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Today Camfed’s CEO, Lucy Lake, and Camfed Zimbabwe’s Women Empowerment Manager, Sinikiwe Makove, join Pearson’s Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer, Kate James, at a special launch event with staff and partners, celebrating the scale up of our joint commitment to improving the prospects for girls and young women in rural Africa.

The Camfed Learner Guide Program, developed in partnership with Pearson, is being extended in Tanzania to support more than 6,400 children in 80 schools. Through the programme, educated young women in Camfed’s CAMA alumnae network are trained to return to their local schools to deliver vital life skills lessons to marginalized children. To recognize their work, Pearson is now awarding BTEC qualifications to Camfed’s Learner Guide alumnae. Pearson is also launching an employee fundraising campaign, which it will match, boosting the work of Learner Guides by sending more girls to secondary school with the materials they need to succeed.

“In large parts of Africa, upwards of 40% of children are living in poverty and not receiving an education or gaining the crucial skills needed to get a job.” -  Kate James,Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer at Pearson

Speaking ahead of the event at Pearson’s London headquarters, Kate James said, “In large parts of Africa, upwards of 40% of children are living in poverty and not receiving an education or gaining the crucial skills needed to get a job. Together with Camfed we’re determined to play a role in helping improve the life prospects and career opportunities for young people in Africa – with a particular focus on empowering young girls.”

Lucy Lake added, “Our partnership with Pearson has opened up opportunities among some of the most marginalized young people around the world. The BTEC qualification for Learner Guides is opening up new pathways to enhance young women’s employability and access to further education, and provides an important example of what’s possible in the drive to achieve the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The first 567 Learner Guides have just earned a tailored Pearson BTEC Level 3 Advanced Diploma for their work in Zimbabwe. Pearson has committed to certifying 5,000 Learner Guides by 2019. Sinikiwe Makove has worked with many of them, and brings to the event the stories of these activists and entrepreneurs.

Students in a Camfed partner school running the Learner Guide Program in Tanzania.The Learner Guide Program, combined with the Pearson BTEC qualification, supports girls to succeed and young women to gain access to teacher training colleges and other vocational opportunities.

Ahead of the launch event, Sinikiwe Makove said: “I see the change in the young women and the girls they support. They grow in confidence, they have new tools to shape their lives. Learner Guides are becoming leaders and philanthropists. Lindiwe, for example, now runs an innovative drinks business – the first Camfed alumna whose business is registered with the Zimbabwean government. Through her profits she supports more children to go to school. And as one of the first BTEC recipients, she is now able to pursue her dream of becoming a fully qualified teacher. Imagine thousands more trained female teachers, who understand all the barriers to education imposed by poverty – they will make all the difference for children in rural Zimbabwe.”

You can now see a recording of the live event here. (Registration required)

“There is no justice without girls’ education — and this is how we achieve it”

In honor of the event, which coincides with World Day of Social Justice, Sinikiwe’s colleague and CAMA alumnae leader Fiona Mavhinga has written a blog, published today in the Huffington Post:  There is no justice without girls’ education - and this is how we achieve it.