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Camfed was founded in 1993 by Ann Cotton. It began in Zimbabwe with financial support to a group of 32 girls to enable them to attend secondary school, proving that if poverty was taken out of the equation, ‘cultural’ reasons would fall away and girls would be in school alongside boys. By 2017, support had been extended to more than 1.5million children through a network of 5,500 schools in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

Camfed as an organisation has literally ‘grown up’ with the first cohorts of girls who received support, and they are now at the forefront of Camfed’s leadership. They are positioned as the experts in determining the most successful strategies to improve education and economic opportunity for young people in marginalised rural areas. United by CAMA, the Camfed alumnae association founded in 1998, they have inspired a new wave of support for girls’ education in their communities.

Camfed as an organisation has remained relatively small – as it is the power of its networks, underpinned by systems of accountability that are in turn enabled by technology, that provide a true model for sustainable scale.  

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