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Supporting Communities to Deliver Justice and Change at Scale

By February 17, 2015

Guest post by: Camfed International

During a recent panel on girls’ education with First Lady Michelle Obama at the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, Angeline Murimirwa, Camfed Regional Executive Director in Africa, encapsulated Camfed’s program in one statement: “There was a time when I benefitted from Camfed’s agenda of girls’ education. Now I’m setting the agenda of how Camfed can assist millions of girls in Africa.” Angeline was one of the first 400 young women who completed secondary school with Camfed’s support, and, together with her peers, set up the CAMA graduate network which today is driving change across communities in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and well beyond.


Photo: Paul Morigi

Camfed’s model places accountability to girls and young women – as our clients – at its core, mobilizing an entire social infrastructure around girls to secure their right to education. The deep involvement of communities, who take ownership of Camfed’s programs, has allowed us to significantly scale our impact. Since 1993, Camfed has directly supported over 1.2 million vulnerable girls from a background of rural poverty through school and into a life of independence. In 2014 Camfed was recognized by the OECD for taking development innovation to scale. Our Salesforce database is key to delivering at pace, and has grown into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Information Management System (IMS), which provides the backbone for all the program, financial, fundraising, communications and HR information required to successfully support a community-led girls’ education and women’s empowerment agenda.

This blog focuses on the program data our teams capture and analyze in Salesforce:

Salesforce Monitoring and Evaluation Data – The Key to Scaling Justice

The two main components to Camfed’s ability to scale our impact, while maintaining our focus on the individual girl and her entitlement to a quality, safe education, are communities and big data. Our communities and young women graduates are the true experts in what works, dismantling the barriers to girls’ education in rural Africa. We support them with robust finance and data systems, centralized in Salesforce.

Our community activists use low-cost smartphones to gather the data we need to ensure accountability to every girl,” explains Dan Probert, Head of IT Innovation at Camfed. “The data they collect in their districts uploads directly to our Salesforce database, and is used to monitor and evaluate programs. We share data with communities to inform decision-making, and to ignite fast action in support of girls at risk of dropping out of school, for example.”

This data is essential to Angeline and the other members of Camfed’s national executive teams, who, supported by a staff of 220 across Zimbabwe, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi, are leading on girls’ education programs designed and delivered by 121,307 community activists working with 5,085 partner schools. Programs are coordinated by volunteer Community Development Committees, made up of individual activists who represent all the constituencies that have influence over a girl’s education – from parents and traditional leaders to social workers, head teachers, district education officials and young women graduates.

Tracking Girls’ Entitlements, Circumstances, Journeys and Outcomes

The programs tracked in Salesforce include early childhood development initiatives; safety net funds to keep vulnerable children in school at primary level; bursaries funding marginalized girls’ entire journey through secondary school; and investments in the pan-African CAMA network of young women graduates. Enumerators armed with mobile phones (who may be CAMA members; Teacher Mentors[1]; or members of the District Operations Secretariat[2]) collect program data which is uploaded to Salesforce in real time via GSMA in 90% of the rural locations where we work.


Young women graduates in Camfed’s CAMA network volunteer their time to help track the entitlements, attendance and performance of vulnerable girls supported by Camfed. The data can be uploaded in real time to Salesforce.

They speak to each girl supported by Camfed through secondary school to make sure she has received her entitlements – including uniform, shoes, notebooks, pens, and sanitary wear – and check with the appropriate authorities that her school fees have been paid. In Salesforce, which has recently been integrated with Camfed’s robust financial systems through FinancialForce, we correlate the payments we’ve made to entitlements received.

Activists also provide additional details on each individual girl’s family circumstances and education, tracked in Salesforce CRM. The information held is confidential but essential to looking after each girl’s welfare, as well as to monitoring, evaluating and reporting on our programs, as we learn which innovations most effectively change women’s futures. In Salesforce we record each girl’s family situation (many have sadly lost one or both parents), including her number of siblings, and, where applicable, date of marriage, and number of children. We track her attendance through school, and raise the alarm at absences, so communities can act quickly to solve problems. We track her exam results and compare them to national averages, looking at which interventions to improve quality and learning yield the greatest results.


