Educational Institutions

Camfed USA Foundation

  • San Francisco, CA

Mission Statement

As the most effective strategy to tackle poverty and inequality, Camfed multiplies educational opportunities for girls and empowers young women to become leaders of change.

Our focus is on girls and young women in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. This is where girls face acute disadvantage and where their empowerment will have a transformative impact.

Main Programs

  1. Multiplying Girls' Education Opportunities
  2. Enabling Educated Women to Lead Change
Service Areas



Camfed works in rural Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

ruling year


Co-Director since 2006


Mrs. Brooke Hutchinson

Co-Director since 2013


Ms. Sandra Spence



Girls’ Education, Social Entrepreneurship, Young Women’s Empowerment, Africa, Tanzania; Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana; Malawi, Rural Regeneration

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Also Known As

Camfed USA Foundation






Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Professional Societies & Associations (B03)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

Since 1993, Camfed has improved the learning environment for over 3 million children, provided direct support to over 1.2 million children to attend school, trained 9,616 teacher mentors and helped 2,141 young women go to college. 

We have trained 33,111 Camfed alumnae to advocate for and lead change in their communities in rural Africa through our pan-African empowerment network, CAMA. Further, 5,101 community health activists have been trained through CAMA and our microfinance program has helped 12,832 young women start small businesses.

As evidence of our broader impact, school retention and progression rates for girls supported by Camfed at secondary school are consistently above 90%. For example, in Ghana, 92.5% of Camfed students compete secondary education, compared to 62% for girls nationally. Camfed also helps to delay the age of motherhood, as evidenced in Malawi where 5% of young women who received Camfed bursaries have become mothers, compared to 26.8% nationally in the same age group.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Multiplying Girls' Education Opportunities

The Multiplying Girls’ Education Opportunities
Program provides educational support for girls and vulnerable boys in rural
communities in Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia,
Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Comprised of our Safety Net Fund, supporting impoverished elementary school
children and the High School Scholarship program, this program has benefited over 783,509 children. The program meets children’s direct material
needs (uniforms, shoes, books, school fees) and emotional and psychosocial
needs supported by community members and specially trained female teacher
mentors in every Camfed partner school. To date we have provided training for
5,570 teacher mentors who are readily accessible advisors and advocates for not
only for Camfed-supported students but all students and are key champions of
children’s rights within schools


Youth Development

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)



Program 2

Enabling Educated Women to Lead Change

Camfed program provides post-secondary opportunities for young women who have
completed high school in rural Ghana,
Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia
and Zimbabwe.
The program enables young women to improve their skills, provide for themselves
and become community leaders. Camfed post-secondary programs are implemented
for and by members of Cama, (the Camfed Association) – a rapidly growing pan-African peer
support network composed of alumnae of Camfed’s secondary school scholarship
program. Elements of the program include: training in financial literacy, small
business start-up training and grants, health activism, leadership training and
support for tertiary education.



Population(s) Served

Female Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use



Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Camfed works to break the cycle of poverty in Africa by assisting girls in impoverished rural communities in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi to receive high quality, relevant education and then to become economically self-reliant young women who are also active citizens and leaders of change. Camfed believes every child has the right to an education and recognizes that poverty is the greatest barrier to accessing an education in the communities where we work. In sub-Saharan Africa, 24 million girls cannot afford to go to school. Many of the girls supported by Camfed are orphans cared for by grandmothers or running child-headed households. Camfed recognizes and nurtures the potential of girls and young women. If you educate a girl she will earn up to 25% more and reinvest 90% in her family, be three times less likely to become HIV-positive and have fewer, healthier children, who will be 40% more likely to live past the age of five.

    Camfed has four strategic objectives: (i) to multiply opportunities for quality education for girls and vulnerable boys; (ii) to build sustainability and community ownership; (iii) to enable educated young women to lead change; and (iv) to advocate for children’s rights to education and protection.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Camfed’s Model supports children across the entire educational cycle and into adulthood. We start with programs at the primary school level. At this level, families are not charged for core school fees in the government (public) schools with which Camfed partners. The barriers that prevent girls and boys from completing the first stage of their education include a lack of shoes, uniforms and books, or sufficient food to be able to concentrate on learning. To address these needs we provide Safety Net Fund grants to schools. School committees collectively decide how to use our Safety Net Funds to support the maximum number of students. Furthermore, Camfed-sponsored Parent Support Groups undertake school feeding and other programs to meet additional needs of children.

    At the secondary school level, especially in communities where the ratio of girl to boy students drops dramatically, Camfed makes a long-term commitment to support girls to attend secondary school for the full duration of their studies. Our scholarships cover school fees and other essentials such as uniforms, shoes, books, pencils and sanitary protection. In addition, the scholarships pay for examination fees and lodging fees for students who live too far away to travel daily to school. To provide emotional, social and academic support for the students, Camfed trains Teacher Mentors at every partner school and helps start Parent Support Groups at many partner schools.

    To improve the quality and relevance of their education at rural schools, Camfed uses diverse strategies including:
    • providing study guide books for students.
    • holding academic enrichment camps, especially for science and math.
    • training and supporting young women as Learner Guides and Peer Educators to lead extracurricular classes that prepare students for their post-school life.

