CAMFED has ‘grown up’ with the first group of girls who received support

CAMFED was founded in 1993 by Ann Cotton OBE. It began in Zimbabwe with scholarships to a group of 32 girls. By 2024, support had been extended to more than 7.2 million children through a network of partner schools in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

CAMFED as an organization has literally ‘grown up’ with the first girls supported through school. They are now united in the CAMFED Association, the network of women leaders educated with CAMFED support, founded in 1998.  Through the CAMFED Association, women are leading action on the big challenges their communities and countries face – from child marriage, and girls’ exclusion from education, to climate change. This unique pan-African network of teachers, nurses, doctors, sustainable agriculture experts and entrepreneurs is growing every year as more girls complete school and join them. They in turn provide the pipeline of future leaders across all sectors of society in their communities and countries.

CAMFED’s CEO Angeline Murimirwa recognizes and embodies the expert leadership that comes from lived experience. Angeline and her peers in the CAMFED Association are now at the forefront of CAMFED’s leadership, and setting a new agenda for girls’ education and women’s leadership in Africa.


The CAMFED Association: Young women leading change

In 1998, a group of young women educated with CAMFED support came together to found the CAMFED Association.

Starting with just 400 members, by the beginning of 2024 our unstoppable network of girls’ education activists numbered 278,959. Once among the most marginalized girls in their communities, they are now leaders at the forefront of our programs, working in and with their communities to ensure every girl secures her right to learn, thrive and become independent and influential.

Meet our movement

CAMFED Timeline


2023 - CAMFED is selected by The Audacious Project as a world-changing solution

In April 2023, CAMFED was selected by The Audacious Project as one of the biggest, boldest solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges for its plan to transform the lives of millions of girls in sub-Saharan Africa. Every year, The Audacious Project – which is housed at TED – selects and nurtures a group of timely solutions and brings together an inspiring group of supporters to help launch them. 


2023 - Angeline Murimirwa becomes CAMFED CEO

In January 2023, Lucy Lake passed the baton to Angeline Murimirwa. Angie, in her new role as CEO, and Lucy, in her new role as Chair of the Global Executive, will continue to work closely together as CAMFED Co-Executives. “As a graduate of CAMFED, unwavering in her commitment to accountability to the girls we serve and inimitable in her determination that every young woman should fulfil her potential, Angie is an inspiration to us all,” Lucy writes in the announcement.

CAMFED EarthDay COP27 panel

2022 - African women's climate leadership at COP27

In November, CAMFED Association climate educators and activists Harriet Cheelo and Natasha Lwanda joined other climate experts in our 1-hour panel discussion and Q&A at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27,  in Egypt on the theme “Climate Education for Resilience and Equity in sub-Saharan Africa.” CAMFED was honored with the UN Global Climate Action Award in 2019.


2022 - CAMFED named Obama Foundation "Get Her There" campaign partner

In October, Michelle Obama’s Girls Opportunity Alliance announced CAMFED as one of its non-profit collaborators on a new initiative, Get Her There, a global call to action to help educate and empower adolescent girls around the world to reach their full potential.


2021 - CAMFED awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize

On August 4, 2021, CAMFED was awarded the 2021 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest annual humanitarian award presented to a nonprofit in recognition of extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering.


2021 - CAMFED awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation

In June 2021, CAMFED was honored to receive the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, often referred to as “Spain’s Nobel Prize,” which counts Nelson Mandela and Gloria Steinem among its laureates.


2020 - CAMFED selected as Grand Prize Winner of Kristof Holiday Impact Prize

In November 2020, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof selected CAMFED as Grand Prize Winner of his Holiday Impact Prize, recognizing girls’ education as the key to tackling the world’s greatest challenges.

Angeline Murimirwa holding the Yidan Prize certificate

2020 - CAMFED honored with Yidan Prize for Education Development

In September 2020, CAMFED’s Co-Executives Angeline Murimirwa and Lucy Lake were named as 2020 laureates of the Yidan Prize for Education Development, the world’s largest prize in education. They were the first team to be granted the Yidan Prize since its inception in 2017.


