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University of Cambridge study: Girls’ education must be global priority

University of Cambridge study: Girls’ education must be global priority

A study released by the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge outlines what works in marginalized girls’ education and the priorities for further action towards reducing inequalities. The report — 12 Years of Quality Education for All Girls: A Commonwealth Perspective — used CAMFED's data and was commissioned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to inform discussions at the Education World Forum, the largest gathering of education ministers in the world.  

One of three recommendations for what works in marginalized girls’ education is ‘tackling discrimination’, along with ‘leadership and financing’ and ‘targeted approaches’. The evidence used to demonstrate the efficacy of ‘tackling discrimination’, is taken from CAMFED’s program in Tanzania, where the most marginalized girls from rural communities receive packages of holistic support. This program resulted in two additional years of schooling for every $100 spent.

“Our analysis shows that, in the case of the CAMFED program in Tanzania, properly directed financial support, given to those most in need, has measurable, positive results. In my opinion, this evidence-based research can only help the charitable cause and therefore enable more marginalized girls to stay in school.” - Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the REAL Centre

The report also emphasizes that there is much more to be done, and sets out three main priorities for further action: ‘visible political leadership’, ‘investing in early years’ education’ and ‘making girls’ education a national development priority’. Currently, the poorest girls in many Commonwealth countries spend no more than five years in school, and though gender parity in enrolment has improved, gender equality remains “a distant reality.”

Led by our unique alumnae association, CAMA, CAMFED’s programs across five countries in sub-Saharan Africa are working from community grassroots to national levels to reduce inequalities. Volunteering their time as Learner Guides, thousands of CAMA members mentor girls, helping to drive up academic achievements and equip them with life skills. They provide a safety net during puberty, by passing on information about sexual and reproductive health and offering a female presence in an often male-dominated environment.

CAMA members are becoming political leaders, philanthropists and teachers at secondary, primary and pre-primary levels, ensuring their once marginalized communities are not forgotten in the campaign for quality, inclusive education.