CAMFED Zambia was launched in 2001 to tackle girls' exclusion from education.
CAMFED in Zambia
CAMFED has been operating in Zambia since 2001, when we were invited to support the Ministry of Education to improve access to and completion of education for rural girls.
Despite having obtained a lower middle income status, Zambia continues to face high levels of poverty and inequality. Girls experience high rates of exclusion from education, particularly in the rural areas of the Western, Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces where CAMFED operates. These provinces fare much worse than others in government assessments of income levels, education and health, although educational outcomes across the country continue to be poor.
By 2020, we had expanded our Zambia operations from 3 districts to 47, across four provinces, including two new districts in Central Province. Today, CAMFED Zambia works with government schools, communities, and local stakeholders, to improve learning outcomes and widen educational access for girls and marginalized children.
When you educate a girl child, everything changes
“Every day I wake up, I choose to challenge girl child exclusion from education. That is because I have been a rural girl before, I know what it means to face challenges that keep you away from school, but I have overcome them. I was supported by CAMFED to complete school, and now I know why it is important to educate a girl child, because when you educate a girl child, everything changes.”
Poverty, early marriage and pregnancy, are intrinsically linked and are the main challenges Zambian girls face in staying in school, particularly in rural areas where over half the population live.
In Zambia, 58% of people live below the international monetary poverty line of $1.90 per day.
Only 27% of girls in Zambia complete upper secondary school, and among the poorest children this falls to 3%.
In Zambia, 29% of girls are married before the age of 18, and 5% before the age of 15.
Meet Melody*, a secondary school student in Zambia
Melody’s family faced acute poverty and she was at risk of dropping out of school to become a child bride. CAMFED stepped in with bursary support and school-going essentials like books and sanitary pads, ensuring Melody has all the support she needs to stay in school and thrive.
*Not her real name. This pseudonym was chosen at the time of filming as Melody was underage.
Since 2001, CAMFED Zambia has....
supported 456,562 students to go to primary and secondary school using donor funds
Of these, 393,951 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.
and we have supported 62,611 students 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.
CAMFED Zambia partners with 1,263 schools - We work in genuine partnership with government schools to help improve the learning environment for all students.
Unlocking Futures for Girls in Zambia
CAMFED supports marginalized children in rural areas of Zambia who are at high risk of early marriage to continue their education at their local secondary schools.
Children and teens are supported by a network of young educated women in the CAMFED Association, who join forces with local government and community authorities to uphold girls’ rights and ensure they have the necessary support to attend school and succeed.
Our programs are also benefiting thousands of children with an improved learning environment, specifically reaching out to girls with disabilities to ensure they are not left behind in their pursuit of their right to education.
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.
Since 2001, 222,984 students have been supported to go to school by CAMFED Association members and community initiatives.
Of these, 142,834 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.
and 80,150 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.
Our movement in Zambia has grown to 15,271 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.
On October 29th, 2021, CAMFED Zambia gathered with partners, stakeholders, government officials, and our young leaders in the CAMFED Association at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka to celebrate our 20th anniversary at our Annual General Meeting.
"We heard your daughter on the radio" - COVID activism in Zambia
In her blog, Tisiyenji Ngoma, CAMFED Association District Chair in Kasama, Zambia, shares the practical measures she and her peers are leading to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tisiyenji was supported to go to school by CAMFED, and is acting now to secure the rights of girls.
Dorcas grew up in rural Zambia and was forced to drop out of school due to poverty. But then a CAMFED Trained Teacher Mentor identified Dorcas as needing financial support and helped her return to school. Today, Dorcas is a university graduate, agriculture expert, and entrepreneur, determined to plow back the benefits of her education to her community.
Harriet Cheelo, representing the climate-smart Agriculture Guides in the CAMFED Association of women leaders in Zambia, joins CAMFED’s Director of Enterprise Catherine Boyce, and Sky News hosts Anna Jones and Katerina Vitozzi to explore the role of girls’ education and women’s leadership for climate action in this podcast.
Supported by CAMFED through secondary school, Dyness graduated in 2018, joined the CAMFED Association of women leaders, and seized the opportunity to train as a Learner Guide. In her blog she explains how she uses her experience growing up in rural Zambia to support vulnerable children today.
In her column highlighting climate-related stories for Inside Climate News, Katelyn Weisbrod interviews CAMFED Association Agriculture Guide Harriet Cheelo from Zambia, an example of the power of girls’ education to deliver a new generation of climate leaders.