The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture today welcomed a $19 million investment in girls’ education from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Between now and 2016 the funds will enable 24,000 girls from the poorest families in 28 rural districts to enrol in and complete secondary school, including through the provision of bursaries, and so improve their life chances. CAMFED, a non-governmental organisation, will implement the programme.
Educating young women is one of the fastest and most effective ways to address poverty anywhere in the world. Research shows that if you educate a girl she is less likely to become HIV-positive; will have fewer, healthier children; and will earn more money that she will then reinvest in her family.
Addressing guests at Chifamba High School in Guruve District, the head of DFID Zimbabwe, Dave Fish said: “This latest investment again demonstrates the commitment of the British Government and the people of Britain to improving the lives of girls and women across Zimbabwe.”
The Minister of Education, Sport, Arts & Culture, Senator David Coltart said "It is recognised universally that educating the girl child is one of the most important requirements for promoting sustainable development and economic progress. Although great strides have been made in Zimbabwe in this regard since independence much still needs to be done. The Government of Zimbabwe has limited resources and because of this our education programmes to ensure equality and excellence in education are restricted. It is in this context that the work Camfed does is so critical and we are delighted that DFID has provided the generous support it has to guarantee that the good work Camfed has done in the past will continue. We look forward to working closely with both Camfed, DFID and our other partners in the Education Transition Fund to ensure that Camfed's programmes go from strength to strength."
Since its launch in Zimbabwe in 1993, CAMFED has helped give more than 888,000 children access to a safer learning environment. Girls supported through CAMFED bursaries have gone on to become lawyers, teachers, doctors and businesswomen.
"Good education is vital to tackling poverty as it transforms lives, especially for girls who are so often denied this basic right,” said Angeline Murimirwa, Executive Director of Camfed Zimbabwe who was one of the first Camfed bursary recipients. “These bursaries will allow CAMFED to scale up significantly the work it has been doing on girls’ education so we can honour our promises to give all our children the chance to attend school.”
This latest investment complements DFID’s recent $38m contribution to the second phase of the Education Transition Fund as well as the $16m to the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). It is fully in line with the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture’s Medium Term Plan 2011-15.
Since February this year DFID has committed over $350 million in four different sectors in order to increase access to basic services for millions of the poorest people in Zimbabwe.