Making transformative impact

CAMFED supports girls in government primary and secondary schools across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi to access school, succeed, and become leaders of change in their communities.

Our impact increases exponentially through the Association of young women educated with CAMFED’s support. Together, we multiply the number of girls in school, and accelerate their transition to livelihoods and leadership, including by taking climate action. And we bring the lived experience of the young people we serve to the policy table, partnering with researchers and governments to ensure the system works for the most disadvantaged.

Likwenu, a school girl in uniform, walks along a path with mountains in the background of the image

Our partner communities are among the most deprived in the region – far removed from hospitals, lacking public infrastructure, and often situated on the poorest land. They have the greatest levels of poverty within their countries, and suffer some of the highest rates of illness, including HIV/AIDS. They have extremely low literacy rates. Most people live a hand to mouth existence.

Schools in these communities are fewer in number, meaning children often have to walk very long distances to get to school, and have fewer teachers and less equipment.

Girls are particularly vulnerable in these circumstances, and their education has the most transformative impact

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Poverty is the greatest barrier to accessing an education in the communities where we work.

Families want the best for their children, but lack the financial means to support their education. We know that communities understand their issues, and that they have the solutions to those issues. Our role is to catalyze their activism, and listen to the girls, their families, their teachers and traditional leaders.

The children we support are selected by the community as being the most in need. We don’t just provide them with books or school fees, we help them throughout their development. Our package – which includes mentoring and social support from young women who were themselves once excluded from education – enables a girl to get into school, do well academically, and maximize the value of her education after graduation.

In this video, Fanny from Malawi speaks for millions of girls from underserved communities, ready to shake up the world, if only they get the chance to go to school.

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Our impact in numbers - students supported through DONOR FUNDS

CAMFED's work ignites a virtuous cycle, whereby young women supported through school by donor funds go on to support many more children in education. So keep scrolling down to see how the investment by donors is multiplied.

  • 9,150

    9,150 partner primary and secondary schools across 166 districts. CAMFED works in genuine partnership with government schools to help improve the learning environment for all students. Sharing information on school performance and working with the community to implement change is crucial to success.

  • 551K

    550,828 students supported with secondary scholarships - CAMFED provides holistic and targeted support for girls to go to secondary school, covering needs that might include school or exam fees, uniforms, menstrual products, books, pens, bikes, boarding fees or disability aids.

  • 1.1M

    1,129,389 students supported to go to primary school - CAMFED's Safety Net Fund for partner primary schools provides essential items for children at primary school to prevent them from dropping out of school.

CAMFED provides girls with long-term support

Successfully supporting an individual means investing in the structures that support her, enabling her to learn, thrive and lead change.

  • Education

    We provide tailored packages of support including school and exam fees, school supplies, menstrual supplies, and school uniforms (to name but a few), as well as peer mentoring to support girls from primary school through secondary school, college and beyond.

  • Training

    We help women learn how to manage money and launch businesses. We train them as Learner Guides and Transition Guides, who support peers to transition to secure livelihoods.

  • Leadership

    Our leaders in the CAMFED Association of young women educated with CAMFED support pay it forward by supporting even more children through school.

Learn how we’re different

Our Multiplier Effect in numbers - Students supported by graduates in the CAMFED Association

Each CAMFED Association member, on average, supports another three girls to go to school with her own resources, as well as mentoring and encouraging many more.

  • 3.7M

    3,690,718 students have been supported to attend school or further education directly by CAMFED Association members. Often using profits from their businesses, CAMFED Association members support on average 3 more children to go to school - multiplying the impact of their education.

  • 1.9M

    1,934,525 students have been supported to go to primary school directly by CAMFED Association members.

  • 1.6M

    1,579,854 students have been supported to go to secondary school directly by CAMFED Association members.

  • 176K

    176,339 students have been supported into post-school pathways - such as technical and vocational training and further education - directly by CAMFED Association members.

Our Multiplier Effect in numbers - Students supported by CAMFED Community Champions

  • 121K

    121,266 Community Champions - CAMFED's program works because of the commitment of local community champions and activists. These volunteers include everyone from traditional leaders to government education officials, teachers, parents, and former students.

  • 2M

    1,992,325 students supported to go to school by community initiatives CAMFED Community Champions across Africa support more vulnerable children to go to primary and secondary school by providing fees and other essentials.

  • 60K

    59,610 Parent Support Group members rally support for vulnerable students so they can thrive in the classroom.

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Scaling our impact: The Learner Guide Program

CAMFED’s Learner Guide program is our flagship program, central to scaling our impact across Africa. It sees young women who have experienced first-hand the barriers to education for girls in underserved communities – and in most cases have received support from CAMFED to overcome them – return to their local schools as mentors and role models. Through the program, Learner Guides themselves develop confidence, skills, and access to business training and loans in return for their commitment. As trusted mentors to the children they support, Learner Guides are working to change the status quo for women and girls for good.

Watch Diris Martin a Core Trainer of Learner Guides, introduce the program.

Read video transcript

Read how we're working with researchers & governments to scale our mentorship model

The Learner Guide Program in numbers

  • 2.8M

    Since the inception of the program, 2,759,879 children have been supported by CAMFED Learner Guide activities or initiatives. This includes students reached with life skills and sexual and reproductive health sessions, as well as targeted social support like mentoring and counselling.

  • 29K

    Since the start of the program, 28,564 young women have trained as CAMFED Learner Guides.

  • 6.6K

    By the end of 2023, 6,576 schools were implementing the Learner Guide program.

Impact through climate-smart agriculture

We are rapidly scaling up our climate-smart agriculture training for young women, who in turn are cascading their knowledge and skills to thousands of community members. These communities are then equipped with the skills to build resilience, produce food and create livelihoods in the face of climate change.

