28 million girls are out of school in sub-Saharan Africa. There are a variety of factors that contribute to this including early pregnancy, early marriage, HIV/AIDS, lack of sanitary protection, financial constraints, gender-based norms and safety/transportation concerns. These barriers are all surmountable, and keeping girls in school is well worth the support it requires.
When a girl attends school, she will earn 25% more income and invest 90% of what she earns in her family. She will be 3 times less likely to become HIV positive. Her children will be 40% more likely to live past the age of 5. She’ll resist gender-based violence and make positive changes in her community. In fact there are volumes written about the positive effects for societies and the world at large when girls are given full educational opportunities. We are convinced of the catalytic potential of an educated girl. But with or without a correlated increase in GDP (there is one, by the way), we believe in the intrinsic value of promoting gender equality in education. We believe in the rights of individual girls.
That’s why we feature the work of Camfed (Campaign for Female Education). Camfed has developed a unique model that places girls in the center of a support system that helps them overcome barriers to education. Camfed not only pays school fees, they also provide books, sanitary protection, mentoring support and resources for girls to become economically independent when they graduate. They focus on the girl as a client and mobilize her family and community to protect and support her as she attends school.
When you support Camfed you help find girls in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe that have been excluded from school. You provide them with a path that leads from school entry to graduation to leadership opportunities to systemic change. Women who were supported by Camfed as girls become active community leaders and mentors for other girls. Together they break down barriers to education in their communities. It’s a powerful model for change.
Learn more about Camfed and turn your talents into a fundraiser to support girls’ education today.
Photos courtesy of Camfed