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CAMFED’s 2019 Annual Review is published today, looking back on a year of extraordinary milestones for our movement. Whilst recognizing these achievements — which include surpassing our 5-year headline goal of supporting 1 million girls in secondary school — we are also facing forward, with resolve, to provide continuity of support to the girls and communities hardest hit by the consequences of COVID-19. We cannot and must not let the pandemic wind back the clock on gains made for quality education and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“When more people are educated, it is the same as development. It is a great change in life. After being empowered through education, we all have the capabilities to change things and become reliable citizens in this world.” - Fanny, CAMFED Scholar, Malawi

Surpassing our audacious goal: 1 million girls

Each year since 2014, we have drawn closer to our audacious goal of supporting one million girls in secondary school within 5 years — and in 2019 we surpassed it, providing the resources for 1,205,336 adolescent girls to go to school. Importantly, nearly half of all these girls benefitted directly from the philanthropy and outreach of young women in the CAMFED Association, the network of women leaders educated with CAMFED support.

This is a tangible illustration of the multiplier effect of girls’ education achieved through CAMFED’s model, which sees women and their communities unlocking the majority of resources. With only 10 years to deliver the SDGs, this scalable and sustainable approach is one that we are poised to accelerate.

Catalyzing the power of women & girls, at scale

By the end of 2019, our movement had seen an exciting level of growth:

  • CAMFED had supported 4,150,543 students to go to primary and secondary school.
  • We were partnering with 6,853 government schools across 161 districts in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi.
  • 157,005 young women leaders in the CAMFED Association joined forces with 290,045 CAMFED Champions —  including parents, teachers and local leaders — to change the status quo for women and girls.
  • 9,145 young women had been trained as CAMFED Learner Guides (or life skills mentors) reaching 832,341 students.
  • 2,904 young women had been trained as CAMFED Transition Guides, supporting more than 97,000 school graduates on the path towards independent livelihoods.
  • 22,121 CAMFED Association members had started a business.

“This is a revolution of potential, not destruction; of love and compassion, not violence; of showing a better way forward, not repeating the history we have lived. This is a rare moment. This is not an African moment, but a world moment. This is our moment to unite, to pull together and make an outsized impact on the future.” - Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED Executive Director - Africa

Making an outsize impact: Our next strategic phase

CAMFED Association Learner Guide Sophia and secondary student Hanipha.

CAMFED Association Learner Guide Sophia (left) provides emotional and financial support to help Hanipha in her education. (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED)

The global pandemic challenged us to pull together like never before. Thanks to our unique operational model, we have been able to respond quickly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we are working to prevent the clock from being turned back on girls’ education and gender equality.

Our model — particularly our flagship Learner Guide Program — has proven agile and resilient. Learner Guides, educated young women who have dealt with adversity throughout their lives, are uniquely positioned to identify and support the most vulnerable in their communities with life skills and wellbeing lessons, study packs, health information, hygiene supplies, and food parcels. They are continuing their activism against gender-based violence and child marriage, working with their school communities and district officials to keep girls safe and learning, both at home and at school as these re-open.

In our next strategic phase, we will accelerate our investment in young women's activism, enterprise, and leadership, as we work with our partner communities to weather the crisis, and come out stronger and more innovative.

The multiplier effect built into our model — which sees every member of the CAMFED Association go on to support many more girls through school — will be tested in this next phase, as we aim to support 5 million more girls through secondary school by 2025.
As Nelson Mandela said, “It only seems impossible until it’s done.”

At a moment when taking action for change could not be more critical - for all our communities, our nations, and the world - we hold fast to our mantra that ‘Together We Can.’

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