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Camfed and The MasterCard Foundation Launch Groundbreaking Partnership in Ghana to Enable Young Women to Own their Futures

National program will benefit 200,000 young people through education and entrepreneurship

Accra, Ghana, April 6th, 2011 –  Camfed and The MasterCard Foundation today launched a program in Ghana that will provide secondary education, financial literacy and entrepreneurship opportunities to 200,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program, part of a five year, $10 million partnership between The MasterCard Foundation and Camfed, is expected to benefit over one million people from rural communities. The program was launched at an event in Accra, and was attended by Honorable Betty Mould Iddrisu – Ghana’s Minister of Education and Sports – as well as local and international partners.

”This magnificent investment by The MasterCard Foundation will enable Camfed to expand opportunities for girls and young women in two further regions of Ghana,” said Ann Cotton, Camfed’s Executive Director. “Together, we will help a new generation of young women to access vital skills in financial literacy and entrepreneurship which will empower them to own their own futures.”

Through its partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, Camfed will expand its operations into some of the poorest areas of Ghana. The program provides a continuum of support during school and post-school years, enabling young women to complete secondary education through bursaries, gain financial knowledge when they enter the workforce, and test new approaches to launch innovative and diverse businesses in their rural communities. The program actively engages young women through membership in Cama – Camfed’s powerful pan-African alumni network – which will deliver intensive business and financial literacy training.  A pilot internship component of the program will expose exceptional Cama members to innovative industries needed in rural areas, such as green technology and mobile financial services, enabling them to build more diversified and vibrant rural economies.

“Camfed’s holistic approach enables young women to become leaders of change and role models who re-invest back into their communities,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “The MasterCard Foundation’s partnership with Camfed will enable young women in Ghana to build their own pathways out of poverty.”

“The expansion of Camfed’s innovative program will empower thousands of young Ghanaian women from rural areas,” said Dolores Dickson, Executive Director of Camfed Ghana. “We will work closely with the Ministry of Education and Sports and other key partners to ensure that we share important lessons with other education and training programs across the country.”

Half of Ghana’s population is concentrated in rural areas where severe poverty levels constrain education completion rates, especially amongst girls. Only 43 percent of girls enrol in secondary school, and for those that do complete secondary school, job opportunities are extremely limited. Lack of access to education, employment and training opportunities for rural young women represents one of the primary causes of cyclical poverty in Ghana.

The launch of this program builds on the government’s commitment to scale-up girls’ access to secondary education across Ghana. Working alongside local, regional and national governance structures, the program will help to create systemic change and enable local communities to institute and run the programs.

About Camfed

Camfed (The Campaign for Female Education) works to solve long-term health, economic and social issues in rural Africa by educating girls and investing in their economic independence and leadership once they graduate. Since 1993, 1,299,700 children in some of the poorest regions of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi have benefited from Camfed’s education program.

Camfed works in each country by building partnerships with the national government and by utilising a model of inclusive power-sharing with rural communities. By placing a high degree of responsibility in the hands of the local community, Camfed ensures that its bottom up governance model is founded on transparency and accountability at every level. This places the client, in Camfed’s case girls and young women in rural Africa, at the centre of action and change. For more information, please visit www.camfed.org.

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 35 developing countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper.

An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

For Additional Information:

Kimberley Sevcik,
Information & Media Relations Manager
Camfed
+1 415-963-4336
ksevcik@camfed.org
Krista Pawley
Vice-President, Communications
The MasterCard Foundation
+1 647-837-5787
kpawley@mastercardfdn.org
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