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COVID-19 and girls' education- Responding to the challenges in Zimbabwe - Video Transcript

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Katie Maude-Barker, Senior Development Manager, CAMFED International Okay. It looks like we have a good number of people on the call at the moment. So, welcome to today’s conversation. Thank you, everyone, for joining us and taking some time out today to be with CAMFED. My name’s Katie Maude-Barker, I’m a Senior Development Manager at CAMFED International.

You’ll see that you’ve all joined in listen and view only mode, if you’re having a hard time hearing any of the speakers, please make sure you have your volume turned up. We have some time for questions towards the end of the conversation, so please send any questions you have using the Q&A button at the bottom of the zoom window, and we will endeavor to answer them. We will be recording today’s conversation and sharing the video afterwards. So, if you need to leave the call for any reason, you’ll still get to experience the conversation that way.

As valued members of our global CAMFED family. We wanted to share with you how the COVID 19 pandemic has been affecting rural communities across Africa and how CAMFED, and particularly our alumni network, the CAMFED Association, are responding. We’re at a pivotal moment in the pandemic, with some countries starting to ease their restrictions and come out of lockdown, while others, particularly in countries in Africa, are seeing number of cases rise.

CAMFED has worked consistently throughout the pandemic to equip our alumnae network with the resources and support they need to reach the most vulnerable and remote students and to ensure those students feel supported while they’re out of school and are in the best place possible to return to schools once they do reopen. I am delighted to be joined today by three women who are able to tell you a lot more about CAMFEDs response to COVID-19.

The first is Faith Nkala, who’s our National Director at CAMFED Zimbabwe. Faith has extensive experience working in social development and has an in-depth understanding of the global development context. As one of the first young women supported to go to school by CAMFED and a founding member of the CAMFED Association of young women leaders, Faith uses her own experience in her work with communities to transform young people’s prospects through education.

We’re also joined today by Sinikiwe Makove, Head of Programs at CAMFED Zimbabwe. Sinikiwe has experience working with communities from her time in government heading Community Development and Women’s Empowerment Initiative, she oversees capacity building and training of all of Zimbabwe’s partnerships and stakeholders and has been involved in the launch of programs and training of stakeholders in all five countries where CAMFED operates. She is fueled by beholding the transformation which education, support and prioritization of needs for vulnerable communities and girls bring.

And leading today’s conversation is Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Adviser for the CAMFED Association. Fiona was one of the first young women who completed her education with CAMFED support. A lawyer by training, she leads on the strategic development of the CAMFED Association, which now has 157,000 members across our five countries and over 62,000 in Zimbabwe. So Fiona, I’ll now hand over to you.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Katie, for the introductions. And thank you once more, everyone, for joining us today. This conversation with my colleagues from Zimbabwe will focus on how COVID 19 has affected CAMFED’s work in the country and how we are rising up to the challenge in response.

Before we jump into that, I just want to highlight a few things as a reminder. CAMFED’s work started in Zimbabwe over 25 years ago, so CAMFED working in Zimbabwe is the first of CAMFED’s work in supporting girls’ education in Africa. The first group of 32 girls to receive support to go to secondary school was in Zimbabwe as Katie mentioned. Faith, now our National Director for Zimbabwe is one of those girls.

To date, CAMFED has supported over 107,000 girls to go to secondary school in Zimbabwe, and over 62,000 of them have completed and are now members of the CAMFED alumnae network. And because of the strong established and cultivated approach working with communities, communities have really rallied behind CAMFED’s work in Zimbabwe in coming in to support over 250,000 children in primary and secondary schools.

