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This International Day of the Girl, Camfed launches a UK Aid Match appeal with real-life superheroes, giving UK residents the opportunity to change the world.

The #UnlockFutures appeal will focus on keeping girls in school and out of child marriage by unleashing the power of young women once at risk of becoming child brides. Trained as ‘GirlGuardians,’ they will be leading the charge to support girls in school. Through Aid Match, the UK Government will match all donations to this appeal until 10 January 2018, doubling the value of public support.

To launch the appeal and celebrate International Day of the Girl, Camfed is holding a launch event at London’s Institute for Government on 11 October 2017.  

The appeal focuses on the issue of child marriage in some of the poorest areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where as many as 6 out of 10 girls are married before the age of 18. Locked in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness, they are at grave risk of HIV/AIDS, physical violence, and serious complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Poverty and inequality drive this injustice, and the practice of child marriage in turn perpetuates this vicious cycle.

Imagine your daughter graduating from primary school into marriage and motherhood when she herself is still a child, her life stopped when it is just beginning. Where extreme poverty leaves families with little choice, and traditional practices discriminate against girls and young women, it feels like an intractable problem.  But together we can make sure that a girl is married to her future, not a man three times her age.

Lucy Lake, CEO, Camfed

Camfed’s unique solution takes shape in its alumnae network, CAMA, a membership association of young women who were supported to go to school by Camfed. 

Many of these young women were once themselves destined to be child brides, and they understand what it takes to help girls escape this poverty trap.

Their powers stem from their lived experience, their deep roots in their communities, and the respect they command from girls and families alike. As GirlGuardians, these real-life superheroes will be equipped with knowledge to provide girls with the practical support they need to stay in school and succeed, and to advocate for girls’ education and against child marriage with families and traditional leaders.

One such GirlGuardian is Camfed alumna Alice, who grew up in Samfya District, Zambia. Once destined to be a child bride, she now works with schools and communities to keep girls in school and out of child marriage, personally supporting 10 girls to go to school, and looking after two orphans.

Alice with some of the girls she is supporting to stay in school and out of child marriage.

Giving vulnerable girls the power to take control of their futures is fundamental to helping them escape the dangerous cycle of child marriage, early motherhood and poverty. By matching every penny of the UK’s generous donations to Camfed’s appeal, we are giving girls across Africa the hope of a better future.This money will help them finish their education and get good jobs, giving them brighter and more prosperous lives.

Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel

The UK Aid Match scheme allows taxpayers to make informed decisions about how a portion of the international development budget is spent, and it allows charities to explain why we should care for causes further away from home. 

When it comes to the proven returns on girls’ education and women’s empowerment, and their key role in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, protecting girls and unlocking their potential is the best investment all of us can make.

To find out more about our #UnlockFutures appeal and invest in girls’ education, click here.

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty

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Erica Choi $50

Urszula Wozniacka €20

Elisabeth Curtis $100

Richard Fosse €25

Hannah Jardine £157

Getruda Amos $10

Jan Garrill £230

Ellen Yount $150

Takudzwa Chakauya Mukwenha $10

Shaun O'Leary £30

Olivia Smith $20

Janet E Alexander $72

Bella Stoehr $700

Alastair Brown $40

Robert Genovese $30