CAMFED Announces Expanded Partnership with Kiva for Young Women in Rural Africa

NewsPublished on:

CAMFED Announces Expanded Partnership with Kiva for Young Women in Rural Africa

With over two million young people assisted through the CAMFED program, Kiva’s added support is empowering young women to be leaders in business and creators of social change

San Francisco, April 15, 2014 – Everyone knows that any loan must be repaid with interest. But what if the interest didn’t get repaid with money? What if the lender’s interest was repaid through the creation of more opportunities for girls and women, and a break in the cycle of poverty? What if the interest is a promise of a better world?

Together with, CAMFED announced the second wave of a groundbreaking program that gives young women living in rural Zimbabwe loans to expand their businesses and become more self-reliant. CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) is an international nonprofit organization that focuses on eradicating poverty in rural Africa by investing in education for girls and supporting the economic self-reliance and leadership of young women.

For more than 20 years, CAMFED has helped educate young women in rural Africa and given them grants to start their own businesses,” said Ann Cotton, founder and President of CAMFED. “Now, through this program, we are giving young women entrepreneurs loans to expand their businesses, and in exchange they improve their communities, take care of their families, and work as ‘Learner Guides,’ or teaching mentors, to the next generation of girls in Africa. In a sense, we are exchanging a decades long cycle of poverty for African woman with a new cycle of opportunities. This is a thrilling paradigm shift.

The loans to these young women are funded by everyday people lending just $25 at a time. Visitors to can browse through the stories and profiles of young women entrepreneurs and choose one that they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. When that woman repays, lenders can withdraw their $25 from the system or relend it to another entrepreneur on

Loans to the Learner Guides average $500, a significant amount in a country where the average annual income is $400. The borrowers do repay the loans. However, in exchange for receiving capital and business training to expand their businesses, CAMFED borrowers repay the interest on their loans by serving as teaching assistants in local high schools.

Consider it “social interest” that generates social change.

Women who receive the loans commit to set, documented hours serving as teaching assistants. Borrowers help support girls in math, English and a Wellbeing Curriculum that covers critical skills including decision-making, problem solving, leadership, entrepreneurship, resilience, communication skills and empathy.

For many of us, global poverty feels impossibly large, it’s easy to get overwhelmed to the point where we fail to act. It’s easy to forget the power that we have as individuals,” said Premal Shah, President and co-founder of Kiva. “This partnership gives each of us a way to participate in the success of these women and to support them in building leadership among girls. As women gain financial freedom the generational cycle of poverty is broken for families, communities and entire nations.

The partnership between Kiva and CAMFED started in Zimbabwe. In just seven short months, more than 2,000 Kiva lenders have funded a total of $137,000 to 273 Cama entrepreneurs. The success since the launch has prompted new rounds of loans to hundreds of women and an expansion into further countries where CAMFED operates. Tanzania will be coming online shortly, with Ghana and Zambia additional areas with thousands of Cama members whose leadership and entrepreneurship are thriving and ripe to expand. CAMFED plans to distribute 2,000 Kiva-funded loans by the end of the year.

I have grown a lot in business ever since I received the loan. I am now a shop owner and my life has improved for the better. My siblings and parents have enough healthy food, and I am paying school fees for my brothers and sisters, and for good clothes for the whole family,” said Mavis Nyamande, a 24-year-old loan recipient from Zimbabwe. “In the spirit of Together We Can and ploughing back, I threw a Christmas party for my village members who are also my customers, and they came and enjoyed a meal. That’s what we Cama members do best. We share. And now, I’m very honored to serve as a teacher.

Young girls enter the CAMFED program at the transition from primary to high school. CAMFED then provides funding and resources to help girls stay in school and succeed academically. Upon graduation, they become Cama alums, with access to business training and grants.

The new ‘social interest’ loans are helping to expand CAMFED’s mission to create new generations of empowered women in Africa. The ultimate goal is to help young women break the cycle of poverty in their families, communities and countries. With a solid education and access to business opportunities, the programs make women more self-reliant and successful.

CAMFED’s partnership with Kiva – a pioneer in microlending reaching millions of people worldwide – is just one more innovative strategy to help women to overcome the challenges that they face in rural Africa and become leaders. Camfed knows that education leads to greater health and prosperity. Research shows that educated girls are three times less likely to become HIV-positive, invest 90% of their earnings in their families, and have fewer and healthier children.

For more information please visit and


CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education, fights poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa by educating girls and empowering women to be leaders of change. Since 1993, over 2.5 million children and young people have benefited from CAMFED’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi. CAMFED International is based in Cambridge, UK and Camfed USA is based in San Francisco. Visit for more information.

About Kiva: is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that connects millions of people around the world through lending to alleviate poverty. With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy and realize their potential. Since its inception in 2005, and their growing global community of 1 million lenders have crowdfunded more than $550 million in loans to over 1.2 million people, with a 98% repayment rate. Visit for more information.

Media Contact:
Ann Cotton
Founder and President, CAMFED International
[email protected]
+44 1223 362648

Brooke Hutchinson
Director, CAMFED USA
[email protected]

Jason Riggs
Communications Director,
[email protected]

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty


Niall Doherty $310

Rob Nickerson £350

Niall Doherty $215

David WOLFSON $750

Wendy Wallbrunn $40

Jonathan Wilkinson £50

Albert Zabin $200

Steve Osman $100

Roe & Maggie Stone $100

Betty Schwab $25

Jonathan Brody $40

Bonne Mogulescu $150

William Wiedmann $150

Adrianna Timmons $360

Lizbeth Garcia $10