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.

Our projects in Nigeria are now complete but read on to discover what issues people still face today and to discover how ShelterBox helped.

Nigerian man sits on the ground making a sweeping brush from dried grasses

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.

But the rise of Boko Haram violence wasn’t the only factor forcing families to flee their homes when we worked in the country. The military offensive countering Boko Haram was also causing huge displacement.

More than 2.9 million families had fled their homes, leaving behind their crops and livelihoods. This had resulted in a food crisis, as more and more families moved into poor areas and large refugee camps where shelter, food and water were scarce.

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

Where is Nigeria?

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with a total population of 211 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 did ShelterBox help?

Supono from Nigeria sits in a Bama shelter holding a blanket and other ShelterBox aid
59-year-old Supono received a Bama shelter and household items. “I am very happy because, before now, I did not have a place of my own"

We worked in Nigeria from 2018 to 2022.  

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

We helped over 7,300 families in Nigeria alone.

Our most recent project supported families with a type of shelter known locally as a Bama shelter, as well as other essential aid items. Aid distributions are now 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 worked 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.


Niger was facing five major crises when we worked there. Find out how we responded.