The Lake Chad Basin Crisis

The crisis in Nigeria

Imagine Boko Haram turning up in your village. You’ve not come face to face with them before – but you’ve heard the stories. The stories of violence, of suicide bombings, of kidnapping.  

Your life is in danger, your family is in danger. You have no choice but to run. This situation is a reality for millions of families in Nigeria.

The violent rise of Boko Haram began in Nigeria in 2009, when the extremist group started an armed rebellion against the Nigerian government. Since then, the conflict has grown. It now spills over into the neighbouring countries of NigerChad and Cameroon.

Nigeria map with stats

But the rise of Boko Haram violence isn’t the only factor forcing families to flee their homes. The military offensive countering Boko Haram is also causing huge displacement. 

In total, 2.4 million families have fled their homes, leaving behind their crops and livelihoods. This has resulted in a food crisis, as more and more families move into poor areas and large refugee camps where shelter, food and water are scarce.

Women, in particular, are at risk, as a lack of sufficient shelter increases their vulnerability to gender-based violence.

Good, quality shelter can provide privacy, dignity and a sense of normality that cuts through the chaos.

Where is Nigeria?

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with a total population of 190 million people.

It shares borders with Benin, ChadCameroon and Niger. ​Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.

Boko Haram’s heartland and main areas of control are in northeast Nigeria.

But the impact is felt far beyond this region, as families flee to neighbouring countries to escape the violence.

Map showing Nigeria

How are we helping?

A family in Nigeria sit inside their makeshift shelter

We have been working in Nigeria since 2018.  

Working with our partner ACTED, we have previously provided lifesaving items like tents, tarpaulins, shelter kits, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, water carriers, solar lights and blankets. Everything that families need to start rebuilding their lives.

We’ve helped over 11,000 families affected by the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin so far, but our work is not over yet.

Right now we are working again with our trusted partner ACTED in Nigeria, to help more families with essential aid. We’ll be supporting over 1,500 families with shelter kits, across two displacement camps in Borno state.

Distributions for our current project are complete.

Our partners in Nigeria

ACTED is one of our amazing partners who we work with to deliver essential aid into the hands of families who need it the most.

We work with them because their values are aligned with ours. Their mission is to save lives and support people in the hardest to reach areas.

We have also worked with ACTED in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past.

Falmata's story

When the military evacuated their village, Falmata’s family got left behind.  

Vulnerable – and afraid that they might be attacked – Falmata had no choice but to leave in search of a safer place.

When they reached a camp in the east of Nigeria, they lived in a school building with many other families. But an accidental fire destroyed the building, leaving them with nothing.

After the fire, the family received a shelter kit. Find out how Falmata’s family have started making a new life for themselves with the support of ShelterBox and ACTED.

Falmata’s story

Woman outside her shelter in Nigeria

More from the Lake Chad Basin


We’re working in Cameroon, where thousands of families have fled conflict and are now living in Minawao Camp.


Half a million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Chad. See how we’ve helped.


Niger is facing five major crises right now. Find out how we’re responding.