CAMFED is a pan-African movement revolutionizing how girls’ education is delivered. Through a gold-standard system of accountability to the young people and communities we serve, we have created a model that radically improves girls’ prospects of becoming independent, influential women. Our impact increases exponentially through the Association of young women educated with CAMFED’s support. Together, we multiply the number of girls in school and accelerate their path to livelihoods and leadership.
When you educate a girl, everything changes
All of our programs begin with an individual girl in rural Africa. We look at the world from her perspective,
and work with communities to dismantle the barriers to her education, and to a life of independence and leadership through the CAMFED Association (CAMA).
Camfed was founded in 1993 by Ann Cotton to support girls to go to school who would otherwise be denied an education because of poverty. The idea for Camfed came from after a research trip to Zimbabwe in which she came to believe that the low enrollment of females in school was due to poverty that did not allow them to cover the school fees. It began with support for 32 girls to attend secondary school in two rural districts of Zimbabwe. By 2017, Camfed had supported more than 1.5 million children through education in a network of 5,500 schools  in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Anticipating the need for post-school economic opportunities for young people in marginalized rural communities, the Camfed Alumnae Association (CAMA) was established in 1998 to connect young female school leavers and offer pathways to post-secondary school opportunities. CAMA provides a structure through which its members can develop their activism and leadership. By 2017, CAMA had a membership of 84,675 young women, among them now teachers, business leaders, government officials, health professionals and entrepreneurs. A hallmark of Camfed is the activism and philanthropy of its alumnae network, who are actively raising and administering funds to support the next generation of children in school.
Camfed is overseen by an Executive Team of Directors from all Camfed offices led by its CEO, Lucy Lake, who joined Camfed in 1994.
Camfed focuses on rural areas of Africa where poverty is widespread, and girls and young women face massive exclusion from education and the opportunities that are afforded by education. Camfed works to build around girls a supportive environment in which they can attend, and succeed, at primary and secondary school, and progress into young adulthood with opportunities that include professional training, higher education and job creation.
Camfed provides aid by paying for school fees, providing school uniforms, books, and sanitary protection. They also work with the school by training teachers to be mentors.
CAMA, the Camfed Alumnae Association, is the alumnae association for Camfed graduates.
CAMA provides a structure through which its members can develop their activism and leadership. This is referred to as the 'CAMA Multiplier Effect', where these young women graduates are now leading the movement for girls' education in their communities. The ability of CAMA members to lead and implement such long lasting change comes from their lived experience.
The Learner Guide Program
The Learner Guide program was started and is run by women in the Camfed alumnae association CAMA network who volunteer in local schools to deliver a tailored curriculum encompassing leadership, health, learning and life skills to their younger peers.
This is a two part project that concurrently addresses equal access to quality education for children and the post-secondary school transition period for young women. Firstly, the Learner Guide Program offers a training program for young women to become Learner Guides, opening up post-secondary opportunities, providing transferable skills training, and work experience. Secondly, Learner Guides deliver a tailored program that supports marginalized children through their education, alongside the standard school curriculum.
Camfed is contributing directly to progress with SDG4: Quality Education. In addition, through the sustainable and scalable programs introduced by Camfed in educating girls, and supporting young women through their transition into secure livelihoods, Camfed’s work contributes to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 1: Poverty, Goal 3: Good Health, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 13: Climate Action, and more.
In 2017, The Learner Guide Program was awarded the WISE Award.
As of October 1, 2019, Camfed USA is rated by Charity Navigator at 96.30 out of 100 overall, with a rating of 96.64 out of 100 for its financials and a 96.00 out of 100 for transparency and accountability.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102-1262 | Tax-exempt since Dec. 2001
Classification (NTEE) International Development, Relief Services (International, Foreign Affairs and National Security)
Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3) Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Donations to this organization are tax deductible.
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