What we do

With access to education we can do amazing things: launch businesses, become health workers, run schools, and lead governments. But education is not freely available to everyone - and in many parts of the world girls are the first to be excluded from it.

Education can change everything

Since 1993, Camfed has educated girls and supported young women to help tackle poverty in rural communities.

More than 3,500,000 children in the poorest areas of Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have benefited from our innovative education programs. Investing in girls and women is a proven way to improve the health and wealth of a whole nation.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 24 million girls can't afford to go to school. A girl may marry as young as 13 and has a one in 22 chance of dying in childbirth. One in six of her children will die before the age of five. Research shows if you educate a girl she’ll:

  • Earn up to 25% more and reinvest 90% in her family.
  • Be three times less likely to become HIV-positive.
  • Have fewer, healthier children who are 40% more likely to live past the age of five.

Our approach

We believe every child has the right to an education. And we know that poverty is the greatest barrier to accessing an education in the communities where we work.

So we provide the financial resources to overcome that barrier and then work through national and local systems - with parents, teachers, government officials, and traditional authorities - to deliver them. We do not set up parallel systems, or bring in workers from outside. Our programs are devised, managed, and monitored by the community, and all of our Africa offices are staffed by nationals of that country.

Our support is not a one-off injection of money. The children we support are selected by the community as being the most in need and we don’t just provide them with books or school fees. We help them throughout their development, from primary school years until adulthood. Our package allows a girl to get into school, do well academically, and maximise the value of her education after graduation.

See how our girl-centric, long-term program works:


Why we do it

Imagine you are a 12-year-old girl. You went to primary school, loved your lessons, and enjoyed playing with your classmates.

But when it was time to go to secondary school you were forced to drop out. Your parents did not have money for school fees, food, uniforms, or transport.

A financial burden, you now have to work to earn money to help your family. You are young and vulnerable and – out of school – likely to have a baby by 14 and three more by 20. You are three times more likely to contract HIV and AIDS than your friends who stay in school. Your children are more likely to be malnourished than those of women who are able to wait longer to have families. You have no power, and no say over your life.

Now imagine that someone steps in to change that picture. Your community supports you through school and you complete secondary education with funds that cover everything you need to be able to study. You have skills to start a business, can decide whom you want to marry and when you want to have children. And you can reinvest in the community that nurtured you. This is what happens if you invest in education.

Now read about the Camfed Model and why it works.