2020 - Humanitarian Awards Ghana

Three CAMFED Association members – Kate Wodenya Amenyikor, Jennifer De-Graft Ninson and Angelina Anita Ama Annobil – were recognized for their activism in promoting quality, equitable education at the Humanitarian Awards Ghana, which took place on October 3, 2020 in Accra.


2020 - CAMFED Business Guide Program launched

First started in Tanzania in 2020, by 2021 CAMFED’s Business Guide Program had expanded to include Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The CAMFED Business Guide Program supports rural women with training, peer mentorship and linkages to financial opportunities in order to grow profitable businesses.

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2020 - CAMFED Agriculture Guide Program launched

In 2020, CAMFED’s Climate-Smart Agriculture Guide Program launched in Zimbabwe, with Zambia and Malawi soon after. The program sees young women in the CAMFED Association, who are trained in climate-smart agriculture, cascade their knowledge to rural smallholder farmers, helping communities to improve farming yields, incomes and food security.


2019 - CAMFED surpasses 1 million girl target

Each year since 2014, CAMFED reported on its goal of supporting 1 million girls in secondary school within 5 years — and in 2019 we surpassed it, having supported the education of 1,205,336 adolescent girls. Importantly, nearly half of all these girls benefitted directly from the philanthropy and outreach of young women in the CAMFED Association, the network of women leaders educated with CAMFED support.


2019 - CAMFED receives UN Global Climate Action Award

In September 2019 at COP25, CAMFED was awarded the UN Global Climate Action Award in the Women for Results category, recognizing young women’s grassroots leadership for climate action. 


2019 - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex join CAMFED's young leaders in Malawi

Leaders in our CAMFED Association gave a rousing welcome to The Duke of Sussex at a meeting at a teacher training college in Malawi. Prince Harry came to meet nearly 50 young women during a special event with The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust in Lilongwe, and thrilled the audience when he introduced The Duchess of Sussex, who joined via live link from South Africa.


2019 - CAMFED's 25th anniversary celebrations

In May 2019, the first ever CAMFED Gala took place in New York City, celebrating 25 years of progress in women’s empowerment and girls’ education. Angeline Murimirwa announced our audacious goal of supporting 5 million more girls to go to school.


2019 - A gold medal & BBC People’s Choice Award for CAMFED's Zimbabwean Garden at Chelsea

In May 2019, the CAMFED Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, designed by Jilayne Rickards, won a coveted gold medal and the BBC / RHS People’s Choice Award in the ‘Space to Grow’ category.  Clarah Zinyama, a CAMFED graduate and climate-smart agriculture expert in the CAMFED Association, had travelled to the UK from Zimbabwe to share her expertise with visitors.


2018 - Prince Harry joins our young women leaders in Zambia

In a meeting filled with laughter, singing and sharing stories, The Duke of Sussex praised the “great work” carried out by members of the CAMFED Association, CAMA, and other youth leaders. They had gathered together for a special event in Lusaka, Zambia, organized by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust in celebration of what young change-makers are achieving in their communities.


2017 - CAMFED's Learner Guide Program recognized with a WISE Award

In November 2017, CAMFED Tanzania’s Lydia Wilbard accepted the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award for our Learner Guide Program. The WISE Awards recognize high-impact projects from around the globe for their innovative solutions to 21st century education challenges. Winning projects had to be scalable and replicable, demonstrating a transformative impact on individuals, communities, and society.


2017 - Angeline Murimirwa among BBC 100 Most Influential Women 2017

In 2017, CAMFED’s Executive Director Angeline Murimirwa – and one of the first young women supported through school by CAMFED – was recognized as one of the 100 most influential and inspirational women around the world for leading CAMFED’s programs across sub-Saharan Africa, unlocking the potential of hundreds of thousands of young women. She listed her mom as her role model, and quoted the Shona phrase, “We have been through the thunderstorms. Showers don’t frighten us.”


2017 - Angeline Murimirwa receives Diamond Ball Honors Award

On September 14, 2017, the Clara Lionel Foundation presented Angeline Murimirwa with the 2017 Diamond Ball Honours Award, recognizing her past, present and future support of young leaders, entrepreneurship and civic engagement. The Diamond Ball is the annual gala held by the Clara Lionel Foundation, founded by award-winning performer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Rihanna. 