One thing that we are also very proud of is the multiplier effect of CAMFED’s support. The 62,000 young women who have completed school with CAMFED’s support are now supporting the next generation of girls, with each supporting three others to be able to go to school. These members are really a power force in a new narrative in the marginalized communities that they come from. And we’ll be hearing how they have been rising to the challenge presented by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Let me at this point invite Faith Nkala, National Director for CAMFED Zimbabwe. Faith, if I may ask you this question, how has COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in Zimbabwe? What is it meant for CAMFED’s work and in particular, given CAMFED’s focus on supporting girls in rural schools, what is being the impact on rural communities? What kind of issues are you seeing coming up and how have you continued to reach the girls we support in these challenging circumstances? Faith, I hand over to you.

 

Faith Nkala, National Director, CAMFED Zimbabwe Thank you very much, Fiona, for this opportunity. And thank you, everyone, for joining us this evening. I think it’s to Fiona’s point, CAMFED’s programs has been really operating for a long period of time in Zimbabwe. I think long enough to produce products like myself as one of the first young women to be supported through secondary school by CAMFED.

So, coming back, Fiona, to your question. The current situation in Zimbabwe with COVID. So, in March, on March 21, to be exact, Zimbabwe reported its first COVID positive case and on the 30th of March as Zimbabwe went on lockdown. And we are still on lockdown, actually stage two lockdown currently with some of the conditions eased.

But over the past two weeks, we have seen an increase in the local transmission cases for COVID 19 in the country. And actually, there is a possibility of some of the conditions being tightened again. That’s when we went on lockdown the schools closed as well as the universities and colleges as a measure to try and contain the spread of COVID 19.

Now, we have seen more deaths. We have been seeing more local transmissions as we speak. As of yesterday, we have got 1089 positive cases cumulatively and the majority of those local transmission, as well as 20 deaths. So initially, the government had planned for schools to be opened on the 28th of July, starting with the examination classes for 2020, that is our group sevens form fours and form six.

But because of these increases in cases, the schools opening has been further deferred, to be announced as the authorities continue to monitor the situation but however there’s been strategies which have been put in place by the Government of Zimbabwe to try and to ensure that learning continues even while the schools are closed like now.

So, we do have some regulations which are being broadcasted for the primary school level, that is from ECDA to grade six. And we do have TV lessons as well which have started on being planned for starting with the city. But there’s been some different printed material which has been worked on by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and has been posted on the websites. So, they also are working on trying to print those as well so that they get to those learners who cannot access some of that material on the on the internet or on the websites.

Talking about tertiary institutions, because we do have as well some young women we partner with, or we support who are in tertiary institutions. The tertiary institutions closed at the same time as the secondary and high schools. But the universities have started opening in June in a phased approach as well, starting with the final years and the first years who have joined classes in most of the universities. Just this Monday we had most of the teacher colleges as well as polytechnical colleges opening doors for classes for the students who are enrolled with them.

But things like meetings in Zimbabwe, they are still very restricted except for funerals and churches, but with people who are not more than 50. So that’s more than the current situation. Let me talk a little bit about how then we have responded to get that and in partnership with the government to some of these things. CAMFED Zimbabwe is part of the education classes in emergencies.

So, when the country went on lockdown and schools got closed, a strategy was developed to try and respond to COVID. So, it was called the COVID 19 Preparedness and Response Strategy. So, it was more a way to have a coordinated and harmonized way to respond to this pandemic and to ensure that children can continue to learn somehow and also be protected. So, our work as well as CAMFED has been guided by this strategy. The strategy focused more on alternative learning approaches and as well as the back to school and opening. We were sure, and we are still sure, that the children need to come back to school when it’s safe for them to do that together with their teachers.

But the issue is how much should we prepare and what should be done for those children to be able to return back to a safe school? So as well, the school feeding aspect is another key pillar within that strategy. So CAMFED has been participating actively in the development of all these strategies as well is some response mechanisms. The situation really feels daunting when you are explaining it. But we are very excited to share that even within this engagement as CAMFED, we continue to look at the equity issues.

