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Country of the Week: Chad
March 1, 2018

Chad is a landlocked country located in north-central Africa and is the fifth-largest country on the African continent. The country lies in a shallow basin that rises from Lake Chad—one of the largest lakes in the world—with landscapes transitioning from the Sahara Desert in the sparsely populated north to tropical lowlands in the south. The region has been inhabited for more than 2,000 years, and its position along trans-Saharan trade routes cultivated a remarkable crossroads of linguistic, social, and cultural traditions. Today, the country is home to people from over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups, each with its own rich history.

This confluence of diverse people and customs is what makes Chad special. Though the country has faced political uncertainty and other challenges since obtaining independence from France in 1960, inspiring YALI Members like you have come together as one to create positive change. Join us as we celebrate Chad, the YALI Network #CountryoftheWeek!

Read on to learn more about three Chadian YALI Network members who are working to better their country through volunteerism, activism, and civic engagement.


Koumtebaye Elysee hosting a blood drive with other YALI Network alumni
YALI Network member Koumtebaye Elysee hosted a blood drive with other YALI Network alumni in #CountryoftheWeek Chad in honor of Mandela Day.

An alumnus of the YALI Network Regional Center West Africa Dakar, Koumtebaye Elysee is one of the dedicated YALI Network members making a true difference in his community and his country.

Last July, in celebration of Mandela Day, Koumtebaye worked with other YALI Network members to plan and organize a blood drive in N’Djamena to “raise awareness about the importance of humanitarianism.” Koumtebaye hopes that his efforts, inspired by the spirit of Nelson Mandela, will encourage others to create positive change in their communities through public service.

Beyond the blood drive, Koumtebaye has also hosted a YALI Learns event to teach others in his community about the importance of civic engagement and volunteering.


Dola Zacharie from #CountryoftheWeek Chad receiving an award
Dola Zacharie from #CountryoftheWeek Chad receives an award at a local Gospel Music Festival.

As a mental health activist and volunteer, YALI Network member Dola Zacharie calls on his own experience with depression—as well as the healing power of music—to educate others about dealing with mental health issues.”

“My focus with the YALI Network is to impact youth and raise awareness about the urgent mental health challenges [people in] our communities face,” says Dola, who hails from N’Djamena.
Dola has even received an award for his Gospel music, which is part of his healing approach to inspiring better mental health. “I am proud of [the] work I am doing,” he says. “We can be successful despite depression—nothing in life is impossible.”

Civic Engagement

Sakine Mahamat Abbo discussing civic engagement to a classroom
Sakine Mahamat Abbo discusses civic engagement and other important topics with Almouna English Club in #CountryoftheWeek Chad.

YALI Network member Sakine Mahamat Abbo from N’Djamena is as passionate about civic engagement as he is hopeful for his country’s future. That’s why he was a founder of the Al Mouna English Club, which encourages local youth to partake in important conversations about civic participation, government, and anti-corruption. The club also discusses issues such as self-love, caring for others, and tactics for “building one strong nation.”

In particular, Sakine uses discussion and interactive learning to teach the next generation how to accept one another “in order to build a bridge of peace and love in the world.” He believes that educating and empowering youth through these conversations is crucial to ensuring a better future for his country.