|2017 is a huge year for JRS Chad: we are expanding our activities in primary education to five more refugee camps in Farchana and Oure Cassoni.|
In the February edition of Jesuit Refugee Service Chad’s bi-monthly newsletter, Country Director Alberto Martin Huertas talks about the important work he does, what brought him to JRS, and the challenges JRS Chad faces in 2017.
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Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello to our readers, it is my pleasure to be part of this great newspaper. My name is Alberto Martín Huertas, I am currently the Country Director for JRS Chad. I am from Spain, from a very small village close to Madrid. I studied Economy and Anthropology at the University of Madrid.
Since 2005, I have been working in development for different NGOs and international organizations. I am a very lucky person as I can live doing what I like, having the opportunity to live in very different countries and areas, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Angola and Chad.
How long have you been working with JRS?
Since July 2016. It is not a long time, but during this period I have had the opportunity to learn about the work that JRS carries out, not only in Chad, but in other regions like Kenya. I am very proud and happy to be part of this organization.
What are the major JRS-Chad projects for the year 2017?
2017 is a huge challenge for JRS Chad, we are expanding our activities in primary education to five more refugee camps in Farchana and Oure Cassoni. At the same time, this year is going to be our first experience implementing a Child Protection program. It is a big challenge, with a lot of work to do, but we are very passionate and it shows the confidence that our donors have in us.
What are your strategies for implementing these different projects?
In JRS Chad we follow a clear strategy:
- Increase access to education.
- Increase the quality of education.
- Make our schools and actions sustainable.
We try to follow these three principles in all of our
activities; it does not matter if it is primary education or pre-school, we
understand the education is a part of the whole process of development as a
You are responsible for a great team. What are your expectations for your team?
I am happy with our team, we still need to improve many things, like coordination, communication, and we will have new staff this year. We are getting bigger this year and I am sure that all our new staff will have the same commitment that all of us do.
What are your major difficulties today in carrying out your educational projects here in Chad?
From my point of view, the main problem is the sustainability. JRS has been working in Eastern Chad for more than 10 years, implementing educational projects, and it’s clear that we can-not stay here forever. My main concern is always when I ask myself: the day that we leave, what is going to happen with our schools and all our students? This is our major difficulty and we are working to find a solution.
For you it is very important that our projects are linked to each other and not as separate elements. How do you intend to integrate this new vision with your teams?
You are right, for me it is very important that our entire project is linked, from preschool to tertiary education. Each member of our team must understand that even if your role is focused on primary education, all the students that are today in primary will be in secondary tomorrow, so it does not make sense not involving all levels in activities.
JRS has been in Eastern Chad for more than 10 years, it is mean that there are some children that started in preschool in JRS project and now they are almost in secondary education in our project as well. To cover all the education cycle is a big challenge for us.
What is your last message to our readers?
For our readers, just to remind them how important education is, how important it is to send your children to school, how important is that once at school students learn and develop themselves. Education is the base of the society, and we fight to provide it to all the refugees in Eastern Chad.