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 2022 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, Executive Director: Learning & Engagement, 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)

Play videoImage

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. 

Read video transcript

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....

  • 181K

    supported 181,437 students to go to primary and secondary school using donor funds.

  • 103K

    Of these, 102,783 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.

  • 79K

    and 78,654 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.

  • 1M

    Since 2005, 1,040,471 students have been supported to go to school by CAMFED Association members and community initiatives.

  • 415K

    Of these, 415,144 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.

  • 625K

    and 625,327 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.

  • 50.3K

    Our movement in Tanzania has grown to 50,390 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.

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Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty


Benj Schneider £1600

Martha King $1000

Lara Kenny £5

David Wells $15

jane moore $50

Kerri Hame $150

Tim Howell £120

Virginia Roaf €10

David Chatfield $13

Robin Gregory £10

Barbara Lindheim $150

Emiliano Conde $447.55


Jessica Hicks €687

Lara Kenny £6