lake chad crisis

Girls’ voices from the Lake Chad Basin

The crisis in the Lake Chad Basin continues to course through North-Eastern Nigeria, Cameroon’s Far North, Western Chad and South-East Niger with 10.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

This complex and protrated humanitarian crisis has resulted in the displacement of more than 2.3 million people.

Half of them are children.

Adolescent girls in crisis: voices from the lake chad basin

Adolescent girls in crisis: Voices from the Lake Chad Basin

Despite the challenges they face, adolescent girls in the Lake Chad basin demonstrate resilience, entrepreneurial skills, a commitment to hard work, a desire to help others, optimism for the future and insightfulness – attributes essential for any society if it hopes to transition towards a peaceful, prosperous and secure future.

The numbers

How many people are living in the most affected areas?

17 million

How many people are severely food insecure?

7.2 million

How many people have been forced to flee their homes?

2.3 million


What is the Lake Chad Crisis?

The Lake Chad Basin is the site of a large-scale, complex and protracted humanitarian emergency. Factors contributing to the crisis include conflict, rapid population growth and severe vulnerability caused by the effects of climate change, environmental degradation and poverty. 

The crisis area spans North-Eastern Nigeria, Cameroon’s Far North, Western Chad and South-East Niger and has affected around 17 million people. 

The crisis is characterised by mass displacement – some 2.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes, half of them children. More than 10.8 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. 

Many are living in desperate conditions without access to food or clean water. Malnutrition rates are alarmingly high. Recent outbreaks of Hepatitis E, Malaria and Cholera in North East Nigeria and Niger continue to worsen the already difficult conditions in the region.

Protection issues are of grave concern with evidence of violence towards children including sexual and gender-based violence, abduction and forced marriage, and forced recruitment into armed gangs.

What is Plan International’s humanitarian response?

Plan International is responding with food and nutrition interventions, educational programming, child-protection and psychosocial services, and livelihood initiatives.

In Diffa, Plan International Niger was chosen to lead the process of school risk analysis after around 44 schools were closed due to fear of attack. Plan International Nigeria is conducting targeted Cholera prevention and hygiene training.

In addition, our emergency response programmes are mobile in order to reach rural and remote communities. For example, in North East Nigeria several schools were destroyed during the conflicts. To ensure that children continue to access school, Plan International deploys mobile education units. Each unit is equipped with educational materials and a trained teacher who sets up a mobile class for around 4 hours each day.

What are food and nutrition interventions?

In the Lake Chad Programme, Plan International is supporting health facilities by providing ‘ready-to-use therapeutic food’ through UNICEF and providing equipment in order for the facilities to be functional.

We conduct MUAC (mid-upper arm circumference) screening and provide referral services so that malnourished children can be treated. Further, we support mothers of malnourished children with cash assistance.

What do child protection programmes and livelihood initiatives include?

We provide various services to children and their families. Direct child protection interventions include an early childhood care and development program, child-friendly spaces (static and mobile), gender-based violence case management. Indirect child protection services including family tracing and reunification, and the establishment and training of community-based child protection committees.

To date, 200 youth have been oriented on livelihood initiatives (sewing, cosmetic transformation, hairdressing, wood and metal joinery and carpentry work, vehicle repair, kitchen, plumbing). These practical skills are meant to provide youths with more varied career options, jumpstart income-generating capacity and help promote the local economy.

Is aid getting through to the people who are worst affected?

Despite our innovative approaches to reach out to the most vulnerable populations, there still remains a significant number of communities that cannot be accessed by humanitarian actors due to highly insecure context.

Plan International continues to coordinate with other humanitarian groups and advocate for access and resources to reach affected populations.