The exhibition “Lake Chad: Uncontrollable territory, daily life under control” is setting up shop in N’Djaména from 27 November to mid-December. The combined work of the photojournalist Pascal Maitre and the geographer-cartoonist Christian Seignobos highlights how various populations adapt to a complex and changing geography, on the edge of several troubled areas at the border between Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon.

On 27 November, the Institut Français will be the place to be in N’Djaména. It is here that the opening will be held of the exhibition “Lake Chad: Uncontrollable territory, daily life under control”, in the presence of one of the two authors, the geographer Christian Seignobos,  Director Emeritus for Research at IRD and author of the publication Forgotten Worlds: African Notebooks. The exhibition will be installed in the Chadian capital until mid-December prior to going to Cameroon. It also features the work of the photojournalist Pascal Maitre, for who Lake Chad is “a green space, full of life, exchanges and beauty”.


Lake Chad, Pascal Maitre
View of Lake Chad. © Pascal Maitre

This exhibition showing two viewpoints, which is open free to residents of N’Djaména, shows the lake region from a perspective little known by the general public. During over forty years of visits to the region, Christian Seignobos has many times got close to this country “without bearings and without maps, in which people do not know when and how they will be able to cross”, bringing back sketches and drawings with a timeless power.

Lake Chad, Christian Seignobos
Mbororo Biibe Woyla under transhumance move along the deflooded pastures of Lake Chad on the Cameroonian shore. Pack zebus carry women, children and the family’s goods. The nomads follow their herds, carry their habitat with them and settle depending on the changes in nature. © Christian Seignobos


Pascal Maitre, for his part, tells us about daily life and news, via sensitive and moving photos. Both of them show us scenes of life, trade, agriculture, fishing, rich flora and fauna, landscapes which have sometimes disappeared, forgotten worlds…

Lake Chad, Pascal Maitre
Popular restaurant in the city of Bol, on the shore of Lake Chad. © Pascal Maitre


The atrocities committed by the Boko Haram Group for some ten years now have deeply affected the populations of Lake Chad and its surrounding area. This crisis has many repercussions: the production systems and trade circuits have been severely disrupted. At the same time, people fleeing conflict areas have reached regions where their safety could be guaranteed. The number of these displaced persons is estimated at 2.3 million people. 

Today, 17.2 million people are still affected by the conflict, with 4.5 million food insecure, 515,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and 50,000 people suffering from famine in Nigeria. In this context, AFD is taking action via ambitious programs.

Supporting the displaced persons of Lake Chad

The RESILAC project, cofinanced by AFD and the European Union Emergency Trust Fund, aims to reduce community tensions and strengthen social cohesion in the Lake Chad region. It assists displaced persons by supporting their economic autonomy through the resumption of an activity, especially in agriculture. The actions are conducted jointly in the four countries around the lake. This regional project is part of the Kouri Initiative and is one of France’s contributions to the Sahel Alliance

Lake Chad, Pascal Maitre
Portrait of Mrs. Haoua Mahamat, the wife of a Boudouma herder. © Pascal Maitre


For further reading:  

The Lake Chad region faced with the ordeal of Boko Haram

AFD’s 2018 Panorama (p.114)

Cette publication n’engage que l’AFD ; elle n’engage pas la responsabilité de l’Union européenne.
This publication only engages AFD. It does not engage the responsibility of the European Union.