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In 1993 by Ann Cotton in the UK
Cambridge, UK
Camfed International Cambridge, UK
Camfed USA San Francisco, CA, USA
Camfed Ghana Ghana
Camfed Malawi Malawi
Camfed Tanzania Tanzania
Camfed Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Camfed Zambia Zambia
Eradication of poverty in Africa
Education of girls and empowerment of women

Camfed - the Campaign for Female Education - is a British-based non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating poverty in Africa through the education of girls and the empowerment of young women. Camfed programs operate in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi.


Camfed was founded by Ann Cotton, after being inspired by her travels to Zimbabwe in 1992. In 1993, Ann started Camfed (then ‘Cambridge Female Education Trust’) by fund-raising at her kitchen table and the first 32 girls were supported into school in two of the most impoverished districts of Zimbabwe.

Anticipating the need for post-school economic opportunities in the students' communities, the Camfed Association (Cama) was established in 1998 to connect young female school leavers and offer post-secondary school training opportunities in owning and managing money. Cama provides a structure through which its members can develop their activism and leadership. Today, Cama has a membership of 15,437 with structures that extend from village to district, national and pan-African levels.


Camfed International, the headquarters, a registered charity in the UK, established in 1993
Camfed Zimbabwe, established in 1993
Camfed USA, established in 2001
Camfed Zambia, established in 2002
Camfed Ghana, established in 1998
Camfed Tanzania, established in 2007
Camfed Malawi, established in 2009


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.

By the end of 2010, Camfed had provided:

  • 1,451,600 children in some of the poorest communities in rural Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with access to a safer, improved school environment
  • 47,810 girls with comprehensive support throughout the full four or five years of their secondary education - the time most girls are lost to education through poverty, but where the highest gains in terms of future health and prosperity are achieved


Cama refers to the Camfed alumni, founded in 1998. Cama members reinvest the benefits of their own education into their families and communities. They have set up their own pan-African organization, Cama (the Camfed Association), which has more than 15,437 members – among them doctors, lawyers and teachers.

The majority of Cama members are now rural businesswomen, achieving economic independence, providing goods and services and becoming role models for younger generations. Camfed has trained 4,878 Cama members as teachers for rural areas. Cama's local philanthropy and activism has provided 161,300 children with financial support from their own communities.

Each year, 150 Cama members are chosen to participate in Camfed's Leadership and Enterprise program in Zambia. Through the program, Cama members established one of the first IT centers in rural Zambia. Media workshops involving video and the internet give young women in struggling communities the opportunity to develop business and leadership skills, with the hopes that they will go on to empower others in their community.[1]

Notable supporters[edit]

Camfed is endorsed by actor Morgan Freeman, former US President Bill Clinton, journalist Allison Pearson, author Doris Lessing and actress Emma Watson.

In 2009 the University of Cambridge chose Camfed as its Charity of the Year as part of the University’s 800 year celebrations.[2]

Further reading[edit]

  • I Have a Story to Tell: Celebrating Ten Years of CAMFED International, CAMFED International, 2004 ISBN 0-9532907-1-9


External links[edit]