Secondary school bursaries

CAMFED’s flagship funding program provides holistic support to girls from the start of secondary school to completion. Our targeted support typically includes school and/or exam fees, school uniforms, books, school equipment, and sanitary protection. It may also include bikes, boarding fees, or disability aids.

Since 1993, CAMFED has provided secondary school bursaries to girls from poor, rural communities in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bursary scheme targets girls selected by communities themselves as the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Many are orphans and at the highest risk of dropping out.

CAMFED guarantees that all girls identified to receive bursaries have the opportunity to complete a full cycle of secondary school, which is a four-year period in most of the countries in which we operate. CAMFED bursaries, combined with the work of CAMFED Learner Guides, who deliver life skills, study sessions and social support, have encouraged regular school attendance in partner schools while lowering drop-out rates. These school retention rates are an impressive achievement in a context of high drop-out rates in the countries where we operate, especially for girls in rural areas. 


more than 


of girls supported by CAMFED bursaries remain in school (average lower secondary school retention rate)

Funding for schools and vulnerable children

We support children from the poorest households to stay in primary school.

We partner with primary schools to deliver a Safety Net Fund, cover the cost of items children and their families cannot afford, like stationery, school clothing and shoes. This encourages children to learn and boosts their morale. Many of the children are orphans cared for by grandmothers or other relatives who have many other children to look after. As many as 20 percent of all children in rural Zambia are orphans, and the figure is around 25 percent in Zimbabwe. In recent years we have also started introducing the Learner Guide Programme, offering life skills, study support and mentoring, into primary schools.


children helped by CAMFED's Safety Net Fund so far

A lack of books, pencils and other school equipment in rural schools leads to high rates of grade repetition and drop out.

CAMFED resource grants help to provide books for classrooms and libraries, as well as teaching resources, such as stationery, chalk and blackboards. Learning resource grants can also go towards water, sanitation and hygiene programs in schools. CAMFED’s health and hygiene training in schools, through young women in the CAMFED Association, complements these projects.

After school

We support young women in applications for tertiary education, in youth enterprise and to seek employment.

CAMFED Association members trained as ‘Transition Guides,’ or Peer Educators, support girls in the critical period of transition from school to a secure young adulthood.

They deliver a series of sessions to help graduates acquire critical skills, including financial education and core business skills, alongside addressing sexual and reproductive health.

Transition Guides assist lower secondary school leavers to transition to higher secondary education, vocational training, and tertiary education, as well as supporting members to start and grow businesses and seek employment.

CAMFED Association members have been supported in
tertiary education

CAMFED Association members have started a business. 2,783 business were supported by Enterprise Guides in 2020.

Child protection

Child protection and safeguarding is central to CAMFED’s work.

We are receiving growing recognition as a leader in policy on child protection and the protection of girls. In Zambia for example, the Ministry of Education adopted national guidelines that were developed by CAMFED on preventing and stopping child abuse in schools. CAMFED provides child protection training to school and community networks, helping them to raise standards for safeguarding the rights and welfare of children. With training and support from CAMFED, partner schools can put child protection policies in place. Find out more about CAMFED's child protection and safeguarding policy.

CAMFED trains Teacher Mentors in all the schools with which we partner.

These teachers often act in loco parentis,  providing disadvantaged and vulnerable children, many of whom are orphaned, with crucial social guidance and support. We also work with school-based committees and Parent Support Groups so they can find the most effective ways to help children learn. Crucially, CAMFED, together with its leaders in the CAMFED Association,  offers support to girls and their communities at key points of transition, such as between primary and secondary school, and after secondary school, when girls are most vulnerable.


Teacher Mentors and Community Mentors have been trained

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