Our focus has been on the most vulnerable children, especially the girls and the children with disabilities, because we knew that these ones would be at the greatest risk of dropping out or not be able to return back to school at all if they are not supported during this period. So CAMFED, together with these stakeholders and the CAMFED Association members, as Fiona talked about, this movement which we have within the young women who have been supported through school by CAMFED, in Zimbabwe, 62,000 of them, they have really stepped up the activities to provide communities with support, especially for the vulnerable children.

And my colleague, Sinikiwe will be digging much more in there in terms of how they’ve been doing this. And they’re giving very specific examples of how the young women have been doing this, but they really have come up with different initiatives and activities to support, especially the most vulnerable children.

So, the CAMFED Association members have been looking at home visits, seeing how possible they can continue to engage with our learners even while the schools are closed. Because these CAMFED Associated members come from these communities, they grew up in these communities. They live with the learners whom we support to go to school. They continue to have an opportunity to check on them, to disseminate the right information, to share information, new information, as it was coming through from the Ministry of Health and who saw it. They really have been helpful in that regard.

But also, the girls we are supporting come from the poorest of the 29 rural districts in Zimbabwe. So, some of the strategies I’ve been talking about which have been employed, they, the girls, cannot really access them easily because of maybe internet challenges or it could be the availability of the gadgets themselves for them to be able to access some of the online material which is there or the radio lessons.

The CAMFED Association young women have been ensuring that they continue to support learning for these learners including some of the young women who are in universities and some of them have been trained as teachers, but currently have been in their communities because the universities are closed. They continue to ensure that they have smaller groups which they can organize and ensure that our girls continue to learn, especially those ones in the examination classes.

But there’s also the issue of supporting them to return to school, that they are continuing to remind the girls that, yes, the schools are closed, but learning should continue, and we need to be able to be ready to get back to school as well. So right now we are working with 28th of July in there was the need for the girls to be ready to come back to school to ensure that they have got enough personal protective equipment, the masks for them to come back to school, the soaps for them to be able to come back to school, to wash their masks in all and even disseminating the information on how to take care of them if those must.

So, the young women really have been playing a critical role in that. Some of the things, Fiona, I know you asked about how the communities have been affected, during our monitoring and continued engagement with the learners even during this period of lockdown, we have realized that the issue of hunger continued to be a key issue for most of our learners.

I’m sure from the different reports people are reading, realizing how that 50% of the population in Zimbabwe is food insecure, and this includes some of the learners we support as well. So, most of the initiatives which I have been doing is in response to such issues like hunger, ensuring that we have the food packages for the affected families and ensuring that even that various government safety net funds they get to reach those who are most vulnerable and who need that support.

The issue of child protection and child labor and peace works, early marriages have also come strongly during this lockdown period. And we have observed that because right now the informal sector is not operating in Zimbabwe, quite a number of families have been affected and you could see that in some cases the girls are being asked to work as menial jobs, small jobs to try and support the family. And the majority of that learners we support also had families. So, you would see that now because this informal sector is not operating, they can’t sell vegetables or any other for them to earn, it has been very difficult for such families.

So, we have continued also to put in place packages of support through the CAMFED Association to respond to such news. But the general interference on continued lending has been the other thing as well, Fiona, looking at the girls being girls in their at home, in their rural home. Most of the families and guardians would look at it as you are not going to school, you are at home, so you should be helping in the vegetable garden or in the fields. So, there’s been a lot of awareness with families and communities to say, look, it’s only that the schools are closed, but the learning should continue.

And CAMFED this year is supporting most of the girls we are supporting in their final year. That’s form four. So, we have continued to collaborate with the families and to help them to realize that the girls need to prepare for their final examinations because they are actually losing time to learn and during this period, they have to be able to learn.

So, at this time, Fiona, I will stop here, and I know my colleague Sinikiwe will dig deeper into this, but this is the way we are, as CAMFED, how our work has been affected in the different strategies we’ve been employing to ensure that we respond to some of the needs which are emerging in the communities. Thank you.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Oh, thank you very much, Faith, for that overview. And thank you for all the work that you’re doing in partnership with government and communities to respond to the challenges that are facing the most marginalized in this time and ensuring that children also continue to learn.

