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Women in sub-Saharan Africa are on the front line of climate change.

Despite contributing negligibly to greenhouse emissions, they are the first to feel the impact of climate change as they struggle to feed their families. Increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, is already threatening the livelihoods of farming communities. It particularly affects women who grow much of the continent’s food and compounds the “resource gap” they face compared to male farmers in terms of access to land, training, advisory services and finance.

Climate disasters and drops in agricultural production linked to climate change make women and girls particularly vulnerable to early marriage and hunger.

Investing in female farmers and policy leaders is vital in tackling climate change.

Investing in female farmers increases resilience to climate shocks, nourishing school communities, protecting food supplies, and lowering carbon emissions.

Educated women can help their communities to cope with the effects of climate change, and lead on climate-smart agriculture, tackling hunger while protecting our planet, and keeping children in school.

They can launch sustainable food businesses, become role models for change, and – as local, national and global activists and policymakers – make the world a better place for everyone.

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CAMFED's award-winning Agriculture Guide program multiplies this investment.

CAMFED’s Agriculture Guide program was recognized with the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award.  It highlights the leadership of members of our CAMFED Association, our powerful peer support network of young women who are spearheading action on climate change in Africa.

Using a cascade model, these young women are reaching thousands of people in rural Africa with techniques, information and affordable technologies for climate-smart agriculture, combining Indigenous methods with innovation. They focus on the ‘forgotten farmers’ among them – smallholders without access to adequate knowledge or finance to increase the productivity of their land or look after natural resources. These include Parent Support Groups, formed to keep vulnerable children in their communities in school by growing food for school meals, for example.

Agriculture Guides are helping to raise productivity, combat hunger, build resilience to climate shocks, and lower greenhouse emissions, while tackling gender inequity in farming. The approach has huge potential to scale.

CAMFED’s UN Climate Action Award

Through CAMFED’s Agriculture Guide program, young women lead grassroots action in their communities.

CAMFED Agriculture Guides are young women who have completed school with CAMFED support and who have expertise in sustainable agriculture.

They draw on the knowledge they gained at secondary school – including the creativity, problem-solving and leadership skills cultivated through CAMFED’s school-based Learner Guide Program – and combine it with “green economy” technical expertise.

It is our pleasure to award CAMFED’s breakthrough initiative. Their project serves as a beacon, guiding us towards a more resilient future for all. Their project trains young women from poor, marginalized farming communities across sub-Saharan Africa – and in turn provides a shining example of a scalable, effective climate solution, that’s led by young women.

Niclas Svenningsen, Manager of the UN Climate Change Global Climate Action Program

Agriculture Guides train smallholders in sustainable farming techniques, supporting their communities to adapt to the effects of climate change and improve yields. They respect traditional knowledge, combined with innovation, using methods and materials readily available in local communities.

Techniques include:

  • Drip-irrigation using waste plastic bottles to save water and recycle
  • Mulching, where compost is added to the soil to reduce erosion and improve nutrition
  • Inter-cropping, where two plants are grown on the same plot to enhance yields
  • Agroforestry, combining trees and crops on agricultural land to enhance yields, increase biodiversity, improve soil structure, reduce erosion, and sequester carbon 

These approaches make effective use of scarce water resources, reduce surface water evaporation, improve soil nutrition and its ability to store carbon, and increase productivity by enabling multiple harvests on a single plot.

Agriculture Guides also work with schools, government and community groups to provide nourishing school meals, protect trees and biodiversity, construct cleaner cook stoves, heat water using solar power and plastic bottles, provide pot in pot refrigeration, recycle materials, and reduce waste.

CAMFED Agriculture Guides have won the confidence and support of local government Agricultural Extension Officers, who invite them to train alongside them.

Watch the UN Climate Change Film about CAMFED

On 26 September 2019, CAMFED received a UN Global Climate Action Award in recognition of African women’s leadership for climate-smart agriculture. CAMFED’s action on climate change was showcased in a series of special events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) in Madrid, Spain, in December 2019.

CAMFED's Agriculture Guide Program - Our Ambitions by 2025

As part of CAMFED's 5-year strategic plan, we aim to scale the Agriculture Guide Program to

  • 50K

    Help 50,000 young women transition into productive and sustainable agricultural enterprises

  • 750K

    Reach 750,000 more community members who will benefit from young women's knowledge in sustainable agriculture

  • 150K

    Create 150,000 new jobs, especially in climate-smart enterprises

Meet some of our Climate-Smart Farming Experts

Learn more from some of CAMFED's leaders in sustainable agriculture

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StoryZambia

Dorcas

Dorcas is a sustainable agriculture expert from Zambia who is developing mobile Aquaponics units to support community nutrition and resilience to climate change.

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StoryTanzania

Mwanaisha

Agriculture Guida Mwanaisha demonstrates simple interventions – like using manure and growing crops in rotation – to increase yields while protecting the soil.

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StoryZimbabwe

Beauty

Beauty, whose climate-smart farm helps feed her school community, inspired the CAMFED Garden at the UK’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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StoryMalawi

Malumbo

Malumbo’s learning journey has taken her across continents. Now she’s using her expertise to build community resilience to climate change.

More resources on African women's climate action

Watch videos, download brochures and read news articles about CAMFED's Climate-smart Agriculture Guides

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Young women’s leadership on climate action

This booklet catalogs the activities of CAMFED’s climate-smart agriculture champions are leading action  in some of the most marginalized areas of Africa.

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NewsGhana

Earth Day 2021 - Education is Climate Action

This Earth Day, join us on Esnath’s cricket farm in Zimbabwe; meet Miriam, who is raising productivity while preventing soil erosion in rural Malawi, and read about the link between education and climate action.

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NewsZambia

Senior Chief Nkula launches our climate-smart demonstration farm in Chinsali, Zambia

After gifting 304 ha of land to our young women leaders, Senior Chief Nkula launched CAMFED’s first large-scale climate-smart demonstration farm

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CAMFED's Zimbabwean Garden in Central London: Bringing the power of our Agriculture Guide Program to life

The CAMFED Garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower shone a spotlight on the life-changing effects of supporting girls in Africa to go to school, and young women to start climate-smart agricultural businesses after graduating, nourishing their school communities.

The garden lives on at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, supporting our campaign to launch tens of thousands of female-led, climate-smart agricultural businesses.

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