As part of a year of 25th anniversary celebrations, CAMFED (the Campaign for Female Education) will unveil its first ever garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May 2019).

The CAMFED Garden, “Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow,” will feature vibrant colours and bold foliage, bringing rural Africa to central London. The garden will be created by acclaimed designer Jilayne Rickards, inspired by her visit to a CAMFED partner community in Zimbabwe. Showcasing trees, crops and bulbs typical to Zimbabwe, along with an outdoor learning space, we’re thrilled that this unique garden will live on at the Eden Project in Cornwall after its debut in Chelsea.

We are delighted to bring the surroundings of rural Zimbabwe to one of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s prestigious show gardens. This innovative garden design illustrates how we support girls in the classroom and beyond, to reach their full potential.

Lucy Lake, CEO

“For 25 years, CAMFED has worked to educate girls and empower young women in sub-Saharan Africa,” Lucy adds. “We are working to equip more CAMFED Association members to become sustainable agriculture experts, using their horticultural and entrepreneurial skills to provide nutrient-rich food, education and employment for people in their communities, and to build resilience to climate change.”

The CAMFED garden, built by Conway Landscapes, will combine colourful aesthetics with productivity, using plants with edible fruit, flowers, leaves or roots, to reflect the importance of horticulture as a source of food and income in rural Zimbabwe.

Biofortified crops including beans and maize, specially adapted to maximise yield where resources are scarce, will be showcased.

Height and texture will be offered by large-leaved fruit trees including banana and papaya.

Added colour will come from red soil and rocks typical of the Zimbabwean landscape as well as from deep blue walls framing the space.

Design for the CAMFED Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

The CAMFED Garden brings a corner of rural Zimbabwe to Chelsea.

CAMA member and agricultural entrepreneur, Beauty

Beauty holding iron-enriched beans she grows on her farm in rural Zimbabwe.

The scheme was influenced by the places and people that garden designer Jilayne Rickards encountered during a trip to Zimbabwe.

Jilayne was particularly inspired by CAMFED Association member and agricultural entrepreneur, Beauty. Beauty experienced a difficult childhood seeing her parents struggle to make ends meet through small-scale market gardening.

With educational and training opportunities opened up to her by CAMFED, Beauty now runs her own successful farming business.

Embracing innovation, Beauty has been trialling iron-enriched beans to give people in her community, particularly expectant mothers, better nutrition, and she plans to install a drip-irrigation system to help her manage periods of drought more effectively.

In the CAMFED garden every element will be functional as well as beautiful, reflecting the commitment of women like Beauty to feed and support others. It is an exciting challenge to bring a corner of rural Africa to Chelsea.

Jilayne Rickards, garden designer

“Meeting Beauty prompted me to consider gardening with a fresh perspective,” adds Jilayne. “Her determination to benefit her community through the plants she grows is remarkable. We hope UK gardeners will take inspiration from CAMFED’s mission and from the environmentally-friendly aspects such as the raised beds that showcase water conservation techniques.”

To allow more people to enjoy and learn from the garden following the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it will continue to thrive at The Eden Project. The Eden Project’s expertise in exotic flora and deep commitment to sustainability makes this a fitting collaboration. Their work aims to connect people to our living surroundings, something embodied in this fruitful garden. With this project CAMFED will build on 25 years of work in girls’ education and women’s empowerment, with the ambitious aim of unleashing an expansive network of climate smart entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.  

Find out more about the CAMFED garden

Read garden designer Jilayne Rickards’ blog

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty


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