I really liked how they outline around how CAMFED Association members are bridging the digital divide for marginalized children, ensuring that they continue to learn. Because I am aware that in their rural communities where they do not have access to online guidance as well, the TV’s, or perhaps even radios, these children are at risk of being left behind, while others are being helped with the online solutions or the remote learning solutions that are available.

So, it is really critical the work that you are doing together with CAMFED Association members to bridge this gap and also responding to issues of hunger in early marriage during this particular time. Thank you very much for that. Moving forward, we would like to invite Sinikiwe Makove, head of programs for Country to Zimbabwe, to share with us on the ground experiences through a specific example.

Sinikiwe, I know that in your role as head of programs, you connect with not only CAMFED staff members across the country, but you also have the privilege of working closely with the constituency of community champions, could be heads of schools, traditional leaders and young women of the CAMFED Association.

Would you like to please tell us what you have been learning and hearing from the ground about situations of children and their situations of the young people that we support or work with? What stories have really struck you during this time? I hand over to you, Sinikiwe.

 

Sinikiwe Makove, Head of Programs, CAMFED Zimbabwe Thank you, Fiona. Indeed. Amazing things have been happening on the ground. And I know that Faith touched on some of the things which are happening. But what is key, which we want to share on this platform, is that even when the schools have closed and teachers are not in school, we are still in touch with our clients and with the stakeholders who we work with on the ground and even with school children in general.

We actually know, Fiona, what is happening with them, what is affecting them, the kind of support which they require. And this is because of how our program is run, as an organization. Our program is run, and actually you can say it is run and owned by the grassroots stakeholders who we work with, and these include the CAMFED Association members who are the young women who have been supported through school by CAMFED.

And I want to say that these young women are really dedicated to reinvesting back into their communities, the benefits of their own education. And we say with confidence that they are experts. We have lived the challenges and survived, and they use the experience they have to support the vulnerable children in the communities, including the CAMFED clients.

We also work with the parents and in this case, we have got mothers who have come together to form groups to support children within their schools and communities. And these mothers are vigilant, and they provide much needed bottom-up communication channels. They actually inform not only CAMFED, but other stakeholders who traditionally do local leadership. And they come up with initiatives alongside the CAMFED Association members to support children, and we also work with the traditional leadership in these communities, the local leadership, we work with teachers.

And so, you see that this is the hope as to even during this period of the lockdown. Get information, work alongside those community members to support children, especially during this period where many challenges are rising because of the lockdown and of the school closure.

So, I want to say, Fiona, that the fact that these stakeholders within those communities where the children are, where the clients are, not only are they providing immediate support to the children, but you find that they are also making sure that as soon as they hear about the challenge or about a problem or about a client or a child who is in distress. they collaborate, they join hands, they work together, and they also send information even to CAMFED and different stakeholders for long term support.

Even if when they’ve given the short-term support, which they can, they make sure that they seek for further help in things for the clients. So, I can say that the client themselves, they know what to do and they know who to reach out to for any challenge they might have. And they have good trust actually in the support systems that are in place with the support within their communities in the districts. And they’re very much confident to reach out, to cry out and to seek for help and to speak to us for the support, which they can be able to get.

So, I’ll quickly rush to some examples which I can be able to share with you. The first example that I’ll give is coming from a district, Chikomba, where the CAMFED Association members, they approached the district administrator office. So, when I’m talking about the district administrator, this is a senior government official or an employee of government in the district whose department is actually responsible for food aid, especially during this period.

So, the CAMFED Association members went to request for support for 33 clients who had indicated that they had challenges with food. So, what they did is just because the administrator, the senior government official, he trusts the CAMFED alumni association members as they have been working with them in the in the districts and they know that they are young women of integrity and they have been supporting the communities.

