About the Organization

CAMFED is an international non-profit organization that tackles poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change. CAMFED invests in girls and women in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls face acute disadvantage, and where their empowerment is now transforming communities. Since 1993, CAMFED’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Malawi have directly supported over 3.3 million students to attend primary and secondary school, and over 5.7 million children have benefited from improved learning environments. CAMFED believes that every child is entitled to a quality education in a safe environment and a life as an independent young adult. CAMFED directly supports girls because typically they are the first to drop out of school, and the first to be failed by the system, which places them at the perils of early marriage, early pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS. As an activist organization, CAMFED devises robust, sustainable, and transparent programs accountable first and foremost to the girl, designed to meet her needs at school and beyond, while also working to deliver systemic change.

Tens of millions of children, many of them girls, do not go to school, robbing both the girls themselves and their communities of opportunities and leadership.

Camfed addresses cultural and financial barriers with scholarships and a network of support for each child.

Ann Cotton believes that education is the best investment a developing country can make.

Camfed supports millions of girls in nearly 5,000 schools, who will become the next generation of doctors, lawyers, teachers, and community leaders.

Ambition for Change

A generation of girls completing school, developing aspirations to be lawyers, doctors, business owners, and participating in the development of the social fabric of their communities, so they can make sure that the next generation is not born to poverty.

Path to Scale

Demonstration and Policy Reform Complement replication of direct service programs with policy engagement aimed at integrating its educational model into national education systems in developing countries

Skoll Awardee

Educator Ann Cotton traveled to Zimbabwe in 1991 to study the problems that keep girls out of school. She learned that the conventional wisdom was wrong: poverty, not culture, was the true barrier. Families with limited resources for school fees and other costs chose to invest in boys, who had a better chance to get jobs. She started Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) in 1993, raising money through bake sales to pay school fees for 32 girls. CAMFED developed a model to address both cultural and financial barriers, going beyond scholarships to weave a network of support around each child and support her education as far as she wants to go. The governance model engages families and communities to support groups of girls, who also support each other in a virtuous cycle of educational achievement, female leadership, and commitment to girls' education. CAMFED has an alumnae network set to grow to more than 130,000 by 2019, and has provided material support such as uniforms, books, and fees to nearly 250,000 girls in some 5,400 schools in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Impact & Accomplishments
  • In 2018, CAMFED, in collaboration with the CAMA Network and community members, supported over 1.16 million girls to remain in primary and secondary school.
  • A rigorous, large-scale comparative evaluation of their programs in Tanzania and Zimbabwe from 2013-2017 demonstrated that students made significantly more progress in both learning outcomes and retention compared to their counterparts in comparison schools.
  • In recognition that CAMFED demonstrates what works, backed by strong evidence, CAMFED has been invited to sit on several national Coordination Groups in the countries where it is active, to help plan for Global Partnership for Education investments.
  • In Ghana, the Ministry of Education has committed to working with CAMFED to roll-out the content of its Teacher Mentor training nationwide, so that every secondary school in Ghana has a trained Guidance and Counselling Coordinator (Teacher Mentor).
Abigail Kaindu
CAMA (CAMFED Alumnae Association) Member, CAMFED
Angeline Murimirwa
Executive Director - Africa, CAMFED
Ann Cotton
Founder, CAMFED
Dolores Dickson
Executive Director, CAMFED
Faith Nkala
Deputy Executive Director, CAMFED
Lydia Wilbard
National Director, Tanzania, CAMFED
Rafiatu Lawal
CAMA (CAMFED Alumnae Association) National Chairperson, CAMFED
Rosemary O'Mahony
Board Member, CAMFED
Sandra Spence
Director of Global Partnerships, CAMFED USA , CAMFED
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