How can education make the world more equitable?

Join us (virtually) on October 7th to find out! Together with the Yidan Prize Foundation and the University of Cambridge, we’re hosting a conference at Jesus College. Register now – it’s free. Register now
Donate

We get girls into school, help them to learn, support them to succeed, and unlock their power to lead.

CAMFED serves girls and young women in impoverished districts in rural sub-Saharan Africa, tackling the pressing and interlinked challenges of poverty and gender that limit their education and opportunity.

We see girls’ education as the foundation for social justice, women’s leadership, economic development, and climate action.

The international non-governmental organization CAMFED has contributed for more than two decades to social transformation aimed at remedying the exclusion and facilitating the access of millions of girls to education, as well as the empowerment of young women in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on a model of continuous support from childhood through to adulthood and on a network of solidarity and intergenerational help, its work has promoted a systemic change built on the pillars of equity and social justice which is committed to the leadership of the women.

MINUTES OF THE JURY, Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation (2021)

Poverty is the greatest barrier to education that girls face.

With many households surviving on less than $1.25 per day, a lack of funds for both direct and indirect school-going costs creates the constant threat of girls’ expulsion, or prevents their access entirely. Other poverty-related issues — such as hunger, lack of resources to buy sanitary wear, school uniforms and school supplies — can also make it difficult for girls to attend school regularly, learn while they are there, and study effectively at home. Poverty is also a key driver of practices like early marriage – both a cause and effect of girls’ exclusion from school – with girls facing pressure to get married to bring in more resources to their families, either through the ‘bride price’ or through simply reducing the number of mouths to feed. 

We partner with schools and communities to tackle girls’ exclusion.

CAMFED partners with thousands of schools, communities and education authorities across rural (and some peri-urban) districts in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania,  Zambia and Zimbabwe to tackle the multiple barriers to marginalized girls’ school access, retention, progression, completion, and transition.

Our impact increases exponentially through the Association of young women leaders educated with CAMFED support.

Together, we multiply the number of girls in school, and accelerate their transition to livelihoods and leadership. 

Play videoImage

CAMFED - An Introduction

CAMFED supports some of the most excluded girls in sub-Saharan Africa to go to school, learn, thrive and lead change for their families and communities. Our programs are spearheaded by the young women leaders in the CAMFED Association, who partner with their communities to secure every child’s right to quality education.

Together with our partners we have set ourselves the goal of supporting 5 million more girls to go to school within 5 years, and with your help, we can get there. Join us!

All our programs are led by local communities

Our grassroots-led approach sees communities take responsibility for the welfare and success of their most vulnerable girls, matching international donor contributions with resources generated locally, ensuring that girls have the necessary wraparound support to attend and thrive in school. This approach is proving vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, as trusted CAMFED Association members and CAMFED community champions have pivoted their focus to ensure that clients and their families are connected to services, and have the additional support required to keep girls safe and learning.

 

Our core focus: Support for adolescent girls at secondary school

In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than one in 20 girls from poor rural families are on track to complete secondary school.*  CAMFED supports girls’ material, financial, and social needs in order to overcome the poverty-related barriers to education. At secondary level this includes payment of school going costs, provision of uniforms, shoes, stationery and sanitary wear, and could mean the provision of a bicycle or safe boarding accommodation to reduce the distance between home and school. It includes guidance and counselling support in every partner school by trained Teacher Mentors and CAMFED Association members, in order to address the many psychosocial challenges that frequently lead to school drop-out. These include chronic hunger, the death and illness of close family members, and the pressure to seek perceived financial security through early marriage or exploitative work.

A student who receives secondary school support from CAMFED is chosen directly by committees made up of community members, partner school and education authorities, who conduct home visits and speak to her parents or guardians so the appropriate support can be coordinated. 

*International Commission on Financing Global Education/REAL Centre Cambridge (2016). The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World. p.87

A student's support network

Website_story_-_landscape_LUCIA

StoryZimbabwe

Lucia Punungwe

Lucia is one of our Teacher Mentors – government teachers who receive specialized training in our programs and safeguarding. As one of the first girls supported to go to school by CAMFED, Lucia understands the barriers that vulnerable children face and is determined to create a safe and equitable learning environment for them.

Website_story_-_landscape_AGATHA

StoryMalawi

Agatha

Agatha is one of our Learner Guides – mentors and role models who return to their former schools to inspire students’ personal and academic growth. Agatha enjoys working with the school’s Teacher Mentor and with her CAMFED Association sisters, using their positive examples to keep girls motivated to remain in education.

Website_story_-_landscape_SALAMATU

StoryGhana

Salamatu

Salamatu chairs one of our Mother Support Groups – made up of local parents who come together to provide school meals, improve facilities and much more. Having faced many barriers to her own education, Salamatu is determined to dismantle them for other girls, knowing they too will pay the benefits forward.

No girl is supported in isolation

  • 8

    is the minimum number of girls CAMFED supports in each partner school. This critical mass means students can support one another and form friendships.

  • 2

    Learner Guides work together in many of our partner schools to mentor students vulnerable to drop out, and deliver life skills and wellbeing sessions.

  • 1

    Teacher Mentor is active in each of CAMFED’s partner schools to advocate on behalf of our clients, especially when they are orphaned or facing other poverty-related challenges at home.

 

CAMFED Association members and Learner Guides Subira, Stumai, and Hilda check through By Better World exercise books

A powerful force for change: Women leading after graduation

After graduating secondary school, a young woman can join the CAMFED Association of women leaders. This enables her to navigate a period of vulnerability as she waits for exam results, or perhaps feels pressure to move to town to find work or to marry early in order to make ends meet — putting her at risk of exploitation and illness.

As a movement, we support her to find pathways through skills-training, further education, youth enterprise or employment, on the way to becoming independent and influential. CAMFED Association members trained as Transition Guides (peer educators) pass on information on sexual and reproductive health and more, as well as providing guidance about secure livelihoods, including in climate-smart agriculture.

A young woman in our pan-African peer support and leadership network commits to mentoring and supporting her sisters as well as future generations. She grows into a respected role model in her community, working with others to secure every child’s right to go to school, and change the status quo for girls for good.

 

Mwanaidi serves uji to primary students

Laying the foundation: Primary school funding

We also partner with primary schools to provide targeted support to vulnerable children. Many are orphans cared for by grandmothers or other relatives who have many more children to look after. In these circumstances, items like stationery, school clothing, and shoes are often out of reach — the provision of them encourages learning and boosts morale.

We work with primary schools to improve learning environments, and we provide training and startup grants for Parent Support Groups, for example, who prepare school meals, rally more resources for students, and work to improve school facilities.

Increasingly, Learner Guides are present at primary level to help support successful transitions to secondary school.

Image

Child protection

Child protection and safeguarding are central to CAMFED’s work. We are receiving growing recognition as a leader in policy on child protection and the protection of girls. In Zambia for example, the Ministry of Education adopted national guidelines that were developed by CAMFED on preventing and stopping child abuse in schools. CAMFED provides child protection training to school and community networks, helping them to raise standards for safeguarding the rights and welfare of children. With training and support from CAMFED, partner schools can put child protection policies in place.

Child Protection and Safeguarding

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty

Donate today

Sylvia Cohen $18

Kenneth Laing £50

VISHAL KUMAR $100

Liam Grant £10

Andrew Shields £100

Rika Coppens €1000

Lara Kenny £5

Lara Kenny £5

Joanna Cregan $100

Lara Kenny £5

Lara Kenny £5

Lara A Kenny £5

Lucianna Whittle £40

Lydia Osgood $150

BC McLean £30