So, when they went to the administrator for support, he was very much confident and very much supportive and he had to put the 33 clients on the list of those who are going to be supported, you know that the need is now great on the ground, so much so that the administrative offices overwhelmed by requests for support, cries for support from within their districts. And for him to put 33 of our clients on that list, was it great achievement for the CAMFED Association.

So those 33, they got support and what is very encouraging is that it is going to be continuous support because they were given support for this month, and they will continuously be given the same support until this period or this contagion is over. So that was a real achievement for the CAMFED Association members and one of the parents actually of the supported clients, she used to say with tears in the eyes that indeed the CAMFED Association members are big sisters who look out for the children whom they were under CAMFED support, and they work hard to ensure not only best effort in protection, but to continuously reach out to them, even during this school closure.

They continuously seek out for them a source for support for them, and she was very grateful that now, the food which was coming for the clients is going to support the whole family. And what actually touched us the most was that this parent, this mother, quickly say that next door neighbor, our next-door neighbor also has challenges of food, and we are going to be sharing the food we should put with them so that they too can survive.

And also, quickly see, I know the experience of Catherine, who is a form four client, in one of our districts in which is Bikita. So, this client, her parents separated when she was very young, and she is now living with her father and six siblings. So, she is in final year in secondary school. She’s in form four, and this is the time to be studying and reading to prepare for the examination. But you find that she had to stop that so that she could go and look for a job, some small jobs to do, so that she could help her father to support the family.

So, when the CAMFED Association together, the mothers in the community heard about this, they quickly went for the rescue and they put together food, they put together some hampers, some general needs, which the family needed. And they teamed up to really go and support this young lady and her family. But they knew that whatever the support that they put together was not going to be enough.

So, what they did is they also reached out to the social service department, which is another government ministry in the district, to try and source for long term support for that family so that this young girl stopped going to do some work in the community and expose yourself to the infection of COVID and all that, to support them. So, the social services department took over the family and they are now on constant support.

This young girl is now back to study. And what was key is what she said that we have really relieved me need of going to do these jobs. Now I can concentrate on my study, on my reading and I will be doing that during the day, where I was going to work, but now I am studying so that I can be able to prepare for my examinations and study during the day because at night we don’t have lights. So, this is one of the things which the CAMFED Association members are doing, and the stakeholders are doing on the ground, to make sure that they quickly respond to challenges which are coming out to support the children with everything that they can.

I would also talk maybe briefly about Nyasha. Nyasha is another CAMFED alumnae member supported through school by CAMFED, but she’s now a teacher, a trained teacher, but she has not been deployed or she’s not employed by the government. She’s waiting for employment. But she does not just sit and say, I’m going to wait till I get employed so that I can [inaudible]. She said I would keep my education and my training shelved somewhere.

But she went out feeding for the children who are not learning now because of the school closure. We cannot access the regulations she was talking about. So, she started study groups within the community. Now she is with 15 children who she is supporting with learning and she from this small process that she’s getting from a business which is not doing very well because of the lockdowns. She managed to buy exercise books, pens for the 15 students, and she’s teaching them only at one of the homes of one of the students. And she is asking for permission from the traditional leadership, from the parents of those children. And she’s doing this with joy and happiness that she is making a difference in these children’s lives.

And I want to quote what she said when we asked her what is motivating you to bridge this gap? She said that it’s because she has lived this. She has good experience of not having a teacher, not having study materials, not having access to education. Had CAMFED not supported her, she wouldn’t have achieved her own goals. So, she says she wants to make sure that she supports as many children as possible for them to also be able to achieve their goals and to fulfil their dreams.

So, this is what these young women are doing, what these community members are doing, these stakeholders we are working with. And this keeps us is an organization in touch with the challenges which the children are facing so that we can be able to also chip in and assist. But we can say the bulk of everything which is happening is being done by these grassroots stakeholders. So, Fiona, I thank you.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Wow. Thank you very much, Sinikiwe. I think those are just three examples out of the thousands of young women who are based across Zimbabwe, really changing the narrative, bringing in a new narrative in the marginalized communities because they are there, that is home for them. They are not field workers that pack their bags and leave. But they are saying that we are going to use our education to make a difference within our communities.

