Pearson extends partnership with Camfed to improve girls’ education in Africa


New Pearson BTEC recognises key vocational skills of young women once marginalised

London, UK, 20 February 2017 – Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is scaling up its partnership with NGO Camfed to help improve learning access and outcomes for girls from low-income communities in countries in rural Africa, including Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

The Camfed ‘Learner Guide’ programme, developed in partnership with Pearson, is being extended in Tanzania to support an extra 6,400 children in 80 schools. Through the programme, trained young women graduates return to their local schools to deliver vital life skills lessons to marginalised children. To complement this, Pearson is now awarding BTEC qualifications for Camfed’s Learner Guide alumnae. Pearson is also launching an employee fundraising campaign, which it will match, to help send girls to secondary school.

Speaking ahead of a special launch event at Pearson’s London headquarters, Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer at Pearson said: “In large parts of Africa, upwards of 40% of children are living in poverty and not receiving an education or gaining the crucial skills needed to get a job. Together with Camfed we’re determined to play a role in helping improve the life prospects and career opportunities for young people in Africa – with a particular focus on empowering young girls.”

Camfed CEO, Lucy Lake said: “Our partnership with Pearson has opened up opportunities among some of the most marginalised young people around the world. The BTEC qualification for Learner Guides is opening up new pathways to enhance young women’s employability and access to further education, and provides an important example of what’s possible in the drive to achieve the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

4,332 young women have already been trained as Camfed Learner Guides in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Ghana. They volunteer in 1,009 government schools, reaching 250,000 students. Learner Guides, who are important female role models and mentors to vulnerable children, deliver the uniquely tailored “My Better World” life skills curriculum, developed by Camfed in partnership with Pearson and young people in rural Africa. It complements the academic curriculum, ensuring that young people build the self-knowledge, confidence, and problem-solving skills they need for a life of independence and entrepreneurship in a context of soaring youth unemployment.

The first 567 Learner Guides have just earned a tailored Pearson BTEC Level 3 Advanced Diploma for their work in Zimbabwe. Pearson has committed to certifying thousands more. Sinikiwe Makove, who joins Kate James and Lucy Lake at the event, has worked with many of them, and brings to the event the stories of these activists and entrepreneurs. In return for volunteering, Learner Guides gain access to interest-free micro loans to start local businesses, and are using their profits and experience to assist the younger generation to go to school.

Ahead of the launch event, Sinikiwe Makove said: “I see the change in the young women and the girls they support. They grow in confidence, they have new tools to shape their lives. Learner Guides are becoming leaders and philanthropists. Lindiwe, for example, now runs an innovative drinks business – the first Camfed alumna whose business is registered with the Zimbabwean government. Through her profits she supports more children to go to school. And as one of the first BTEC recipients, she is now able to pursue her dream of becoming a fully qualified teacher. Imagine thousands more trained female teachers, who understand all the barriers to education imposed by poverty – they will make all the difference for children in rural Zimbabwe.”


Notes to the editor

About Sinikiwe Makove

Sinikiwe Makove, Camfed Zimbabwe's Women Empowerment Manager, supports a grassroots movement of over 25,000 young women, 3,165 Mother Support Groups and more than 1,730 female Teacher Mentors, who are committed to helping children go to school, stay in school and succeed in order to turn the tide of poverty across rural Zimbabwe. Volunteering their time and resources, these women offer love, support and vital services such as school meal programmes to vulnerable boys and girls. With training and small grants, many have started social enterprises in order to help more children in their communities with school-going material needs including books, shoes and uniforms. In 2015 alone, collectively they supported 213,604 children to go to school.

Sinikiwe brings over six years’ experience of working with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development in Zimbabwe and was among the first group of women activists to facilitate awareness campaigns in communities on the Domestic Violence Act. She holds a Bachelor of Education degree in Educational Administration, Planning and Policy Studies from the Zimbabwe Open University and worked for the Ministry of Education for 18 years as a teacher, administrator and trainer. In addition to her work in Zimbabwe, Sinikiwe has helped to launch and strengthen women's groups across Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana. Together, these women represent a unique and powerful pan-African network of rural philanthropists united in their desire to support more marginalised children to get the education they need and deserve.

Sinikiwe’s blog:

These young women remain, and deal with the challenges in their communities

About the Learner Guide Programme

The programme, made possible under a grant through the UK Department for International Development, was conceived by Camfed and its alumnae, with a curriculum and learning materials developed together with Pearson. Learner Guides are young women in Camfed’s CAMA alumnae network, who return to their local school, volunteering at least 2 ½ hours per week for 12 to 18 months. Trained in delivering life and learning skills, as well as psycho-social support, Learner Guides work with schools, communities and district governments to keep vulnerable children in school, and help them overcome their challenges.In return for their commitment, Learner Guides gain access to interest-free loans to grow their own businesses, and mobile phones to stay connected. Respected for their expertise at every level, these young women are multiplying the returns of their own education for the benefit of their communities.

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About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit

In 2013, Pearson joined international NGO Camfed and relevant national Ministries of Education under a grant from the UK Department of International Development, to develop unique learning materials and a life skills curriculum to transform educational opportunities for girls from low-income communities in Zimbabwe and Tanzania. In September 2014, Pearson extended its commitment to develop a BTEC tailored to the unique needs of 5,000 young women in Camfed’s CAMA alumnae network, who are trained as “Learner Guides,” returning to their rural schools to deliver the life and learning skills curriculum to vulnerable children

About Camfed

Camfed supports marginalised girls to go to school, succeed, and lead change

Camfed is an international non-profit organisation tackling poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change. Camfed invests in girls and women in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls face acute disadvantage, and where their education has transformative potential. Camfed not only supports girls and young women through school, but also on to new lives as entrepreneurs and community leaders. To complete the “virtuous cycle,” and create sustainable change, graduating students become CAMA alumnae, many of whom return to school to train and mentor new generations of students. Since 1993, Camfed’s innovative community-led education programmes have directly supported more than 1.6 million children to go to school in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi, and nearly 4 million children have benefitted from an improved learning environment at 5,306 partner schools. In 2014, Camfed was recognised by the OECD for best practice in taking development innovation to scale. In late 2014, Camfed made an historic commitment to support one million adolescent girls in rural Africa through secondary school by 2020 – a truly transformational pledge. Millions more children will benefit as a result.

Press Contacts


Tom Steiner (UK)
+44 07787 415 891

Camfed International (UK)

Anke Adams
+44 (0)7812 039471