    Camfed works with schools to develop their own child protection strategies. At the national and regional level, Camfed advocates through its partnership with government and networks of civil society organizations to implement Camfed’s proven child protection guidelines.
    When young women leave secondary school, they are invited to join Camfed’s alumnae organization, CAMA, dedicated to giving back to communities. Through their local and district-based committees CAMA members organize and lead philanthropic activities. Camfed provides training in financial literacy and entrepreneurship to enable CAMA members to earn incomes. In this way, educated young women become self-sufficient leaders who are able to educate their own children and enrich their communities through their role-modeling, service, and leadership.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Organizationally, Camfed operates as an international consortium working with a shared mission, vision, and articles of association. Within this consortium, Camfed International is headquartered in Cambridge, UK. Camfed offices are also located in the USA and in each African operational country, which includes Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Over 80% of our staff works in Africa. Each office in Africa is staffed 100% by local nationals as Camfed does not employ expatriates. Staff members include technical experts in the fields of Education, Young Women’s Empowerment, IT, Monitoring and Evaluation, Development, and Finance.

    Each Camfed office is locally registered and has its own Board. Camfed’s International Executive Team includes the executives in each of the seven countries who meet weekly through conferencing to make strategic decisions as a peer group, united by a shared commitment to Camfed’s mission and vision. Universal Operations and Human Resource Manuals define key policies and procedures across all offices and include financial management, child protection, anti-bribery/anti-corruption, partner collaboration, staff training, quality assurance, and equal opportunities.

    Partnerships are critical to the implementation of Camfed’s programs and the scaling and replication of Camfed’s Model. We do not set up parallel systems, or bring in workers from outside. Camfed works closely with community partners and wherever possible within existing government schools. Camfed's work is also driven on the ground by local committees that are comprised of teachers, parents, school authorities, government officials and others, all of whom volunteer their time and expertise to ensure vulnerable girls complete school.

    Camfed recognizes that young people and their communities are the experts on their problems and should guide the development of solutions. To date, over 136,773 community activists volunteer their time to deliver, monitor, and support Camfed programs in their communities in Africa.

    Many staff in Camfed offices within Africa are themselves former beneficiaries of Camfed programs. They bring to their work first-hand experiences of overcoming the barriers that poverty creates to excel in education and their professional lives. Their understanding and empathy complement their technical expertise and advocacy as leaders of the organization and demonstrate the power of the Camfed Model in action.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Camfed has 74 core output and outcome indicators, each contributing to one of Camfed’s four strategic objectives. Camfed works in some of the most remote regions in rural Africa. In this context, Camfed has developed a rigorous monitoring system which is an integral part of our program, essential for fulfilling Camfed’s commitment of accountability to every young person and community we support and for ensuring compliance to our funders. The system provides real-time information on the progression, performance and family situation of every single student receiving support through Camfed programs. In addition, it records the girl’s need for support, payment of her school fees and allocation of her other scholarship entitlements. Verification visits by community partners and Camfed ensure she is in school and has received the items which the scholarship provides, to the level of detail of each pair of shoes and items of stationery she receives. Camfed has trained over 1,433 community-based Monitoring Officers based in rural communities to collect data using mobile phones. The data is transmitted directly into Camfed’s program database and accessible to all Camfed offices. The delivery of real-time, quality data straight into the database enables greater programmatic responsiveness, improving accountability to the girls and young women Camfed serves.

    Half-yearly Evidence of Investment reports, generated from the database, ensure accountability as the reach and cumulative growth of programs can be directly linked to investments from donors and community members. Longer term impact is measured through a regular cycle of program-wide studies as well as external and internal evaluations.

    Camfed also conducts research studies to assess the deep impact of its programs upon education access, enhancement of learning outcomes, and the empowerment of young women.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Since 1993, Camfed’s programs have directly supported 1.2 million poor children to attend school, and have benefited over 3 million children with improved learning environments at over 5,000 partner schools. The Cama network has welcomed over 24,000 young women into its organization. Among them, more than 18,000 have been trained in business skills and 9,700 have been supported to set up their own businesses. Cama members have reached over 465,000 students and community members with their financial literacy and health information, demonstrating the increasing force for change this network represents in rural communities.

    Working among the most marginalized regions of sub-Saharan Africa where access to quality education for children remains a challenge, Camfed continues to work ever more effectively with communities to work together to reach more children. Camfed is also working to support the exponentially growing number of Cama members in their transition from school girls to empowered young women leading change in their communities.
Service Areas



Camfed works in rural Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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Funding Needs

Our tertiary education program is one area in immediate need of support. National governments in Camfed program countries provide university scholarships or loans to qualifying students. We leverage the government assistance made available to young rural women to provide support for tuition fees, transportation costs, and room and board. In addition, we’re seeking funding to expand the depth and breadth of economic empowerment and leadership development programs for Cama members.


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Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Camfed USA Foundation



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Mrs. Brooke Hutchinson


Ms. Sandra Spence


Brooke Hutchinson has a deep knowledge and
commitment to Camfed’s work educating and empowering girls and young women to
become leaders of change. Brooke joined Camfed international in 2004, and in
2006 became Executive Director of the Camfed USA Foundation.
In her tenure at Camfed, Brooke has represented
the organization at national and international forums, including the Skoll
World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship; the Global Youth Microenterprise
Conference; Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit; and the Clinton Global
Initiative. Brooke frequently visits Camfed’s partners and the girls and young
women Camfed supports in Africa, as well as having lived and studied in Africa
prior to joining Camfed.



Dhiren Shah

Greenhill & Co


GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization



Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?