Me (blue t-shirt) with some of my CAMFED Association sisters in Samfya District, Zambia. Photo: CAMFED/Eliza Powell

By ALICE SAISHA, CAMFED Association Zambia

Motherhood is an amazing feeling when you can be assured of your child’s welfare. I obtained that assurance through my access to education, which paved the way for my better living standards. I was able to go to school because of the bursary package provided by the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and the endless support and mentoring from community members, at a time when I was extremely vulnerable. Today my son has an open door to opportunities that did not seem possible for me at his age. …


A group of young African women smiling
A group of young African women smiling
Doris Mponji with a group of young women she taught, as a CAMFED Transition Guide, how to make tomato sauce. (Prior to COVID-19) (Photo: Doris Mponji)

CAMFED’s Learner Guide program is transforming prospects for young people

By Diris Martin with Doris Mponji, CAMFED Association Tanzania

My colleague Doris from Ulanga District, Tanzania, lost her father when she was very young. Her stepfather did not intend to spend the meagre family resources on his stepdaughter’s education. He expected her to marry, and her husband to support her. Yet Doris knew all too well the misery of child marriage. She had passed her primary school exams and lobbied her secondary school to let her start, even though she had no money for school fees, supplies, or her uniform.

Luckily, her school community committee recommended Doris for financial and…


By Fanny, Malawi

Secondary student Fanny outside her school
Secondary student Fanny outside her school
Fanny pictured outside her school in 2019. (Photo: Catherine Cardwell/CAMFED)

In Malawi, where schools have been closed for more than six months for some age groups, marginalized girls in rural communities have been hardest hit by the restrictions enacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shouldering additional domestic chores and caring duties, and with food insecurity and hunger on the increase, girls have been at even greater risk of early marriage — often seen as a last resort for families unable to provide. Fanny, a secondary student, who receives support to go to school through CAMFED’s partnership with the Mastercard Foundation’s Scholars Program, recorded her story…


Photo: CAMFED/Anna Sawaki

By Anna Sawaki, Program Manager, CAMFED Tanzania

Across rural Africa, including in my country, Tanzania, steady jobs are scarce and many people work on small subsistence farms and in agriculture in order to support their families. Women face even greater barriers as they are often excluded from training opportunities, land ownership, and access to resources to make their agricultural businesses profitable. At CAMFED we support women to learn new skills in agriculture and set up small businesses so that they can earn a stable income and seize job and further education opportunities.

Women such as Naima, Zubeda, and Halima, members…


Photo: CAMFED/Eliza Powell

By Judith Msindo, CAMFED Association member, Zimbabwe

This Day of the African Child, CAMFED Association leader Judith Msindo describes how her own struggles inform her determination to support and seek justice for victims of abuse or neglect, and underscores our collective duty to make sure that girls are safe to learn, thrive and lead.

I used to sleep in a tree near my school, when I did not have a safe place to sleep at home. I felt that my teachers were the ones who understood me best.


Nimatu, a girls’ education activist in the CAMFED Association in Ghana, working to change the status quo. Photo: CAMFED/Eliza Powell

By Joana Guo, Senior Program Officer, CAMFED Ghana

There is definitely something wrong with people who sit on the fence, those who refuse to get involved, those who will not lift a finger or raise their voices to correct a wrong or help others. They are like the load that the rest of us have to carry along. They do not make things better, they are just occupying their share of the world and making no contributions. The police officers who looked on unconcerned while their colleague meted out the outrageous atrocity to George Floyd are a perfect example of…


A student walking to school in Wedza, Zimbabwe. Photo: CAMFED/Jon Pilch

By Esnath Divasoni, CAMFED Association, Zimbabwe

Adolescent girls growing up in poverty face many more barriers to education than boys. One such barrier is menstruation. Esnath hails from rural Zimbabwe, where most families live on less than US $1.90 a day, which can also be the cost of a single pack of sanitary pads (costs currently range between the equivalent of US $1.08 and US $2.00). Esnath was supported through secondary school by CAMFED in Wedza. For Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May), she looks back on her own young adolescence to shine a spotlight on the devastating consequences for all…


By Tisyenji Ngoma, CAMFED Association District Chair, Kasama, Zambia

I know what it’s like, the fear of not being able to continue your education. My three siblings and I lost my father, the breadwinner, at a young age. I could have dropped out of school, my only choice early marriage. Now, with coronavirus causing schools to close, this may be the fate of millions more girls. But we are not standing by helplessly. We are taking action.

The support I received to go to school changed my life forever. Now I am a university graduate with my own bakery business…


By Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Adviser, CAMFED Association (CAMA)

As a child of rural Zimbabwe, whose education journey has led me from rural poverty to a very different life — collaborating across continents to grow and scale the leadership of young women like me — I’ve been reflecting on what the coronavirus is doing to community.

In the UK, where my husband and I recently moved to support the operations of our respective organisations, we see communities coming together in new ways. People who used to revel in individualism are discovering the hope and beauty that comes from helping a neighbour…


Lydia Wilbard with secondary students
Lydia Wilbard with secondary students
Lydia Wilbard, National Director of CAMFED Tanzania, with students at her former secondary school.

By LYDIA WILBARD

I like calling myself a rural woman because that is where my story begins. I lost my mother at a young age and as is the norm in most African societies, I was raised by my maternal aunt. This was the first of my transitions because I had to move to a whole new environment but with the same patriarchal tendencies, at a tender age. The only girl in a home of seven male children, the burden of care and domestic work fell on me and even at that age, I had a feminist awareness of the…

CAMFED — Campaign for Female Education

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.

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