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Ann Cotton Awarded the 2014 WISE Prize for Education
Ms Ann Cotton, Founder and President of Camfed, has been awarded the 2014 WISE Prize for Education. The Prize was presented by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, at the sixth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar on 4 November 2014.
For more than two decades, Ann Cotton has led efforts to improve opportunities for girls and young women at the margins of education. Her commitment to girls’ education in Africa began in 1991 when she visited Zimbabwe to investigate why girls’ school enrolment in rural areas was so low. She learned that poverty, rather than cultural issues, was the main factor keeping girls out of school.Cotton knew that girls could be educated if supported by their communities. She understood they could be empowered to shape their own destinies and change their communities. In 1993 Cotton founded the Campaign for Female Education, which was co-designed with communities to fully suit their needs. The organization’s unique, holistic approach breaks the cycle of poverty, child marriage, high birth rates and high rates of HIV/AIDS by working in partnership with all the constituencies that have power over a girl’s education and life choices.