Supporting girls to learn and lead in Zimbabwe

CAMED Zimbabwe launched in 1993, in tandem with CAMFED International, and has continued to expand across the country. Our partnership with thousands of rural schools across 29 districts provides vital support for marginalized children, and since its inception has improved the school environment for millions of students. Through our holistic program of financial and psycho-social support, we provide the most marginalized girls with the tools they need to thrive in school and beyond.

Due to a challenging social and economic situation, many students struggle to find employment once they graduate. CAMFED Zimbabwe, through our women leaders in the CAMFED Association, is working to bridge the gap between school and secure employment by offering business and financial skills training to school leavers, helping them to access new economic opportunities and support themselves and their families.

Zimbabwe continues to have one of the world’s fastest shrinking economies, which has resulted in increased poverty and mass unemployment. This situation has been further compounded by droughts that have left about half of the population food insecure. Even during this difficult time, we continue to perform remarkably well as an organization in supporting partner schools to stay functional, retain teachers, and limit child dropout. We not only assist disadvantaged families with meeting the educational costs for their children; we engage them with respect, and support them to invest their expertise, love and labor to ensure their children can go to school and thrive. The challenges ahead of us are profound, but we remain energized by our conviction that a time shall come when each and every child will be in school.


I’m determined to work tirelessly to promote education in my community

“Growing up in rural Zimbabwe, my family depended on small-scale agriculture to earn a living and often we did not have enough food to eat. But I knew that with education I could break the cycle of poverty. Driven by the challenges I faced as a young girl, I’m determined to work tirelessly to promote education in my community. My biggest hope for girls and women in Africa is that they can all be empowered, educated, and economically independent.”

Clarah Zinyama – CAMFED Association Chairperson, Zimbabwe

Barriers to Education

Poverty remains the greatest barrier to education for children in Zimbabwe

  • 72%

    In Zimbabwe, 72% of people live below the national poverty line.

    UNDP (2019)

  • 14%

    Only 14% of girls in Zimbabwe complete upper secondary school, and among the poorest children this falls to 1%.

    UNICEF (2021)

  • 34%

    In Zimbabwe, 34% of girls are married before the age of 18, and 5% before the age of 15.

    UNICEF (2020)

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Meet Beauty, CAMFED Association member & agriculture expert

With support from CAMFED, Beauty was able to go to agricultural college, helping her build an ambitious business plan as well as expertise in climate-smart crops and growing methods. Today, she is putting food on the table for her whole community, providing jobs and learning resources for others, and protecting the environment around her.

Since 1993, CAMFED Zimbabwe has....

  • 379K

    supported 378,761 students to go to primary and secondary school using donor funds

  • 240K

    Of these, 239,856 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.

  • 139K

    and we have supported 138,905 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.

  • 2.4K

    CAMFED Zimbabwe partners with 2,424 schools - We work in genuine partnership with government schools to help improve the learning environment for all students.

Catalyzing action for vulnerable children 

In addition to marginalized girls, CAMFED supports children living with disabilities and boys with tailored packages of support, addressing the barriers that keep them from attending and succeeding in school. The districts where boys are selected for support are those where boys’ educational outcomes are the worst in the country. CAMFED Zimbabwe’s position as Chair of the Gender and Disability Committee under the National Education Coalition enables us to advocate for policies to promote equitable, quality education.

In 2019, Zimbabwe experienced its worst drought in decades, which, in tandem with the impacts of Cyclone Idai and a severe economic crisis that sent food prices spiraling, created the country’s worst acute food insecurity crisis in 10 years. With many families struggling, the risk of school dropout and child marriage remains high.

Zimbabwe has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals and during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum, the government reaffirmed commitment to this target.

Our young women leaders in the CAMFED Association are at the forefront of tackling child marriage in their communities, working with schools, parents, education authorities, traditional leaders, social workers and the police to catalyze action for vulnerable girls.

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.

  • 1.7M

    Since 1993, 1,722,210 students have been supported to go to school by CAMFED Association members and community initiatives.

  • 1.4M

    Of these, 1,369,294 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.

  • 398K

    and 398,283 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.

  • 77.8K

    Our movement in Zimbabwe has grown to 77,880 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




When Esnath’s education was in jeopardy, CAMFED stepped in to provide the financial and psycho-social support she needed to stay in school.  Now Esnath is a sustainable agriculture expert and entrepreneur, training rural Zimbabweans to farm insects – a low cost, low carbon source of protein with the potential to nourish whole communities.

CAMA-Zim-Shurugwi-Agriculture-Guide-Training_Sinikiwe-Makove_WhatsApp Image 2020-10-15 at 14.42.37


BBC features CAMFED in climate action podcast on girls’ education & empowerment

CAMFED’s Fiona Mavhinga and Esnath Divasoni star on the BBC Radio Four podcast, ‘39 Ways to Save the Planet’ with Tom Heap, to discuss the active benefits of supporting girls through school — from agency, independence, health and earning power to practical and policy leadership on climate issues.



"The distance to school is not only about the distance you walk"

In her latest Brookings blog, CAMFED CEO Lucy Lake describes how marginalized girls lack the confidence to engage in the classroom; and how CAMFED’s life skills program - delivered by young women educated with CAMFED support - bridges the distance between girls going to school and learning.

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