Skoll Foundation


Campaign for Female Education

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Ann Cotton
Award Year: 2005
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Education and Economic Opportunity

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Ann Cotton is a professional educator, inspired by a trip to Zimbabwe, to do something about the many girls kept out of school. Her research led her to conclude that gender inequality in education was not, as donor agencies assumed, driven by cultural factors, but rather by families’ poverty. She started Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) in 1993 by raising money through bake sales to pay 32 girls’ fees.


  • Camfed works with 5,085 schools in the poorest areas of Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This has benefited 3 million children.
  • In Nov. 2014, Ann Cotton won the 2014 WISE Prize for Education.
  • In Zambia, CAMFED’s child protection policy has been adopted by the Ministry of Education as a national strategy.
  • CAMFED’s power-sharing governance model is creating systemic change – partnering with 5 Ministries of Education to ensure complementarity with national goals, and with a 25 percent increase in volunteer community activists since 2010. 289,000 are supported by Camfed volunteers.
  • In Oct. 2014, Camfed was recognized as a model of best practice in taking innovation to scale by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
  •  In 2013 alone, Camfed’s program benefitted 1.7 million children across 116 districts.
  • A former Camfed bursary student in 2012 was appointed to a top-level panel which will directly advise the UN Secretary General on global education policy. She is one of just ten young people selected from around the world for the UN’s Youth Advocacy Group.
  • The 24,436 members of CAMFED’s rapidly growing pan-African network of young women, CAMFED Association (Cama), demonstrates the transformative effect that educated women have on their communities. The network is expected to increase to 40,000 by 2015.
  • Primary school–supported 596,089 children to attend; secondary school- Provided bursary scholarships for 99,477 girls.
  • Camfed financed 8,362 of girls’ enterprises.
  • They have a 91% average retention rate (secondary school / 2010-2011) and 87% average school attendance (girls supported with bursaries)
  • 1,887 additional schools implemented child protection strategies in partnership with Camfed
  • 94% of pupils in the final grade of secondary school completed their secondary education; there was a 22% increase in girls progressing into the highest levels of secondary education (from 2010)



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