In these unprecedented times, with travel, events and business-as-usual suspended, organizations are finding innovative ways to come together.

This was achieved on a global level at this week’s Skoll World Forum, the annual platform for influential social entrepreneurs and thought leaders, usually held in Oxford, UK. CAMFED Executive Advisor Barbara Chilangwa joined the very first virtual panel session, entitled ‘Partnering through political transition’, from her home in Zambia — bringing to the conversation her wealth of experience as a former teacher and Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education.

Our approach is a bottom-up approach, where we focus our structures at community level, at district level, and ensure that we bring together the teams from government ministries.

Barbara Chilangwa, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Zambia

More than 100 participants from around the globe joined the session, which featured other speakers, Sudip Pokhrel of Medic Mobile and Mallika Raghavan of Last Mile Health.

Barbara spoke about CAMFED’s decentralized structures, operating at community and at district level, where political leadership changes less frequently, enabling the smooth continuation of programs even when the government changes.

Our programs are spearheaded by CAMFED Association members — women leaders educated with CAMFED support — and community Champions, including local officials, teachers and parents, without reliance on external volunteers. Their experience and expertise in supporting the most marginalized filters into national policy and informs best practice — a sustainable pathway to scale and ultimately systemic change.

Barbara Chilangwa, CAMFED’s Executive Adviser

Barbara Chilangwa, CAMFED’s Executive Advisor comments: “We are not there to gain any political mileage, we are there to support the work in communities.” (Photo: CAMFED)

The strength of CAMFED is this movement of young women who are role models in their communities, who are now sharing their experiences at district level, and also helping feed into policy statements that are being made by governments.

Barbara Chilangwa, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Zambia

With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening vulnerable communities across Africa, these local structures have never been more important in providing a rapid, fact-based response, and investment where it is needed most.

Watch the full session ‘Partnering through political transition’

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