programs. Fatouma is leading a team of evaluators talking to displaced communities around Diffa about the services CARE is providing them.
It’s Ramadan so my day begins at 3.30am, while it’s still dark. I begin with prayer to mark the end of the previous day, have a quick breakfast – just milk and coffee – and then prayers for the start of a new day. After that I prepare myself for the day ahead. But before I start my work day, I call home and check on my family. I travel a lot for my job and it’s not easy to be so far from home. My husband is like the mum and the dad to our three children when I’m away. Technology helps, I manage to talk to them every day, no matter where I am.
At the office I check with our logistics team to make sure we have transport to the field sites. We are three teams and we’re each travelling to different sites so it’s a big operation. Our teams consist of CARE staff as agricultural equipment and small scale livestock such as goats and sheep.
CARE ensures that the communities with whom we work have a voice in the planning, implementing and evaluation of our programs. Fatouma is leading a team of evaluators talking to displaced communities around Diffa about the services CARE is providing them. well as our partners from local NGOs and government agencies. The scale of this crisis is enormous and it’s important that we all work together.
I’ll be travelling to Garim Wazam, a village to the north east of Diffa town, to support the team collecting data there. A few years ago, the population of Garim Wazam was around 700 people. Today it’s more than 21,000. The community is now sheltering refugees from Nigeria as well as Nigeriens displaced by this crisis.