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24 January, 2018 - 18:32 By Tony Quested

Camfed raises £2m to help more girls out of poverty trap

Cambridge-based Camfed has smashed all its targets in a UK funding campaign to help more girls in Africa escape child marriage and poverty and build new lives through education.

Camfed praised “an incredible” response from individuals whose donations in its UK Aid Match fundraising appeal more than doubled its target, breaking the £1 million mark. The Government will now double that again to bring the haul to £2m.

Camfed CEO Lucy Lake said: “We are extremely thankful for the incredible response and the trust our donors and fundraising partners have placed in Camfed’s community-led girls’ education programmes.

“Donations are set to be matched by the UK government to fund our work to support vulnerable girls to stay in school and escape early marriage.”

Camfed praised the passion and support of local and national communications partners, schools and community groups, who spread the word about the appeal, published articles and newsletters, co-hosted film screenings and held fundraising events.

Partners included Business Weekly, the Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge Park & Ride, TES, Mumsnet, La Playa and Premier Travel. The Financial Times highlighted Camfed’s impact and BBC Cambridgeshire and Cambridge 105 Radio shone a spotlight on the issue of child marriage. 

Students across the UK, including at schools like Fulham Cross Girls’ School in London and St Catharine’s College in Cambridge, supported the UnlockFutures appeal with innovative events. 

People drummed, swam, ran, baked and sang for Camfed. Donations will enable Camfed to train young women school graduates in its CAMA alumnae network, who will join with local government and community authorities to uphold girls’ rights and ensure they have the necessary support to attend school and succeed. 

Acting as ‘GirlGuardians’ to girls at risk of child marriage, these young women, also known as ‘Learner Guides,’ will deliver sexual and reproductive health, life skills, career guidance and financial literacy sessions to vulnerable girls and boys. 

The funding will also provide school-going costs for some marginalised girls not already on the Camfed programme.

Dorothy Kasanda, national director of Camfed Zambia said: “We are extremely grateful for this outpouring of support and look forward to launching the project later this year, and reporting back on its reach and impact. Our alumnae are the true experts in ending child marriage. Many were once at risk of becoming child brides, but completed their education with Camfed’s support.

“Deeply rooted and respected in their communities, they are ideally placed to deliver the guidance vulnerable girls need to succeed, and to advocate for girls’ education and against child marriage with families and traditional leaders in their communities.” 

• PHOTOGRAPH ABOVE: Cambridge’s community samba band, Arco Iris, drummed up support for Camfed’s UK Aid Match appeal, raising more than £700 throughout Cambridge city centre within a few hours. Photo:  Gloria Diamond/Camfed 

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