Camfed is unique in the emphasis we place on continued support to girls outside the classroom and once they finish school.
The end of school is a time when young rural women in Africa are highly vulnerable. Often facing a lengthy wait between exams and results, they lack financial security. Camfed offers training, finance, and peer support at this critical juncture.
Business training and financial literacy
Camfed health activists are trained by healthcare professionals so they can train others.
These activists can then target rural communities far away from mainstream health services on hygiene and disease prevention. They play an important role in increasing HIV awareness and support in rural areas. Girls between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest rate of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa, so training young women on HIV is a well-targeted intervention. Since they come from the communities themselves, CAMA members are often able to tackle ‘taboo’ subjects to bring about health improvements.
To date, 7,312 young women in the CAMA network have received training to be community health activists in rural communities. In 2014 alone, the number of students and community members reached by Health Activists and Learner Guides was 262,473.
Read about one of our health activists here
Young women help us collect information using the latest technology, boosting their skills and confidence.
Former bursary students form part of a vast group of volunteers who support Camfed in monitoring and evaluating our programs. The young women use mobile phones to capture data from schools and communities, which is then transmitted back to centralised databases. This has not only reduced the time taken using the previous paper-based process from weeks to hours, and enhanced accuracy, but it also provides data that Camfed shares back with schools and others to help with targeted planning for the future.
We have also funded ICT centres in rural areas of Ghana and Zambia, run and managed by former Camfed bursary students, which are benefiting the whole community by improving access to goods and services and introducing new skills. Camfed’s experience has shown that by using technology and strengthening community ownership of data collection and analysis, the skill levels, confidence and status of young women in rural areas is greatly increased.
Helping to create more teachers helps boost quality of teaching and produces new role models.
Camfed supports training for secondary school graduates so that they can work as fully qualified or assistant teachers in rural schools. This is particularly important for poor rural communities where the ratio of teachers to pupils is very low, absenteeism among teachers is rife, and teachers in general have fewer qualifications than teachers in urban and wealthier areas. It also means that girls in school have adult female role models within the teaching environment, which is crucial as many of these schools have few or no female teachers.
Often these women go on to become teacher mentors in our partner schools.