They say it takes a village to raise a child, but with the right education, a child can also raise her whole village. As part of our ongoing support of the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl, today we take a look at Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education. As an international non-profit organization, Camfed works to tackle poverty and inequality head-on by both supporting girls to go to school and encouraging them to step up to become leaders within their own communities. Since its founding in 1993, the organization has to date benefitted more than 3.5 million girls through their programs in the poorest rural communities in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi, and that number keeps growing.
We recently sat down with three of the amazing and inspiring women who are part of this initiative. Each of the women—Angeline Murimirwa, Fiona Mavhinga, and Abigail Kaindu—has seen firsthand the difference that education can make to both a single girl and to her community, as all three were personally supported by Camfed in pursuing their own secondary education and all now work to continue this mission.
As some of the first girls to receive help in following their dreams, Murimirwa and Mavhinga were also instrumental in establishing CAMA, the Camfed Alumni Association. Helping young women bridge the gap between their schooling and real-world jobs, CAMA members receive training in health, financial literacy, business development and entrepreneurship. They also support each other and the girls of their communities, with each member financially supporting an average of three other girls in their pursuit of education.
Their work has shown that when you educate a girl in rural Africa, you aren’t helping just one individual or family, but an entire village. This idea is at the core of Camfed’s work and is central to their fight against poverty. For example, is a girl has the ability to start a business or develop acreage for farming, she begins helping to create jobs and to bring income and food to her whole village. With this aim in mind, CAMA helps to provide opportunities and mentoring programs so the girls can put their education to work in their communities.
While the task may seem daunting, Camfed’s years of experience and a stellar infrastructure in place in Africa are helping to make change a reality —Camfed can. Watch the video above to learn more about the vital work Camfed is doing. Feeling inspired to get involved? Spread the word by taking part in our #GirlPossible social campaign, as well as #CAMFEDcan, to see all the things Camfed can do.