Updated Jan 15, 2021

CAMFED's Virtuous Spiral for Girls' Secondary School Education

https://camfed.org/

Sandra Spence

We have developed and scaled a model of support for girls’ education that responds to each girl’s individual and changing needs, and builds a structure of support around her in order that she can access a quality education and succeed. This includes a holistic material, and wraparound support package to meet girls’ material, financial, and psychosocial needs in order to overcome the poverty-rel...
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We have developed and scaled a model of support for girls’ education that responds to each girl’s individual and changing needs, and builds a structure of support around her in order that she can access a quality education and succeed. This includes a holistic material, and wraparound support package to meet girls’ material, financial, and psychosocial needs in order to overcome the poverty-related and other barriers to education. At the secondary school level, this package includes payment of school fees, provision of uniforms, shoes, stationery and sanitary supplies. It can also include provision of a bicycle or safe boarding accommodation to reduce barriers created by distance between home and school. Recognizing that girls face a range of psychosocial challenges that frequently lead to school drop-out, including chronic hunger, the death of one or both parents, and the pressure to seek perceived financial security through early marriage or exploitative work, the holistic package also includes guidance and counselling support in every partner school by trained, female teachers (Teacher Mentors), and trained young women (Learner Guides) who are recent graduates of local secondary schools. Female teachers and graduates are highly relatable role models to build aspirations and hope. To improve educational outcomes for all students, and prepare them for post-school life, Learner Guides deliver a life skills and wellbeing curriculum. Beyond the classroom, they create an important home-school link, following up with children who drop out of school and working with communities to keep vulnerable girls safe from child marriage. CAMFED’s innovative model works at scale by unlocking significant local resources to complement and extend donor funding available to support children in school. Since 2015, in addition to tracking girls supported through international donor funding, CAMFED has been tracking the number of girls in secondary schools directly benefiting from reciprocal support catalyzed by CAMFED’s program, specifically support provided by two key stakeholder partner groups: (1) members of the CAMFED Alumnae Association (CAMA) – young women who have been supported through school by CAMFED and who voluntarily join CAMA. CAMA members commit time and their own income to support other children in their communities to go to school. They also engage with their communities and with local authorities to ensure the most vulnerable children have much-needed wrap-around support. (2) community members, including members of Parent Support Groups and School Based Committees to whom CAMFED provides training and/or grants for initiatives through which, they pay for girls’ school-going needs, provide school meals, or construct boarding and hygiene facilities for girls.
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Implemented In:

Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and GhanaSEE LESS

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Countries Implemented In

Problem

Education is not freely available to everyone – and in many parts of the world girls are the first to be excluded from it. Girls are the first to drop out of school, and the first to be failed by the system, facing the perils of early marriage, early pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, 33.3 million girls of primary and lower secondary school age are out of school (UNESCO, 2016). This number rises to 52.2 million when taking into account girls of upper secondary school age. Despite government commitments to increase access to secondary education, many children – particularly in rural areas – continue to be excluded.

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Solution

CAMFED supports girls who have been excluded by poverty, providing them with financial and material support and dismantling the barriers to their education by partnering with their community, teachers, government officials and traditional authorities. The support is not a one-off injection of money, but a package that allows girls to get into school, do well academically, and maximize the value of their education after graduation. At the same time, CAMFED builds the capacity of the community and government systems around those girls, creating a growing and sustainable infrastructure of support for their education.

Target Beneficiaries

CAMFED’s innovation targets girls and young women, from approximately ages 10 and up, who are from disadvantaged households, and living in the most impoverished, often rural, communities of sub-Saharan Africa.

Milestone

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New Country Implemented In
Ghana
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Malawi
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New Country Implemented In
Zimbabwe
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New Country Implemented In
Zambia
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New Country Implemented In
Tanzania