I’m sure if we had all the time in the world, you would have shared even much more, I know about a lot of work that the young women have really been instrumental, in terms of sharing even information about COVID-19, how communities can protect themselves during this time, to the extent of you’ve been making handwritten posters and now also leading their making of masks in the rural communities and sharing them with the vulnerable who cannot afford to buy themselves their own masks. So, all this work is something that is fantastic.

Thank you very much, Sinikiwe, for sharing those stories. I would now invite my colleague to just also give us a snapshot of from the camera members on the ground themselves, sharing on video what they have been doing in their own words.

 

Lynette, Tertiary Student, Zimbabwe It is our norm to give back to our community during our vacation [from uni], in our community we have a borehole (well) which caters for more than 50 households; therefore it needs our attention to keep people aware of coronavirus. Together with my fellow CAMFED Association members in my community, we have provided handwashing liquid at this borehole.

 

Judith, Entrepreneur, Zimbabwe We are helping children with correct information about the pandemic of COVID-19. We are providing them handouts from the Ministry of Health and clearing the myths and misconceptions which they have. We are also providing reading materials, encouraging them to read so that they won’t be left behind when schools reopen.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, colleague, for that snapshot hearing from the CAMA members about their experiences and the work that they’re doing on the ground. I would like to now take this opportunity to answer some questions. Thank you very much. Some of you have sent us questions ahead of this conversation and some of you have submitted questions to us now. I’ll be leading on those questions.

The first question that has come through is going to Faith. It reads, “What would you say has been the biggest challenge of the past months?” Faith, what would you say has been the biggest challenge of the past months?

 

Faith Nkala, National Director, CAMFED Zimbabwe Thank you, Fiona, for that question. I’m sure you remember when I was talking that in Zimbabwe as CAMFED we operate in 29 of the poorest rural districts. And I think what we have learned over these past two months is the reality of the digital divide that even as we are programing or even as the nation is programing for alternative learning strategies for these children.

The majority of them have gotten no access at all to that material. And for us, that has been the greatest challenge to ensure that that equity gap is not widened, we need to keep an eye on it and there’s been a huge threat to have it so much wider that those ones who can access will continue to learn and those ones who can’t will just to remain behind. So, our greatest challenge or the greatest challenge, I would say we have faced is to ensure that these learners in the rural communities, majority of women we support, should not remain behind.

So, it was a matter of how do we ensure that the learning material is in their hands, by whatever means. And that’s why Sinikiwe was talking about initiatives to download some of those materials, make them print materials, put together study packages, and get them to the leaners as much as possible to ensure that they access them. So, Fiona, I’d say the greatest challenge has been the access to this learning and the need to continue to support learning for the learners.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Faith. Challenging times, indeed. The next question is going to Sinikiwe. The question that we have for you, Sinikiwe, is what can CAMFED and CAMFED Association members do when a girl faces the risk of marriage?

 

Sinikiwe Makove, Head of Programs, CAMFED Zimbabwe Thank you very much, Fiona. What I can say is as CAMFED we’ve always believed that, yes, we are supporting these girls in their communities in school, but we believe that ownership of those children is within the communities. The communities own those children. And we believe that the solutions to challenges with children, these children face, which these girls face, is all should come from the same communities. So, what you always do is to make sure that we support the communities to take up their roles, to take up their duties. We support the duty bearers to ensure that they rush to the rescue of the girls when they face such risks of marriage.

So, I will quickly give an example, Fiona, of what happened in Gokwe South where there was an orphan girl, an orphan who had been given into marriage because she’s an orphan, both mother and father died and she’s being taken care of by the brother, the father’s brother. So, because of hunger and challenges, the brother to the father decided to give her hand in marriage, this young girl who was only doing form two.

