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Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 64% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day. Some 15% of the adult population has AIDS; an estimated 1.1 million children are orphans.

Girls experience high rates of exclusion from education because of extreme poverty, most prevalent in the rural areas of the Western, Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces. These provinces fare much worse than others in government assessments of income levels, education and health. Zambia is ranked 13th out of 15 countries for literacy and numeracy by the Southern African Consortium for Measuring Education Quality.

Girls are far more likely to drop out of school, with the biggest disparities measured in rural communities: 27% of females in rural areas have no education compared to 18% of males. Pregnancy, early marriage and poverty are intrinsically linked and are the main challenges Zambian girls face in staying in school, particularly in rural schools.

CAMFED launched in Zambia in 2001, and since then we have seen huge growth. In 2007, we were working in just ten districts. By 2019 we were working in 45 districts and in 1,251 partner schools. We are working with the government on gender equality and child protection, keeping girls in school and preventing child marriage. It’s so exciting to see CAMFED graduates going back to their communities, getting jobs, and mentoring the next generation. These young women are teaching in schools, working as nurses in the clinics, and working as police women, proving that the work CAMFED is doing is sustainable and benefiting whole communities for the long term. Our partners are seeing the impact. That’s the thing that we find most exciting. It really is life-transforming work!

Staff and alumnae from CAMFED Zambia and CAMFED Malawi join the global call to end child marriage.

  • 43,376

    Students supported with secondary scholarships

    CAMFED provides holistic and targeted support for girls to go to secondary school, covering needs that might include school or exam fees, uniforms, sanitary wear, books, pens, bikes, boarding fees or disability aids.

  • 311,036

    Students supported to go to primary school

    CAMFED's Safety Net Fund for partner primary schools provides essential items for children at primary school to prevent them from dropping out of school.

  • 1,251

    Partner Schools

    CAMFED works in genuine partnership with government schools to help improve the learning environment for all students. Sharing information on school performance and working with the community to implement change is crucial to success.

  • 34,046

    Community Champions

    CAMFED's program works because of the commitment of local community champions and activists. These volunteers include everyone from traditional leaders to government education officials, teachers, parents, and former students.

  • 13,949

    CAMFED Association

    Members of the CAMFED Association - the largest network of its kind in Africa - offer peer support, mentoring, and training and leadership opportunities, and spearhead our programs.

  • 187,765

    Students supported by community initiatives

    CAMFED Association members partner with their communities to support more vulnerable children to go to primary and secondary school, by providing school meals, paying school fees, buying supplies, or providing a home to orphans, for example.

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