Salesforce data reveals Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) pass rates for girls supported by Camfed across Malawi. Most girls are performing significantly above the national average, in spite coming from backgrounds of extreme poverty, and many having lost one or both parents.

Tracking Leadership for Change

We also track those young women school leavers who join CAMA, receive and then deliver training, and step up as leaders in their communities[3]. CAMA members support each other to transition into secure and independent livelihoods. They cascade knowledge, access interest free loans for community give-back through our partnership with Kiva, become entrepreneurs setting up rural businesses, and join other community members in providing financial and in-kind support to more vulnerable students. Through their independence, advocacy and leadership, these young women are delivering sustainability and long-term change.

A Holistic Program Overview

Our latest innovation as we grow Salesforce to be a ‘one stop shop’ across Camfed’s seven offices is the implementation of Salesforce Reporting Snapshots currently in progress,” Dan explains. “It allows us to automatically analyze our program and impact data in Salesforce and present a single picture of programs across the entire organization.” The value added by these reports is immense, and will feed directly into executive decision-making within different countries, as well as across the entire program. Within a single dashboard executive teams can access information as diverse as the number of trainings supported by Camfed at district and national level; the number of students receiving support during the current academic year, and their family status; or the number of CAMA members in each country involved in community give-back by being peer educators, core trainers, community health activists, committee members or Learner Guides, for example.

A Journey of Justice

The case for investing in girls’ education has long been made. The “how” of investing in girls’ education has been redefined by Camfed. Angeline’s journey from marginalization to regional leadership is one of thousands of examples of what happens when an organization listens to and learns from communities, and puts accountability to the girl at the center of everything it does. The Salesforce IMS touches and supports almost every aspect of Camfed’s model of investment in girls’ education, which has been proven to be robust, transparent, replicable, sustainable, and scalable. Innovation and technology have been critical to helping us deliver accountability to each individual girl, with programs built around her individual needs, while supporting a critical mass of girls through school and into leadership positions. Only when this generation of girls steps up to contribute to public and private institutions in significant numbers, can real systems change occur, delivering justice for everyone. Camfed has committed to supporting one million girls through secondary school and into independence over the next five years as part of the Clinton Global Initiative’s CHARGE commitment. “An integrated IMS is indispensable to this mission,” Dan concludes, “and we are determined to live by Angeline’s mantra, ‘If it’s not in Salesforce, it didn’t happen.’



About Camfed

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

Camfed is an international non-profit organization 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. Since 1993, Camfed’s innovative education programs have benefitted over 3 million children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi. In 2014, Camfed was recognized by the OECD for best practice in taking development innovation to scale.



[1] Teacher Mentors are teachers in partner schools who receive additional training by Camfed in order to look after the emotional well-being of vulnerable girls, offering psycho-social support, and helping them succeed against great odds.

[2] District Operations Secretariat (DOS) members play a key role in supporting community education activists and committees of local stakeholders with administrative, secretarial and bookkeeping tasks. They collate, monitor and evaluate data on Camfed’s programs, which is linked to Salesforce. DOS support and encourage Teacher Mentors to collect and send girls’ school attendance data using mobile phones provided by Camfed. Together with CDC members they physically visit schools to ensure that each individual girl has received her Camfed entitlements, and help counsel girls who face problems that could affect their performance in school, as well emphasizing to all other girls to the importance of education.

[3] The 24,436 young women in the powerful CAMA network and their communities have thousands of stories of change to tell. So far 18,393 young women have been trained in business skills, 1,272 as business trainers. Young women graduates have already trained 154,618 community members and students in financial literacy, and reached 151,265 students and community members with health information (Source: Camfed Evidence of Investment 2014).