Ann Cotton OBE is Founder and President of Camfed, an international non-profit organisation tackling poverty and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change.
Camfed’s goal is to replace the existing cycle of poverty and inequality with a new cycle of empowerment and opportunity. The organisation’s unique approach is to not only support girls and young women through school, but also on to new lives as entrepreneurs and community leaders. To complete the “virtuous cycle”, graduating students become alumnae and many train and mentor new generations of students. More than 3.5 million children have already benefited from Camfed’s programmes in a network of 5,270 partner schools across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi. In 2014, Camfed was recognised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for best practice in taking development innovation to scale.
Ann is an Honorary Fellow at Homerton College, and Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Cambridge University Judge Business School. She is a noted speaker on international platforms, including the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Skoll World Forum. In 2014, she addressed the U.S.-Africa Summit hosted by the White House, George W. Bush Institute and U.S. State Department. Ann has won numerous awards for her work, including an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Cambridge University; an OBE in honour of her advocacy of girls’ education in Africa; the Skoll and Schwab Awards for Social Entrepreneurship; Woman of the Year in the UK; and UK Social Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2014, Ann received the 2014 WISE Prize as Education Laureate.