A Powerful Network of Educated Young African Women Steps Up on International Human Rights Day

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CAMA leaders Phydes Samazaka and Penelope Machipi share their stories of community leadership and activism on International Human Rights Day in London

As Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for their unswerving advocacy of children’s rights, the world is meeting a new generation of young leaders who are driving change, and who will not be silenced.

Three of the activists who will also inspire the world this week are young women from sub-Saharan Africa, whose education and leadership is transforming communities and nations.

A Powerful Network of Educated African Women Leading Change
Meet CAMA, the powerful network of over 24,000 young women alumnae of CAMFED’s programs, founded by the first groups of girls to graduate from secondary school with CAMFED’s support. Camfed ignites community-led activism and supports the most marginalized girls in rural Africa to go to school and succeed, stepping up as leaders of change. “CAMA members use their experience of rural poverty and exclusion to deepen understanding of the obstacles that girls face in securing their right to an education,” explains CAMFED CEO Lucy Lake. “As a new generation of leaders they are informing policy and programs to tackle these problems and unlock the extraordinary potential that results from investing in girls’ education.“

Life Changing Stories with a Multiplication Effect
As Malala steps up in Oslo, CAMA members are taking to platforms in London and Washington, D.C.

Phydes Samazaka and Penelope Machipi in London
Today in London, Phydes Samazaka and Penelope Machipi, CAMA leaders from Zambia, are joining CAMFED president Ann Cotton to celebrate International Human Rights Day, sharing their stories of leadership and activism at the Commonwealth Secretariat. Both women were supported in their education by CAMFED, and received leadership and enterprise training. Phydes, a university graduate, is a certified teacher and mentor within the CAMA network, helping to build the confidence and expand the life choices of hundreds of girls every year. Penelope, recipient of the Goldman Sachs-Fortune Global Women Leaders Award and director of the award-wining film ‘Hidden Truth’ (created by a women’s filmmaking collective) also managed a new computer resource center in rural Zambia, where she introduced hundreds of girls and women to technology every year. She is now in her final year of teacher training college.

Read Penelope’s International Human Rights Day speech

Read Phydes’ International Human Rights Day speech

Angeline Murimirwa in Washington, D.C.
One of CAMFED’s first graduates – and a key founding member of CAMA – is today arriving in Washington, D.C., joining First Lady Michelle Obama and Julia Gillard at the Brookings Center for Universal Education. Angeline Murimirwa will be getting ready to speak on a panel on how local leadership and community-based solutions can help advance girls’ education across the world, which will be webcast on December 12th. As the Regional Director of CAMFED, Angeline is now leading programs to unlock the potential of hundreds of thousands more girls across sub-Saharan Africa.

“These are just three of thousands of CAMA leaders using their education and experience of marginalization to change their communities, their nations, and the world,” Lucy Lake concludes. “Today they remind us to listen and learn from young women and their communities in order to advance girls’ education and women’s empowerment globally.”

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