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Girls excluded from education become women excluded from decision-making in every other sphere of life.

CAMFED’s programs tackle poverty and inequality by providing the financial and social support girls need to learn, thrive and lead. We see girls’ education as the route to systems change, not to mitigation of systems that keep failing the most marginalized. 

We begin with an individual girl in rural Africa.

We’re answerable first and foremost to her. By looking at the world from her perspective, we work to dismantle the financial, structural and systemic barriers to her education and to living a healthy and fulfilling adult life as an independent, influential woman. 

Our programs are designed, developed and refined with the young people we serve.

They are owned by our partner communities, and spearheaded by members of the CAMFED Association of women leaders educated with CAMFED support.

Deeply invested in the success of every girl in their communities, our women leaders and community champions use their own resources to reach out to many more girls, identifying those who are ‘invisible’ to local authorities.

Melody stands with her community and stakeholders in her education

Supporting girls through school and into adulthood

CAMFED builds a network of support around each girl, providing her with tailored support during school, beyond school, and into her future:

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Financial support for girls to attend school

We work in a context where families struggling to provide regular meals simply can’t afford to send their girls to school, so CAMFED provides targeted financial support to cover a wide range of school-going costs.

These include the required school uniform and shoes, fees, books, and school supplies, as well as items that address the additional hurdles girls face, including menstrual products and bicycles or boarding fees, ensuring that girls can travel long distances more safely, or board directly at schools far away from their villages. 

We also support schools with grants for infrastructure, and community groups with grants to establish local enterprises, whose profits in turn fund the education of more children in their communities.

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Teacher Mentors

Across our countries of operation there is a lack of highly qualified (especially female) teachers, and of learning materials.

Teaching is often in English, not in students’ home languages, and without access to resources and support, children find it very hard to acquire the literacy and language skills required to learn and pass their exams. We started addressing these issues through trained Teacher Mentors, who work across government partner schools, identifying new ways of helping girls to pass their exams in a context where 50% of students fail.

For many children, particularly those who have lost their parents, school is the only place where they can get adult guidance and psycho-social support. Trained Teacher Mentors, working throughout CAMFED’s partner schools, help to address the problems that children encounter at school or at home. Increasingly these teachers, like Penelope pictured here, were once themselves supported through school by CAMFED, and bring their lived experience and empathy to the classroom.

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Learner Guides

In schools, Teacher Mentors work alongside Learner Guides – young women in the CAMFED Association – who return to their local schools to support vulnerable children in their studies and deliver a uniquely tailored life skills and well-being program called My Better World. Learner Guides understand the barriers imposed by poverty, having lived them. Working with teachers, parents, schools, and local officials to keep children in school and push up learning outcomes, Learner Guides represent a formidable new force in strengthening the ties between schools and homes. As peer mentors and role models, Learner Guides are transforming prospects for young people in their communities and beyond.

Explore our Learner Guide Program
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Parent Support Groups

CAMFED also partners with parents, who volunteer their time and resources in Parent Support Groups. These groups offer love, support, and vital services to vulnerable girls and boys, such as school meal programs and supervision at school hostels.

With training and small grants, Parent Support Groups are also starting profit-making enterprises in order to help more children in their communities to cover their material needs, including shoes, books and uniforms.

Beyond school

Our programs provide continued support after girls graduate and join the CAMFED Association, our unique peer support and leadership network. Through the network, young women gain access to pastoral support and practical training in life, financial, business and leadership skills, health and well-being, and can access employment and further education opportunities. The network allows young women to connect across industries and employment sectors.

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Enterprise Development

Our enterprise programs support young women to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, contributing to jobs and prosperity in their communities, and enabling them to
support their own, as well as other children, to go to school.

 

Learn about our investment in Enterprise Development

Guide Programs as part of Enterprise Development

CAMFED trains graduates in our CAMFED Association as specialist Guides. These young women then share their expertise in areas like life skills, finance, business and climate-smart agriculture with their peers. Our Guides combine subject expertise with a deep understanding of the pressures recent school graduates in disadvantaged rural communities face. They provide relevant and timely skills and advice to help more young women into financial independence.

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Transition Guides

Our Transition Guides support students who are about to graduate to make a safe transition from school to higher education, work or self-employment.

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Business Guides

Our Business Guides – young women in our graduate network with solid business experience – help their peers to start and grow enterprises, creating sustainable jobs and supporting more children through school. 

Beauty holds some of her produce from her garden in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Guides

Our Agriculture Guides are graduates with deep expertise in sustainable agricultural techniques, building food security and climate resilience. They bringing their knowledge to disadvantaged farmers in their communities, and working with Learner Guides to bring climate education into the classroom. 

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty

Donate

Barbara Smith $31.9

Laura Adamski $10.9

Dale Feindt $10.9

Belinda Donald $31.6

CHRIS CONSTANTINE $10

Mary Prada Vaiani $5.6

Rosario Fernandes $21.5

Pamela Gaither $21.4

Rachael Harris £10.7

Alejandra Valdes-Uribe €26.6

Alexis Haftvani £26.2

Diana Harrington $10.9

Kathleen Ferruggia $3

John Lease $120

Alexis Carroll $26.6