Graduation season is upon us, with many young people across the UK this week receiving their long anticipated exam results.

It is a pivotal moment, the culmination of years of academic endeavour and the beginning of a new chapter called ‘adulthood’. At CAMFED partner schools in rural Africa, thousands of girls are celebrating being the first graduates in their families. Recently in Ghana, 1,500 Mastercard Foundation Scholars at CAMFED gathered for a Senior High School graduation ceremony on the theme of ‘Shaping the future of young women’. 

Finishing Senior High School is the juncture where real life starts… I can imagine what Ghana will be like 10 to 30 years from now when we are the leaders in business, government and civil society. It will be a better and stronger nation

Adamu, Mastercard Foundation Scholar at CAMFED, Ghana

These are the words of valedictorian Adamu, whose speech captured the joy, hopes and expectations that she and her peers felt on reaching this momentous milestone. Reflecting on how different life could have been had their schooling been cut short, Adamu extols education as the great equalizer, opening the door of opportunity towards a brighter future both for women and their country as a whole. Educated women earn more, have smaller, healthier families and reinvest 90% of their earnings back into their families. 

Among the newest members of CAMA, CAMFED’s pan-African alumnae network, Adamu and her fellow graduates are committed to ploughing back the benefits of their education into their communities. Now almost 85,000 strong, CAMA members provide peer support to vulnerable young women to help them transition to and navigate through life beyond school. Only through investment in girls’ education can we begin to close the gender gap, enabling women to take control of their futures and bring about real and lasting change for the benefit of all.

Valedictorian Adamu addresses fellow secondary school graduates at their ‘Shaping the future of young women’ graduation ceremony (Photo: Assah Mills/CAMFED).

Read Adamu’s speech It is time for our voices to be heard

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