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10 February, 2016 - 09:23 By Kate Sweeney

Julia Gillard boosts Camfed’s female education fight

Julia Gillard, chair of the Global Partnership for Education, becomes patron and adviser to Cambridge-based charity Camfed

Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia and chair of the Global Partnership for Education, has become a patron and adviser to Cambridge-based girls’ education charity Camfed –  the Campaign for Female Education.

She joined Camfed’s executive teams and inspirational alumnae leaders at a Camfed symposium in Johannesburg today which explored the organisation’s experience and remarkable successes in delivering girls’ education and pathways to employment and leadership for young women in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gillard (pictured above) says: “Camfed has been educating girls in sub-Saharan Africa for over 23 years and I’m a huge fan of their model.

“Together with their vision for urgency and action in girls’ education, Camfed possesses the infrastructure, processes and partnerships to deliver real and lasting results for girls, their communities and nations.

“Camfed builds on local community capital, and its unique alumnae network multiplies the investment in girls, as those who have benefited invest in the education of other girls. It’s a wonderful model for growth and sustainability.”

Gillard’s action-orientated advocacy galvanises governments and resources behind the global imperative of providing access to quality education for the most marginalised children in the world, the majority of which are girls.

Now Gillard has teamed up with Camfed as the organisation’s leadership discusses its strategy for supporting one million girls through secondary school and into independence by 2020.

She said: “If we do not address education and quality we will let down not only the 121 million children currently out of school but also the 250 million children who leave without basic literacy or numeracy skills.

“As a patron of Camfed, I will support the organisation’s continued rigour in improving not only access to education for millions, but working with communities and governments to improve learning environments and push up learning outcomes through innovative programs led by Camfed’s inspirational alumnae – the young women who know best, and who are taking urgent action for today’s generation.”

Gillard gave a keynote address at Camfed’s Girls’ Education and Young Women’s Leadership Symposium in Johannesburg, where Camfed’s leadership gathered for a week of strategic meetings.

Angeline Murimirwa, Camfed’s regional executive director and one of the first girls supported by the organisation, said: “Locally tailored solutions, respectful of context and building on local resources, are key to our success. “Together with our partner communities and CAMA – our alumnae network of over 33,000 young women across Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe – we’ve proved that our approach can be scaled.”

Alongside Angeline Murimirwa, 25 more young women leaders from Camfed’s pan-African alumnae network, CAMA, were present at the event, representing Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.  CAMA’s membership is set to grow to more than 130,000 within the next few years as a direct outcome of Camfed’s support for girls through secondary education.

These young women – once too poor to access education – are now transforming opportunities for young people in their communities and leading the way in ensuring the younger generation of girls go to school.

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