In Sub-Saharan Africa, 24 million girls can’t afford to go to school, and only 32 percent of girls attend secondary school. Camfed knows that poverty is the greatest barrier to learning in Africa and works to overcome this by supporting girls and young women throughout their education, empowering them to become leaders of change in their communities and the world.
The facts that drive what Camfed does are simple, and extremely compelling. With an education, girls in rural Africa will earn up to 25 percent more and reinvest 90 percent of that into their families. They’ll be three times less likely to become HIV-positive. And they’ll have fewer, healthier children—all of whom are 40 percent more likely to live past the age of five. With an education, not only can these girls survive, but they can also succeed (and then lead others do the same).
A community-led model
Camfed helps individual children get the education they need and deserve by providing partner schools with funding for school and exam fees, supplies, clothing, shoes and sanitary protection, as well as training for teacher mentors. Support begins in primary school and continues through all of secondary education. Beyond that, Camfed offers training and opportunities for young women as they transition to life after school, through a powerful alumnae network that enables them to change the lives of other young girls as they rewrite their own story.
Rather than imposing programs from the outside, maximum impact and sustainability is achieved through strong community partnerships. Communities and schools are centrally involved every step of the way, sharing ownership of action and results. And the results stand to prove just how effective this approach is in making a difference.
Breaking the cycle of poverty
What began as help for one remote community in Zimbabwe 20 years ago has since expanded to more than 2,600 of the poorest rural communities across Zimbabwe, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi. Camfed’s innovative education programs have already directly supported more than 1.2 million students in attending and advancing through school, and benefited more than 2.2 million children through an improved learning environment. In 2013 alone, Camfed enabled 108,088 underserved girls and boys to gain secondary education and 158,514 children to stay in primary school.
Fossil Unbound proudly partners with Camfed in providing ongoing scholarships to girls in rural Zambia as they enter Junior Secondary School. Poverty is particularly daunting in Zambia, with 82 percent of its population living on less than $2 a day. Over the past two years, we have made it possible for 1,873 girls to attend Junior Secondary School. A large part of our support also works to train teacher mentors and school-based committee members, so they can best provide guidance to vulnerable children and select the most disadvantaged girls for scholarships.
Education is the jumping off point for overcoming uneven economic development and making it possible for all young people to be their most successful selves. Thanks to Camfed, these girls and young women can choose their future—and that changes everything.