Supporting girls to learn and lead in Tanzania

CAMFED Tanzania launched in 2005, working with the government to boost secondary school enrollment, as Tanzania has one of the lowest transition rates between primary and secondary school in Africa. 

We first started our work in the town of Iringa, where many girls who couldn’t afford secondary school fees were leaving home to become “house girls” in urban centers. Frequently, they were abused and exploited, and many returned home pregnant, living with HIV or both. Since then, our work has expanded and by 2021 was operating in 33 districts and supporting thousands of children through school.

I have been with CAMFED since it started in Tanzania. What makes me feel so excited about our work is seeing the girls we are supporting rising from despair to having hope. Some of the girls have been able to achieve things they thought they’d never be able to achieve – passing exams, running businesses, and becoming Learner Guides, mentors and role models to other vulnerable children. They are now respected by their families and communities, holding positions of responsibility, and giving back by helping others. That obvious change in each girl has happened because CAMFED has invested in them. This is what motivates me to go to work each day.

Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania


Girls are change makers and education is the driving force

“Poverty is the greatest challenge to girls’ education in Tanzania. In my country, girls have the ambition to become change makers and leaders in their communities, but they lack equal access to education and opportunity. 

“As a girl from a poor family, I know what it means to be marginalized and excluded from education. With CAMFED support, I completed my secondary education and now I am using my skills and knowledge to help other young girls build their confidence and reach their dreams. I promote the girls’ education in communities as a mechanism to end poverty and build a stable economy. Education changes minds and opens eyes to what girls can achieve when given the opportunity. 

“Girls are change makers and education is the driving force. Through education, women and girls can achieve economic freedom.”

Mariamu Mlenda, CAMFED Association Chairperson, Tanzania

Barriers to Education in Tanzania

Girls, children with disabilities, and those from poor families are the most vulnerable to drop out or never attend school.

  • 49%

    In Tanzania, 49% of people live below the international monetary poverty line of $1.90 per day.

    UNDP (2019)

  • 27%

    Only 27% of girls complete upper secondary school in Tanzania, and among the poorest children this falls to 6%.

    UNICEF (2019)

  • 31%

    31% of girls in Tanzania are married before the age of 18, and 5% before the age of 15.

    UNICEF (2020)

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Meet Dotto

Dotto is a CAMFED Association member and trained Learner Guide in Tanzania, who understands the barriers girls and vulnerable students face to their education. She volunteers at her local secondary school to support learners and help them overcome challenges, and in return gains access to funds and training in order to grow her own business.  

Significant challenges to education remain in Tanzania 

Students are affected by lack of schools and school places, understaffing, and lack of resources such as textbooks and equipment. CAMFED provides textbooks for a significant number of our partner secondary schools, as well as e-readers and workbooks.

At secondary level the teaching language switches from Swahili to English, and often without access to resources and support, children struggle to acquire the literacy and language skills required to learn and pass their exams. 

In addition, the shortage of highly qualified (especially female) teachers means girls often lack the role models to aspire to and help them succeed. CAMFED Association members are essential female role models that girls can look up to. They help resolve problems and improve learning outcomes for all students.

Since 2005, CAMFED Tanzania has....

  • 163K

    supported 163,084 students to go to primary and secondary school using donor funds.

  • 95K

    Of these, 95,181 students have been supported to go to primary school - CAMFED's Safety Net Fund for partner primary schools provides essential items for children to prevent them from dropping out of school.

  • 68K

    and 67,903 students have been supported to go to secondary school - CAMFED provides holistic support, that might include school or exam fees, uniforms, sanitary wear, books, pens, bikes, boarding fees or disability aids.

  • 858

    CAMFED Tanzania partners with 858 schools - We work in genuine partnership with government schools to help improve the learning environment for all students.

In 2015, the Tanzanian government took significant steps to reaching the sustainable development goals by introducing fee-free education at both primary and secondary school level. However, with almost a third of the population living below the national poverty line, many children still face barriers in accessing education including long, dangerous journeys to school and lack of money for school-going essentials like uniform. 

CAMFED Tanzania works alongside local schools, community groups, parents and stakeholders, to identify the most marginalized children in communities and ensure they get the material and emotional support they need to learn and thrive.

Communities taking action

Together with CAMFED Association leaders, we catalyze the activism of CAMFED Champions in our partner communities to support more vulnerable children to go to primary and secondary school.

  • 905K

    Since 2005, 904,646 students have been supported to go to school by CAMFED Association members and community initiatives.

  • 334K

    Of these, 333,688 students have been supported to go to school 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.

  • 574K

    and 574,131 students have been supported to go to primary and secondary school through community initiatives. This includes parents, teachers, education officials and traditional leaders, who rally resources to support even more children to go to school.

  • 35.3K

    Our movement in Tanzania has grown to 35,296 CAMFED Association members helping to form the largest network of its kind in Africa. Young women educated with CAMFED support spearhead our programs and help more vulnerable children to go to school.

Related News and Stories

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Scaling support for girls in Tanzania

Since 2018, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution has partnered with CAMFED Tanzania to implement an RTSL (Real Time Scaling Lab) to expand and deepen the impact of CAMFED’s Learner Guide Program. CAMFED’s Lydia Wilbard and Patrick Hannahan from The Brookings Institution share learnings from expanding the project.


A focus on equity and inclusion benefits all children

In its article on cost-effectiveness and EdTech, EdTech Hub explores issues of access and equity. The authors share the World Bank analysis that ranks CAMFED Tanzania’s program 2nd of 150 education interventions for cost-effectiveness and reaching the most marginalized.




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We are building a nation

Diris Martin and Doris Mponji, CAMFED Association members in Tanzania share their experiences of becoming CAMFED Learner Guides, and volunteering in their local secondary school. Their support was vital for students during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to transform prospects for young people.


Young women trained in value addition

Through its partnership with Sokoine University of Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative – SUGECO – CAMFED Tanzania recently supported 53 young women with training in value addition for agricultural products at Mkongo Agricultural Youth Camp.



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Meet our CAMFED Association Beekeepers – CAMFEd Tanzania’s anna Sawaki speaks to Naima, Zubeda, and Halima, members of our CAMFED Association from Kibiti district, who have been trained in bee keeping and honey production.

Katty-Collection-Donates-Sewing-Machines-CAMA-TZ_WhatsApp Image 2022-03-20 at 12.27.32

Young women entrepreneurs boosted by Katty Collection

The famous designer behind Tanzanian fashion brand Katty Collection has gifted new sewing machines to five upcoming entrepreneurs in the CAMFED Association. At a glittering presentation event they were joined by the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalima.




Meet Mariam from Handendi, Tanzania. She was supported through school by CAMFED and studied Animal Health and Production at college. Today she is a veterinarian and supports livestock owners in her community to keep their animals healthy.

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty


Ally Kennedy $5

Rabbi Jonathan Gerard $36

Helga E. Seitz €50

Dean Andrew $200

Angela Hamilton $250

Patricia Gorman $250

Louis LE HENAFF £250

Rod Braithwaite $50

Jessica Clark-Jones £540

andreas merk $45


Lara Kenny £5

Susan Kath $100

John Selby $50

Rachel Nance $60