The impact of the protracted humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region is one of the most significant vulnerabilities for communities in general, but more specifically for girls. In 2018, Plan International carried out a study in the Lake Chad region on Adolescent Girls in Crisis.
This study highlighted many challenges for girls including early and forced marriage, lack of access to quality education, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services and exclusion from decision making. Added to these significant challenges, we must now add congestion in internally displaced camps caused by lockdowns, closure of schools and therefore curtailments to educational activities; closure of child friendly spaces due to issues relating to social distancing, lack of access to water and sanitation, increasing burden of care for family members and disruption to household income. Even before the COVID 19 crisis, food security was a huge issue in the Lake Chad region.
Up until April 19th, there had been no reported cases of COVID 19 in the Lake Chad region where Plan International works. However, on April 19th the index case was identified in Borno State, Nigeria. While up until that point, many activities were still being implemented, the identification of positive cases meant the introduction of a lock down by the State authorities. Organisations providing essential services could apply for passes in order to be able to reach communities but unfortunately Plan International only received two passes and this has curtailed our work.