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Every year, The Audacious Project – which is housed at TED – selects and nurtures a group of timely solutions and brings together an inspiring group of supporters to help launch them. This year, CAMFED has been selected by The Audacious Project as one of the biggest, boldest solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges. Our unique model sees young women once excluded from education step up as ‘big sisters’ for the most vulnerable girls, enabling them to enroll and thrive in secondary school, and graduate into secure livelihoods and positions of leadership.

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Meet the 2023 Audacious Cohort

Watch this exciting announcement video and discover more about CAMFED’s Audacious plan to transform the lives of millions of girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

First announced on April 17, 2023 at TED2023 in Vancouver, Canada, we’re proud to be part of this group of Audacious changemakers bringing bold solutions to the world. 

Learn about CAMFED and The Audacious Project

Watch the Audacious trailer video
We're thrilled to bring a spotlight to CAMFED’s model, which shows the extraordinary potential that is unlocked when girls secure their right to education as the key to a brighter future.
Anna Verghese, Executive Director, The Audacious Project

What’s Audacious?

The Audacious Project, housed at TED, is a collaborative funding initiative catalyzing social impact on a grand scale. Every year it selects and nurtures a group of big, bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges, and brings together an inspiring group of donors and supporters to get them launched.

What’s CAMFED’s Audacious plan?

CAMFED’s Audacious plan, aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is to provide five million marginalized girls with the financial and social support they need to succeed in secondary school, enable their transition to work and leadership, and partner with governments to change the systems that hold girls back, reaching millions more.

Key to the success of the plan is the unique network of women leaders educated with CAMFED support, the CAMFED Association, which already numbers more than 254,000 members across the continent of Africa. As ‘big sisters’ and mentors to vulnerable girls, these proximate leaders mobilize their communities in support of girls’ education, and together dismantle the multiple barriers that hold girls back.

Also known as the “CAMFED Sisterhood,” these leaders have inspired supporters across the globe, including former First Lady Michelle Obama; the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle; feminist icon Gloria Steinem; and the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, to name just a few.

What’s different about CAMFED?

The CAMFED Association was co-founded by Angeline Murimirwa, one of the first to graduate with CAMFED support in Zimbabwe. This year, as CAMFED celebrates and accelerates three decades of impact for girls, Angeline has stepped into the role of CEO. Across the organization, CAMFED’s model elevates the deep expertise of those who have experienced first-hand some of our world’s most pressing problems. Angeline is joining the 2023 Audacious cohort at TED2023 in Vancouver, where each of the ten selected projects will be spotlighted.

We are thrilled to work with the TED Audacious community to change the status quo, and make the world a more equitable place for everyone. Audacious’ investment provides us with a unique opportunity to transform the futures of millions of girls. As we scale our model and more of our graduates progress into leadership positions at all levels of the education system — and in other critical policy areas — we can reshape systems to better serve those at the margins. Research has shown that that benefits the health and wealth of whole societies, and of our planet as a whole.
Angeline Murimirwa and Lucy Lake, CAMFED Co-Executives

What’s at stake?

The chance of a girl from a poor, rural background completing secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa is vanishingly small — even before the pandemic, 95% never made it that far.(1)

Many financial, environmental and social barriers get in the way of girls learning and staying in school, especially as they reach adolescence. Poverty and patriarchy perpetuate child marriage, further stacking the odds against girls.

The 5% of young women who complete school face an abyss, with few opportunities to find jobs, build independent livelihoods, or participate in decision-making. In a decade that has seen the gains recently made for women and girls rolled back globally, this leads to chronic underrepresentation of women in education roles and other leadership positions.

How will CAMFED change these realities?

CAMFED’s three-level model cuts through the complex factors that undermine girls’ education to improve outcomes for millions of girls. 

First, CAMFED engages with schools and communities to implement a comprehensive support system targeted at the most marginalized girls, tackling impediments to their attendance and success in secondary school. Role models in the Sisterhood provide girls with mentorship and skills support in the classroom, while convening families and authorities to tackle harmful gender norms beyond the school gates. 

Second, as young women graduate, CAMFED enables their transition to work and invites them into the Sisterhood of leaders, united by a commitment to support younger generations of girls. 

Third, CAMFED partners with governments to embed what works in national school systems, to ensure they better serve the needs of girls.

The result will be game changing, as CAMFED unlocks the power of Sisterhood to transform communities, entire countries, and our world. 


(1) The Learning Generation, Investing in education for a changing world.

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