  • 1.2K

    By the end of 2023, 1,191 CAMFED Association members had trained as climate-smart Agriculture Guides.

  • x10

    Each trained Agriculture Guide reaches at least 10 young women in her local district with training in climate-smart agriculture. Together they reach hundreds more community members and farmers, helping build climate resilience in their communities

  • >100K

    By the end of 2022, Agriculture Guides and CAMFED Association Community Trainers had reached more than 100,000 people with vital information on climate-smart farming techniques.

Impact through enterprise

CAMFED is dedicated to improving the futures of young women beyond the classroom through enterprise. CAMFED Transition, Business, and Agriculture Guides are reaching school leavers with financial training and business support to help them transition into secure, fulfilling livelihoods.

  • 303K

    By the end of 2023, Transition Guides had already supported 303,115 young women school graduates to start businesses, seek employment, and access further education.

  • 112K

    By the end of 2023, 112,246 CAMFED Association entrepreneurs had started a business, bringing quality food, products, services and jobs to rural communities, and using profits to send more children to school.

  • 88K

    By the end of 2023, 88,080 women-led businesses had been reached with training, financial skills and resources by Business and Agriculture Guides.

  • 7.1K

    By the end of 2023, 7,099 CAMFED Business, Transition, and Agriculture Guides were actively supporting young women’s growing businesses.

We track and measure the impact of our work...

...through rigorous monitoring and evaluation, longitudinal surveys, and in-depth research. Because of our long-term support for girls through school and into independent adulthood, CAMFED has a unique opportunity to track the economic and social impact of investing in girls’ education and young women’s leadership – on individuals, as well as on communities, and beyond.



New research reveals the impact of young women climate leaders in Africa

1,078 CAMFED Agriculture Guides and the 9,262 agripreneurs they trained and supported across three countries, have reached more than 100,000 community members with climate-smart techniques.


Scaling up an education initiative that supports marginalised girls (2023)

A blog by researchers at the University of Dar es Salaam, the University of Cambridge and Altamont Group describes our joint project to understand if and how our Learner Guide Program can be scaled up in Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The blog provides some key findings and links to country-level briefs as well as a regional overview.


Social Return on Investment Research (2023)

In 2023, we began work with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to build a metric through which we can precisely calculate the Social Return on Investment of our enterprise development programs. Stories like that of shea entrepreneur Ayisha show the transformative impact at community-level of the programs we are seeking to quantify.



CAMFED Annual Review 2023

Read CAMFED’s 2023 Annual Review to find out how together we are transforming the lives of millions of young people in Africa through education and women's leadership.



Stepping up to the Girls’ Education Challenge

A final reflections piece, developed in partnership with the FCDO’s Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) team, gives an overview of two projects that made a difference to more than 277,000 girls and young women in Tanzania,  Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Climate Education Needs Assessment Briefing Note (2022)

Released in June 2022, this briefing note on CAMFED’s Climate Education Needs Assessment in Zambia and Zimbabwe looks at how we co-create a program with young people in rural communities that meets their needs to learn about climate change, keep themselves safer, build resilience and step-up as climate leaders.


GEC-Transition Endline Evaluations

These new reports detail findings from two CAMFED projects supported by UK Aid Girls’ Education Challenge – Transition (GEC-T) grant which concluded in December 2021. Both projects recorded positive results with improvements in girls’ enrolment, retention and progression.

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A ‘revolution in data’ is needed to create an equitable future through education

A blog written by Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge, which just announced a new partnership with CAMFED to examine how community-led interventions that target the needs of the most disadvantaged children can be scaled through education systems in Tanzania and in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.


REAL Centre: Assessing cost-effectiveness with equity of a programme targeting marginalised girls in secondary schools in Tanzania

November 2020 marked the 5th birthday of the Research for Equitable Access to Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge partnership with CAMFED. This paper into effective education interventions is an in-depth cost-effectiveness analysis of CAMFED’s program in Tanzania.


REAL Centre: 12 Years of Quality Education for All Girls

A study, released by the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge, drawing on CAMFED data, outlines what works in disadvantaged girls’ education and the priorities for further action towards reducing inequalities. It was commissioned by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to inform discussions at the 2019 Education World Forum.

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Education Commission: Teamwork is crucial to achieving SDG4 - Quality Education

This report by the Education Commission –Transforming the Education Workforce: Learning Teams for a Learning Generation –  underlines the importance of strengthening, diversifying, and reimagining an education workforce in order to deliver inclusive, quality education for all.


Sustainable business opportunities for women in northern Ghana

Through an exciting research collaboration, CAMFED, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Mastercard Foundation, explored the agricultural value chains in northern Ghana that offer the greatest potential for female entrepreneurs to create good jobs for themselves and others.


Emerging Outcomes of the Scholars Entrepreneurship Fund Program Survey Report

CAMFED Ghana published findings from a survey of 46 young women awarded funding through the Scholars Entrepreneurship Fund, established with the support of the Mastercard Foundation. The fund was set up in response to Scholars highlighting that they had or wanted to start viable businesses to benefit communities, but were unable to access the required finance to scale and sustain them.

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty


Kelsy Hoerauf $25

Cynthia Brahaney $31.9

Cynthia Marcy $13

Jaya Mangra $16.1

Sophie Underwood $79.2

Julie Grau $13

Brenda Wilton $13

Robert Genovese $63.4

Sharon Arrindell $5.6

Sue Durham £52.2

Jim Ahern £12.7

Jessica Atkins $26.6

Patricia A Alshabazz $5

Andrew Thomas $20