Key to success for the education of young African girls is building a model that works with communities, schools, and national Ministries of Education to build a system of protection and support around girls, ensuring that they receive the education that is their right. Financial support is provided alongside a social support system.
There are 45 million children in Africa who are not in school. While other children are learning, exploring, and growing in the myriad ways that children were meant to grow, these children are trapped in a life of constant struggle. Without education, how can they be expected to escape such struggle? How can their children?
The prevailing view was that girls were outside of school because of the resistance of families to their education. But when I visited a local village, what everyone told me - the chiefs, the parents, the children - was that girls weren't in school because it was the boys that had a better chance of getting paid work in the future.
The organization I founded in 1993, Camfed (the Campaign for Female Education), was in large part inspired by the generosity shown to me by a community in a village in Zimbabwe. During my visit to Mola to research girls' exclusion from education, the people of Mola fed me, shaded me, walked and talked with me for hours each day.