Campaign for Female Education (Camfed)

In Africa, where girls have least access to education and are most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, Camfed's mission is to increase girls' access to education and economic opportunity and to accelerate the benefits to individuals, their families and communities. Camfed's vision is of a world in which every child is educated, protected, respected and valued, and grows up to turn the tide of poverty.
Jul 30, 2012

Supporting Education, Protecting Children's Rights

We are pleased to provide the supporters of Camfed with updates from our Mothers Support Groups in Zimbabwe working to keep their communities’ children in school. These MSGs are groups are made up of local mothers and grandmothers, most of whom have never been to school themselves, who have come together to organize support for children who have lost one or both parents and children from the neediest families in their communities.

Consider the Pepukai Mother Support Group, in the Chiredzi District of Zimbabwe. Most of the two dozen mothers and grandmothers in this group never attended school themselves, but they are committed to ensuring that children in their community, especially the girls, do. The mothers use profits from baking bread, weaving mats, raising goats and chicks, and growing vegetables – to pay for school fees, uniforms, food and school supplies to send 11 children, including 7 teenage girls, to school.

The Pepukai group is one of more than 2,500 parent support groups that have been brought together and seeded by Camfed with small sums of usually around $100, as well as extensive training and encouragement. With a keen desire to connect and learn from each other, they organize their own exchange meetings across districts, often traveling hundreds of miles to spread the word and help one another organize efforts in their communities. In 2011, more than 48,000 children received educational support through local philanthropic initiatives like this. Some communities have even been inspired to create Father Support Groups, a chance for the men of the community to join the mothers in supporting education in such efforts as building girls’ hostels.

 “People in rural communities have a lot of potential,” says Cama member Fiona Mavhinga, “But poverty is standing in their way.” Mothers Support Groups have fostered this potential in so many areas affected by severe economic decline in Zimbabwe, and restored confidence in education as a path out of poverty. This vital support provided by Mother Support Groups is relieving the pressure on poor families, helping improve children’s attendance and retention in school. The groups also speak out in support of children, talking to other parents about the importance of their child going to school, and the disadvantages of early marriage and against child abuse.

The momentum of Mothers Support Groups has continued to grow, empowering women, men and even children in their communities to coordinate their efforts to keep all children safe and educated. With sincere gratitude for the support we have received from our Global Giving community, we have reached our fundraising goal and will be closing this project. Thank you!

Jul 26, 2012

Transformation Through Technology

The Samfya Resource Centre in northern Zambia is a remarkable business. Established and run by a group of former Camfed bursary recipients who had never previously used computers, the centre is now a thriving enterprise, providing crucial services to the whole community for this rural fishing area.

Goldman Sachs-Fortune Global Women Leaders Award winner Penelope Machipi manages the centre — and is looking for your support to take her business to the next level.

"As Samfya Resource Centre trainers, we are trying to raise funds to buy solar panels. This is so because we are experiencing a lot of power outages — in a week, we normally have power for just two days. This disadvantages the community who depend on the centre to photocopy and browse the net. Even when we have power in those two days, the voltage is very low therefore the computers cannot work as expected.

"Apart from the power outage challenge, the centre is working very well now. Our customers are mainly teachers, businessmen and women, school pupils, Cama members and people from the community.

"The teachers and pupils use the Internet for their research and assignments. The businessmen and women use the Internet for trading, while the community and Cama members use it to download application forms for various colleges and universities. The Cama members also use it to communicate with their fellow Cama members.

"The centre has made it easy for community members to access ICT services within Samfya district. They don't need to travel to another town to access Internet. This means that they can save their money, which they would have spent on transport or other things."

Solar power will make the Samfya Resource Centre reliable and effective. With your generous support, we are already half of the way towards the cost of buying and installing solar panels for the centre so it can continue to provide training and career opportunities. 

As we are now seeking new means of supporting this center, we will be closing this project. Thank you to the Global Giving community for all of your generous support for this initiative! 

Mar 30, 2012

Mothers feeding students, nourishing the future

Mothers feeding students, nourishing the future.

Thanks to you, supporters at Global Giving, the efforts of Mothers Support Groups in Zimbabwe are ever expanding to help keep more children in school and prepared to learn. There are over 150 Mother Support Groups in Zimbabwe, made up of 10-30 women from rural communities. They band together to help children in their communities gain greater access to an education, and to remove the obstacles that keep them from achieving their dreams.

For many of these mothers and grandmothers, going to school is an experience that they themselves did not have, and they have come together to ensure that children not only can pay their fees for school, but also have everything they need to succeed, including supplies, books, uniforms, and meals. We’re excited to share the accomplishments of the Thuthuka Mother’s Support group as they find new ways to reach this goal.

Thuthuka Mother Support group,  Zwehamba

Marita, a member of the Thuthuka Mother’s Support Group in Zwehamba, Zimbabwe exemplifies the drive that the women of the Mothers Support Group have for caring for children in their community. Having raised five children of her own, she recognizes the some orphans in this district are lacking a supportive community of adults. Together with her fellow mothers and grandmothers, Marita gives kindly advice and guidance as well as and resources they need to complete school.

 Since forming, the Thuthuka Mother Support Group has raised money from poultry and gardening projects to buy pens and exercise books for orphaned students at Zwehamba Primary School. The women then decided to use their motivation and success to take on a new challenge: providing meals to children in schools.

This school feeding project provides meals for children at the primary school 3 days a week to help improve the comfort, attendance, and concentration of children, particularly those who walk a long way to school on empty bellies. With this meal cooked and distributed by the mothers, the students are able to stay alert in class and ready to learn.

A new approach to feeding hungry students

The mothers running this program are pioneering a new approach to school feeding. In many of these meal programs, the mothers tend to only work in the background to help cook. But Camfed Mother Support Groups take leadership roles in all aspects of the school meal projects – from planning and cooking to monitoring and evaluating to ensure that they are successful. With years of experience helping out at the school already, Marita says the Thuthuka Mother Support Group is highly motivated and proactive.

“Before the head teacher and the committee would even call for a meeting, we would have already sent our mealie meal[1] as women to the school. We won’t wait for the meeting, they will find us already done,” she says.

But it’s not just the children that have benefitted from this new approach. Marita has said that her involvement with Camfed – working together with head teachers, education officials and school management – has given her the kind of confidence and voice that a lot of rural women lack. “I have become self-driven, “ she said. “ I am now able to talk and voice out my opinions even though I am a woman.”

A continued commitment to education:

Through the generosity of the Global Giving community, Mothers Support Groups are helping to nourish growing minds and reinforce the importance of the involvement of women in improving their communities. The Mothers Support Group members of Zimbabwe have told us that supporting children in education and volunteerism to them is a life-long commitment, and we invite you as supporters to join them on their journey to expand their services to additional children across the region.

[1] Mealie meal refers to the ground maize used to make the children’s meals.