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On the night of our inaugural Gala celebrating 25 years of the Campaign for Female Education, Angie Murimirwa, CAMFED’s Executive Director in Africa, announced our audacious goal of supporting 5 million more girls to go to school. CAMFED honored multiple award-winning singer-songwriter, social activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox, and speeches from CAMFED Patron Julia Gillard, CAMFED CEO Lucy Lake, CAMFED alumnae and other distinguished speakers, galvanized guests into taking urgent action.  

“This is a movement. This is our moment.” was the resounding theme of the evening as we announced our goal of supporting 5 million more girls in sub-Saharan Africa to attend school. Throughout the evening, gala guests heard inspiring testimonials about the profound impact CAMFED’s programs have had on the lives of young women from Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These women make up a unique and powerful alumni network known as CAMA, a movement of nearly 140,000 young women leaders who have received secondary schooling through CAMFED and have gone on to establish successful careers as teachers, lawyers, health professionals, local government leaders and business women. CAMA members are united by one goal: to ensure that no girl is excluded - that every girl secures her right to go to school.

“We are not here to present you with a daunting problem, we are here to share with you an extraordinary possibility. For this is a pivotal moment. We are on the verge of the next incredible chapter of the Campaign for Female Education. A chapter that builds on the foundations we have laid over the past 25 years that mean we are set to take off.” - Lucy Lake, CEO, CAMFED

Joined by 14 alumnae leaders from 5 African countries on stage, CAMFED CEO Lucy Lake addressed more than 550 gala guests on the impact of our movement over the last 25 years and why the mission for all girls to receive an education is so important today. Operating under a “R.E.D. Alert,” which stands for Returns, Equality and Disruption, Lucy explained the staggering truth that millions of girls are denied their right to education every single day due to the vicious cycle of poverty. As CAMFED’s work over the last quarter century has proven, the returns of investing in girls’ education are game changing. Girls’ education is the most effective weapon in the global fight against climate change and other crucial issues affecting our world today. CAMFED disrupts the status quo by ensuring that young women are able to step forward and take their rightful place in the world as bold, accomplished and capable leaders.

At the Gala, CAMFED recognized multiple award-winning singer-songwriter, social activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox, a steadfast advocate for the women’s leadership movement today. Annie Lennox shares our belief that the global fight for equality starts with girls’ education.  

Her tireless advocacy and exceptional efforts in ensuring that every girl and woman are given the means to unlock their potential has been critical in giving a voice to this powerful movement that ensures every female has the ability to take their rightful and critical place in the world.

After giving a rousing speech of her own, celebrating CAMA as a movement poised to transform Africa, CAMFED patron, and the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, introduced Annie Lennox in a moving tribute that highlighted her global fight for female equality.

Annie Lennox and Julia Gillard

Annie Lennox, honoree, accepts a very special award, custom made in Africa, from CAMFED patron Julia Gillard

The “Education Changes Everything” Gala was hosted by Lori Stokes, co-anchor of FOX 5 Good Day New York, and featured a powerful, world-premiere performance of “Let Us Dance,” a global empowerment anthem by musician/activist Drea Pizziconi’s featuring Grammy-Nominated artist Maimouna Youssef.

Honorary Event Chairs in attendance included Sandra Bookman, reporter and anchor at WABC-TV in New York City; Simone Boyce, Host of NBC News Signal; Vy Higginsen, theater producer, playwright, TV personality, and Executive Director of the Mama Foundation for the Arts; and Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, digital pioneer and philanthropist.  The evening’s corporate co-chairs were Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Seth Zachary, Chairman of Paul Hastings LLP.

Read more in Variety Magazine.

Watch our speech highlights video from the gala.