So, when we got to know about that as an organization, it was a reported speech because you find that the capacity building which CAMFED has done to communities, which it has done to our stakeholders, is such that when this happened, they come together. If it’s from the community the CAMFED Association members, when they hear about this, they alert, we call it the referral system, which they know, they alert the government officials in this case, which is the Minister of Education, the committee that they have at district level, which is the police, which is the social service department and when they were told about this together, the CAMFED Association members, they had to go to the ground to visit the home of that girl.

The brother to the father was asked where is this young lady? And when he tried to hide because the police were there, they made sure that he talked about what had happened. So, of course, in the end, he told the truth, that he had sent this girl to be married so that they could get food, so that they could get support in everything. So, this committee, they then went back, they followed that girl to where she had been given into marriage and they brought her back to the home. And then this father was cautioned it was canceled.

And because of the challenges of food, the CAMFED Association together with the district officials, the government officials, they made sure that the family was put on social services support for them to get continuous food, because that was the challenge which had made them to send this girl to be married.

So, I can say, that the CAMFED Association members on the ground, they look out for those issues and they respond, they rally behind, they come together with the local leadership, traditional leadership to rescue those children, and they bring them back to school. If they see risk of that girl being sent back again, in that abusive environment or situation, the social services, the government, they take over and they remove the girl from that abusive environment and they take them to safe homes so that they can continue to go to school, and CAMFED will continue to pay for their school fees and everything else.

So, this is what I can say, Fiona, is collaboration, is ensuring that the communities, the capacities, the stakeholders have capacity to respond to the challenges, because we believe that it is their role. And what we do as CAMFED is to support.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association I love that. Working collaboratively with the duty bearers in their communities to ensure that we keep our children safe. We keep them in education until they complete, and they grow to turn the tide of poverty in their communities. Thank you very much, Sinikiwe.

Unfortunately, because of our time we will respond to all the additional questions that we have by email. We are fortunate to have in our midst Emily Zemke, who is Director for Development at CAMFED International. I will now hand over to Emily to conclude our conversation. Thank you very much.

 

Emily Zemke, Director of Development, CAMFED International Thanks, Fiona. And I’ll just be brief to say that two things strike me listening to you speak today. The first, Faith and Sinikiwe, is the ways you are responding to the girls we serve with such agility as their needs emerge and change. And you don’t rely on airplanes and designated spaces or instructions from a headquarters in a different country to be able to do this, you are making evidence-based solutions and decisions that respond in a creative and caring way, and it is inspiring to hear your thoughts and stories.

And the other thing that strikes me is the way that we’re not just talking about short term relief efforts here. These are all-important long-term strategies for building resilience in the poorest rural communities, such as enhanced digital capacity for remote learning and ways of disseminating information in local languages, ways to fortifying young women’s livelihoods, pivoting businesses, and mitigating against climate crises. And it’s this ability of CAMFED to counter the long-term shocks of the coronavirus pandemic, which was recognized in Forbes last month and which comes through so clearly in everything you’re saying.

Fiona mentioned thousands of women bringing in a new narrative in marginalized communities, together with colleagues like those you’ve heard from today across Africa and our global community of supporters, we are determined to maintain the momentum of this narrative and the progress that has been made over the last 26 years in building a more equitable society through CAMFED.

Thanks enormously to all my colleagues on the call for making this happen and to all of you who’ve joined us for your engagement, your support. Please get in touch if you have other questions by email, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Wishing you all good health. Stay safe and well. And we hope to see you soon. Thank you.

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Wendy Griffiths £15

Geraldine Bess-Solomon $20

Negar Yahaghi €8

Enrique Loy $101

Sanam Shah £222

Lynn Lederer $25

David Rothenberg $25

Rachel Maunder $50

Taylor Campbell $150

Bruce Krinsky $150

Kim Alonzo $40

Pierce Gendron $30