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A powerful movement of rural philanthropists:
119,966 and counting…

CAMA, the alumnae association for CAMFED graduates, is the largest network of its kind in Africa - and spurring remarkable change as young women from rural communities use their education to benefit others, and work to break the cycle of poverty for good. We call this the CAMA Effect.

CAMA’s power lies in its institutional, as well as its emotional, infrastructure. Members share huge determination and resilience against a background of rural poverty and marginalization.  They are deeply committed to ‘plowing back’ the benefits of their education into their communities.

Organized into elected committees from district to national level, CAMA has a robust mechanism for cascading knowledge.

Connected through mobile technology, young women overcome rural isolation, help build each other’s lives, and use their experience and expertise to support many more vulnerable children to stay in school, learn and succeed.    

CAMA members are teachers, business entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, social workers and local political leaders, all with a strong and intimate understanding of the barriers to girls’ education, putting themselves at the forefront of dismantling those barriers, and rallying everyone in their communities to do the same.

CAMA: A movement with the power to transform Africa

CAMA leaders from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi meet with patron Julia Gillard and CAMFED’s executive teams and managers, developing the joint strategy to support one million more girls through school 

History

CAMA emerged in 1998 thanks to a group of 400 former CAMFED bursary students who - along with CAMFED - asked themselves 'What next?' after they graduated from school. They looked at international examples of institutions that establish powerful alumni networks and decided they could do the same.

This association of educated young women, brought together by a common background of acute poverty and a belief in the power of education, is now making enormous strides in local communities - and on the international stage. 

The young women leaders of CAMA are now at the forefront of CAMFED's movement for girls' education, working with global leaders to bring about lasting change in their countries. 

The CAMA multiplier effect -
When you educate one, you educate many

In partnership with donors and rural communities, CAMFED and CAMA are offering training, technology, business loans, and mentoring support to young women at the critical time when they leave secondary school and may be under pressure to marry young, or to leave their rural communities for jobs in towns or cities, where they are extremely vulnerable.  Our investment in CAMA is paying huge dividends, as young women are extending partnerships, developing innovative programmes, galvanizing change in their communities, and leading the movement in support of girls’ education.

Supporting more students

Supporting students

Each CAMA member, on average, supports two more girls to go to secondary school, and rallies community support around the most vulnerable.

Training communities

Trained in subjects such as health, financial literacy, leadership, and setting up businesses, CAMA members provide vital community services.

Monitoring programs

CAMA members use technology to help monitor Camfed’s programs, ensuring that girls receive their entitlements, and recording data like school attendance and performance.

Delivering life skills

CAMA members are peer role models and mentors, volunteering as Learner Guides in schools to improve learning outcomes, and as Transition Guides in communities to support graduates on the route to independence and leadership.

Linking parents to schools

CAMA members provide a critical link between students, families, schools and services, and help establish Parent Support Groups which provide meals, love and material support for even more vulnerable students.

Running rural businesses

As business owners and entrepreneurs, CAMA members break the cycle of poverty by providing for their extended families, financing their own further education, creating new jobs and opportunities, and supporting more children at school.

Alice, CAMA Leader, Zambia

Alice, CAMA Zambia

Alice was destined to be a child bride at 14 until CAMFED and her community stepped in to support her through school. Now she works with CAMFED and some of the district officials who once supported her - monitoring programs, mentoring vulnerable children,  and supporting teachers and parents to keep girls in school, help them learn and succeed.

“I’m proud to be a CAMA member because it gives me a chance to work and volunteer with the community.”

Selina, CAMA GhanaSelina, CAMA Ghana

As a child Selina survived on less than one meal a day and had to sell charcoal to get a notebook or pencil for primary school. Without CAMFED’s support, she had no hope of finishing her education. Now she is a CAMA District chairperson and peer educator, spearheading life skills, health and financial literacy programs for vulnerable children and community members.

“My greatest achievements are when I am able to send an out of school child back to school.”

Talent, CAMA Member & Medical Doctor,  ZimbabweTalent, CAMA Zimbabwe

Talent lost her father when she was eight years old, and her mother struggled to support her. Barefoot and without a uniform, she still she managed to get the highest grades in her primary school. There was no money for secondary school until CAMFED stepped in. Talent excelled, and today she is a medical doctor, saving lives in difficult circumstances in a remote malaria-prone district of Zimbabwe.

“I have fulfilled my vow to bring a smile to my mother’s face always. The once poor woman is now a doctor’s mother. My son will not be a CAMFED client.”

Diris, CAMA TanzaniaDiris, CAMA Tanzania

Diris lost her parents when she was still in primary school and depended on neighbours for food. Constantly at risk of dropping out of school, she had to work as a house girl to make ends meet. When Diris found CAMA, and CAMFED supported her to attend university, her life changed completely. Now she teaches CAMA Learner Guides the techniques they need to deliver a life skills curriculum to vulnerable children at school.

“The same spirit of love and sisterhood I benefit from will help and bring hope to many children and students in the coming generation.” 

Omega, CAMA MalawiOmega, CAMA Malawi

The youngest of seven children, Omega grew up in poverty in rural Malawi. Her family struggled to subsist on her parents’ yearly sale of maize, and there was no money for school fees. Omega was about to drop out of school when CAMFED came to support her secondary education. As a CAMA member, she visits schools and hospitals, and helps the elderly. She has started a business, and is now studying to become a nurse and midwife.

“I will improve my family’s and community’s wellbeing in terms of health education and material support.  I will provide both preventative and curative measures to all people around me.”

The global stage

CAMA leaders speak to an international audience and influence local, as well as global, policy and decison-making.

Young women from rural communities have personally experienced many of the world’s biggest challenges — including exclusion from education, gender-based violence, early marriage, climate change, food insecurity, unemployment, HIV/AIDS and malaria. That personal knowledge and understanding is a powerful basis on which to engage with local traditional leadership, as well as global decision‐makers, in our common objective to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CAMFED supports young women to build their confidence and advocacy skills, identifying opportunities for them to engage with policymakers at local, national and international level. CAMA members have spoken on global platforms like President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, the Skoll World Forum, the Girls' Education Forum, the Obama Foundation Summit, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Institute for Government, the World Innovation Summit for Education, European Development Days, and the Educaid.be & Be-cause Health Conference.


At the 2018 Skoll World Forum, Angeline Murimirwa, CAMA's first ever Chairperson, brought the story of the nascence of the network to a global audience. The CAMA leadership network celebrated its 20th anniversary in July, 2018, and is growing exponentially. Angie spoke for all of her sisters in a dress made by a CAMA member in Ghana especially for this occasion.

CAMA Standing with Malala

CAMA’s ambassadors amplified the global call for equality and education as world leaders met in New York to announce the Sustainable Development Goals.

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