“When you invest in a girl’s education, she feeds herself, her children, her community, and her nation.”
– Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
CAMFED, also known as the Campaign for Female Education, is an international non-governmental organization that is dedicated to revolutionising the education system for girls. The official CAMFED website defines this as, “We catalyze the power of the most vulnerable girls and young women to create the future they imagine – for themselves, for their communities, and for Africa.”
CAMFED is a pan-African movement. It aims to create a community of strong, independent young women and girls, who have access to the best education and career prospects. The CAMFED Association is a network of all the women leaders who have been educated by CAMFED’s support. This pan-African network of lawyers, doctors, educators and entrepreneurs is a community that keeps growing and supporting CAMFED’s newer members.
CAMFED’s efforts, with the support of the CAMFED Association, have helped 4.8 million children across Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, to go to school. The organization has also been instrumental in improving the quality and education for millions of other children at their partner schools.
CAMFED’s history: an overview
CAMFED was started in 1993, by Ann Cotton OBE. The idea of developing a community to support vulnerable girls and young women came about when Cotton came back from a research trip to Zimbabwe. It was in Zimbabwe that she realised that the reason behind the low enrolment of girls at a school there was due to poverty and unfavourable economic conditions. Cotton began by supporting 32 girls to attend secondary school in two rural districts of Zimbabwe, and that was how CAMFED was started. In a little over 20 years, CAMFED had helped more than 1.5 million children with their enrolment at schools in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, etc.
The CAMFED Alumnae Association (CAMA) was started in 1998, to provide post-education career opportunities to the girls CAMFED helped. CAMA provides a structure that allows students to connect to post-secondary school opportunities and to help them develop a sense of activism and leadership.
How does CAMFED work?
CAMFED’s main focus is the rural areas of Africa, with widespread poverty and marginalization of women and girls. The organization provides an environment that fosters learning among these girls while helping them strengthen their self-esteem at the same time. This education then helps these girls transition into young adulthood with employment opportunities, provisions for higher education and professional training. CAMFED supports these girls by paying their school fees, providing them with resources such as books, school uniforms, and sanitary hygiene products. CAMFED also directly works with schools by training the teachers in mentorship techniques.
How can you help?
There’s a plethora of ways by which anyone who believes in CAMFED’s cause can do their part to help this wonderful organization. The easiest way to help is by giving a one-time gift. Your gift can help provide a uniform, school supplies and pay the exam fees of one of the many beautiful girls that CAMFED helps. You can also choose to become a monthly donor at CAMFED, wherein you can provide a gift to the children every month and support them in the long term.
Another easy way to show your support for the organization is by making stock donations directly to CAMFED, which helps fund their gift of education to the children. Those wanting to help can also set up a monthly donation directly from their salary, it is likely that your employer might wish to support your gift as well.
The only way humanity can be preserved is through helping one another and ensuring that even the most vulnerable among us get a chance to realise their fullest potential. We applaud CAMFED for the remarkable work they do to help so many girls and young women across Africa.