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Ms Angeline Murimirwa

Executive Director – Africa, CAMFED

Prize

Yidan Prize for Education Development

Year

2020

Expertise

Women and girls education

Focus by region

Africa

Revolutionizing how girls’ education is delivered in Africa

Ms Angeline Murimirwa, one of the first young women supported by CAMFED to go to secondary school in Zimbabwe, understands from first-hand experience the hurdles girls face in accessing education. She is a founding member and the first elected Chair of the CAMFED Association— the pan-African network of 157,000 women leaders educated with CAMFED support, and united in their determination to secure every girl’s right to quality education.

Ms Murimirwa is now CAMFED Executive Director–Africa, uniquely positioned to bring the expertise of young women once excluded from education to inform policy and strategy at every level.

Ms Murimirwa represents CAMFED on the Zimbabwe Education Coordination Group. She has served on the Board of the Zimbabwe National Youth Council and on the UNAIDS Gender Task Force.

In 2006, she was awarded the Prize for Women’s Creativity by the Women’s World Summit Foundation and in 2017, she was presented with the Diamond Ball Honours Award by Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation. Ms Murimirwa has been recognised as one of 100 most influential women by the BBC, in tribute to her role in supporting young women to step forward as leaders to drive support for girls’ education.

“The CAMFED model shows that partnering with communities to unlock the leadership potential of girls and women at the margins of society creates an inspiring multiplier effect. In their own words: ‘When you educate a girl everything changes.’”
Citation

By Ms Dorothy K. Gordon

Panel Head, Judging Panel for Education Development, Yidan Prize

It is my pleasure to introduce Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa, the 2020 Yidan Prize for Education Development laureates. These two exceptional women represent CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education. A team recognised for their best practice in taking educational innovation to scale. The CAMFED model shows that partnering with communities to unlock the leadership potential of girls and women at the margins of society creates an inspiring multiplier effect. In their own words “When you educate a girl everything changes”.

Access to education for girls remains a critical problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. Until this year, enrolment rates continued to show improvement but an alarming number of girls drop out of school. Before the pandemic struck, UNESCO estimated that in Sub-Saharan Africa over 30 million girls of primary and lower secondary age were out of school. This number rises to over 50 million when taking into account girls of upper secondary school age. School completion rates for girls in rural areas in Africa are particularly low. CAMFED’s research shows that poverty has a greater impact than the socio-cultural factors that are often used to explain these low retention rates. They estimate that less than 10% of girls have the resources that will allow them to complete secondary education. The pandemic has amplified many equity gaps and even more children are now out of school, further exposing adolescent girls to the risks of early marriage, pregnancy and abuse.

These problems have no easy solutions. It has taken over two decades for the CAMFED team to develop a cost-effective model that successfully provides inclusive and equitable quality education that can be taken continent-wide.

At the heart of this model is a community. A community that enhances the CAMFED scholarships. It includes parent support groups, peer mentors, and teachers working together to create a supportive environment that allows girls to achieve academic goals while building their self-esteem and leadership skills. Each girl in turn will support other girls. So far 6 million girls have benefitted from CAMFED support.

I am proud to mention that one of our winners Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED’s Executive Director for Africa was one of CAMFED’s first clients. Today, she leads the CAMFED Association, a network of over 150,000 young women leaders еmpowered by their shared experience of overcoming poverty through education. Each member supports a number of girls from her community to go to school.

This combination of scholarships and socio-emotional support achieves exceptional improvements in school retention and learning among marginalised girls in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi, the five countries where CAMFED works.

On behalf of the judging committee, I extend our sincere congratulations to both Ms Lake and Ms Murimirwa and indeed the entire CAMFED team for their achievement. We wish them success as the Yidan Prize supports them in realizing their dream of scaling their model to an additional 5 million adolescent girls over the next five years.

CAMFED is founded on the belief that every child is entitled to a quality education in a safe environment and a life as an independent adult. They remind us that education is a universal right and that girls’ education transforms lives. No child should be left behind.