2017 - CAMFED Transition Guide Program launched

CAMFED’s Transition Guide Program launched in Zimbabwe in 2017, and by 2019 was operating in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Ghana. The Transition Guide Program supports recent high school graduates to take their next steps into business, professional careers, or further education and training.

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2016 - BTEC for CAMFED Guides launched

In 2016, CAMFED International was officially approved as a BTEC awarding centre for our bespoke Level 3 (Advanced Diploma) BTEC qualification for CAMFED Guides, developed in partnership with Pearson. By 2020, it had been rolled out across all 5 CAMFED countries of operation, and includes all CAMFED Guide roles (Transition, Business, Agriculture and Learner Guides).


2014 - CAMFED gains OECD recognition for taking development innovation to scale

In October 2014, CAMFED was recognized as a model of best practice in taking innovation to scale by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). CAMFED’s achievement was announced at a ceremony on Tuesday, October 7th at the OECD headquarters in Paris.


2014 - CAMFED's Ann Cotton receives WISE Prize for Education

Ann Cotton’s work with CAMFED to support community-owned, integrated education programmes for girls and young women in rural Africa was recognized with the WISE Prize for Education in November 2014. She accepted the award on behalf of the 1 million girls CAMFED committed to supporting through secondary education within 5 years.


2014 - CAMFED commits to educating 1 million adolescent girls in 5 years

The announcement came as part of the Clinton Global Initiative’s CHARGE (The Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education) Commitment, which was announced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the final day of the tenth annual Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City.


2013 - CAMFED Learner Guide Program launched

CAMFED’s flagship Learner Guide Program began in 2013 in a network of 991 government secondary schools across 35 rural districts in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. By 2018, the life skills, mentorship and social support program was running across all 5 CAMFED countries of operation, supporting girls to succeed and young women to lead.


2009 - CAMFED Malawi founded

CAMFED Malawi launched in 2009, when we began partnering with school communities and Ministry and education stakeholders to improve learning environments and boost academic and life outcomes for students in rural communities, especially marginalized girls. 


2009 - Angeline Murimirwa featured in 'Half the Sky'

CAMFED’s work and Angeline Murimirwa’s story is featured in the New York Times best-selling book Half the Sky by Nick Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn.


2005 - Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship awarded to CAMFED's Ann Cotton

CAMFED Founder Ann Cotton was awarded the Skoll Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurship at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford in 2005. The Skoll Foundation “invests in social entrepreneurs and other social innovators who together advance bold and equitable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.”


2005 - CAMFED Tanzania founded

CAMFED Tanzania launched in 2005 in Iringa District, working with the government to boost secondary school enrolment and break down the barriers that hold girls and young women back.


2001 - CAMFED Zambia founded

CAMFED Zambia launched in 2001, when we were invited by the Ministry of Education to help improve access to and completion of education for rural girls.


1998 - CAMFED Ghana founded

CAMFED Ghana launched in 1998, working first in the Northern Region, where girls and their communities faced the greatest disadvantage.


1998 - CAMFED Association founded

The CAMFED Association was formed in July 1998 when 400 recent school graduates from rural Zimbabwe came together to discuss what their futures would look like, and through their collective efforts, pledged to support each other and more girls to go to school.

A portrait of Shushuna, a secondary student from Muzarabani, Zimbabwe.

1993 - CAMFED Zimbabwe founded

CAMFED Zimbabwe launched in 1993, in tandem with CAMFED International, and has continued to expand its reach, programs and partnerships during times of great upheaval, social and economic challenges.


1993 - CAMFED’s Inception

In 1993, CAMFED International was founded by researcher Ann Cotton, whose work in Zimbabwe led her to understand that poverty was the main barrier to girls’ participation in the classroom, and that if girls secured their human right to be in school, learn, and shape their own destinies, they would change their communities and nations forever. 

Thank you to our generous recent donors

Together we are breaking the cycle of poverty


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Wendy Wallbrunn $40

Jonathan Wilkinson £50

Albert Zabin $200

Steve Osman $100

Roe & Maggie Stone $100

Betty Schwab $25

Jonathan Brody $40

Bonne Mogulescu $150

William Wiedmann $150

Adrianna Timmons $360

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