Despite having obtained a lower middle income status, Zambia continues to face high levels of poverty and inequality, with  58% of the population living on less than $1.90 per day.An estimated 10% of children under 18 are orphans.2

Girls experience high rates of exclusion from education due to extreme poverty, most prevalent in the rural areas of the Western, Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces where CAMFED operates. These provinces fare much worse than others in government assessments of income levels, education and health. Zambia is ranked 13th out of 14 countries for literacy and numeracy by the Southern African Consortium for Measuring Education Quality.3

In Zambia, 39% of girls are married before the age of 18, and 9% before the age of 15.Poverty, child marriage and early pregnancy are intrinsically linked and are the main challenges Zambian girls face in staying in school, particularly in rural schools. Girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school, with the biggest disparities measured in rural communities: 13% of females in rural areas have no education compared to 5% of males in urban areas.4

"CAMFED has been operating in Zambia since 2001 when it was invited to support the Ministry of Education to improve access to and completion of education for rural girls. By 2021, CAMFED Zambia had expanded its operations from 3 districts to 47, across four provinces.

CAMFED’s action empowers the most marginalized girls in rural Zambia to attain a full secondary school education by providing them with comprehensive support, material and non-material, to meet their needs and inspire them to reach their full potential. We also specifically reach out to girls with disabilities to ensure they are not left behind in their pursuit of their right to education. With CAMFED Zambia’s interventions, the girls under its support achieve a completion rate of 96% and a progression rate of 98%."

In partnership with the dynamic group of young educated women in the CAMFED Association, CAMFED Zambia’s programs are also benefiting thousands of children with an improved learning environment. CAMFED Zambia’s post-school programs provide school-to-work bridges and assist CAMFED Association members to become financially independent, enabling each member to support an average of three more children through school.”

Dorothy Kasanda, National Director, CAMFED Zambia

CAMFED trains Learner Guides — young women who were once at risk of becoming child brides themselves — to support girls in schools and in their communities, unlocking opportunities to escape poverty.

  • 62,611

    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.

  • 393,951

    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.

  • 1,263

    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.

  • 36,594

    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.

  • 15,271

    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.

  • 222,984

    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.


1. World Bank (2015), http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/country/ZMB, (accessed 05 May 2020)

2.  Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (2018), p. 14, https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR361/FR361.pdf, (accessed 13 May 2020)

3. According to the 2007 Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ), which tests students in grade 6 in 14 Southern and Eastern African countries, Zambia ranked 13th in Reading performance and came last in Mathematics. 

World Bank 2015, Policy Brief: Zambia, Keeping Girls in School: Situation Analysis for Zambia  p.2,  Figure 1,  SAQMEQ III Scores in Reading and Mathematics in Select African Countries, 2007, https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/23865/K8486.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y, (accessed 19 May 2020)

4.   World Inequality Database on Education, https://www.education-inequalities.org/countries/zambia/ 13, (accessed 19 May 2020)

5. Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (2018), p.63, https://www.dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR361/FR361.pdf, (accessed 19 May 2020)

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