‘Dear fellow refugee… It may feel like everything is dark and hopeless, but there is light ahead.’ 19-year-old Syrian refugee and education activist Muzoon wrote a powerful letter to fellow refugees. One year on from its launch at the World Humanitarian Summit, the #EducationCannotWait fund is reaching nearly 2 million children who are struggling to stay in school in Syria, Yemen, Chad and Ethiopia. The goal is to reach every crisis-affected child with safe, quality learning by 2030.

For every child, a future

A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin, where violence and destruction have caused huge population displacements, left hundreds of thousands of children trapped behind conflict lines and led to a dramatic increase in malnutrition. Many have lost years of education.

Boko Haram’s attacks and military counter-offensives have displaced more than 2 million people across north-eastern Nigeria, Cameroon’s Far North, western Chad and south-east Niger. The majority of the displaced are sheltered by communities who themselves count among the world’s most vulnerable. Vital infrastructure including health centres, schools, water pipelines and roads have been destroyed. Many of the children caught in the conflict have been subjected to unimaginable violence and abuse; they have lost their families, their homes and their schools.

Women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse, forced marriage, sexual slavery or forced labour. Children have been forcibly enrolled as combatants and used as suicide bombers. Across the region almost a third of the population is food insecure. Nearly half a million children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, many of whom could die if not urgently assisted.

Crisis at a glance

Voices of children

Take action

Advocacy plays an essential part of addressing the crisis, both on the government level and among engaged citizens. Here are some things we can all do to help:

Educate yourself. Use the resources on this page to learn more about the factors influencing the Nigeria regional crisis and the people whose lives have been impacted.

Use your influence. Find out what your government is doing to help those affected by the crisis. Challenge your leaders to take action, whether through policies or aid.

Raise awareness. Start conversations with your friends and family. Connect with @UNICEF on social media and share news and stories from children in Nigeria and the region with your network.

Donate. Support UNICEF in our efforts to help children in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon recover from severe malnutrition, illness and trauma.

Reports and resources

In the media