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Duke and Duchess of Sussex join QCT to celebrate CAMA leaders in Malawi

On 29th September 2019, in Lilongwe, Malawi, HRH The Duke of Sussex, in his role as President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, met and spoke with young women who were supported to attend and complete secondary school through the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED). These inspiring young women are now members of CAMA, CAMFED’s 140,000-strong alumnae association, and are leading action on the big challenges their countries face - from climate change to child marriage and girls’ exclusion from education. QCT has worked with CAMA since 2017, partnering to create and expand the CAMA Fund which is overseen and distributed by CAMA members who use it to support vulnerable children to attend and complete school. The Duke last met with CAMA at a Queen’s Commonwealth Trust event supporting local young leaders in Zambia in November 2018.

Throughout their tour in Africa, the Duke and Duchess have highlighted youth leadership, grassroots community development and female empowerment, amongst other causes they share a deep commitment to. This visit celebrated the leadership of young women in Malawi, and all they are doing to galvanise their communities through education, entrepreneurism and philanthropy. The Duchess of Sussex, Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and a longstanding advocate for the rights of women and girls, joined the conversation remotely from South Africa via video link. The Duchess previously met with CAMFED’s Executive Director, and CAMA co-founder, Angeline Murimirwa for a panel discussion hosted by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust in March 2019 for International Women’s Day.

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During the conversation, Their Royal Highnesses heard updates from CAMA leaders on their progress in their communities. Rose Alexander completed her secondary education in Neno District, Malawi, with support from CAMFED. Today she is a leader in CAMA, the alumnae association for CAMFED graduates in Malawi, and a Core Trainer managing a project to end child marriage in her district. During the conversation, she spoke of the difference she has been making in her community:

“I have already ended 8 child marriages. It is our pride as CAMA to support child brides to return to school. I have managed to pay school fees for 7 girls to attend secondary school, 4 of whom have now graduated.”

Rose also spoke of the importance of the CAMA Fund: “The Queen’s CAMA Commonwealth Fund is adding to the resources we manage to raise, so that we can reach more vulnerable children more quickly. It is making a big difference. For example, the Fund recently allowed us to help a 15-year-old girl who had been a child bride. We used the money to pay her school fees, buy her uniform and school supplies.”

After hearing the CAMA leaders speak, the Duchess thanked them for sharing their personal stories and went on to say: “We are just so proud as President and Vice President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust that we can support you in everything that you are doing. We cannot begin to express how valuable and vital that work is. We are incredibly proud to be part of it.”

The Duke of Sussex said that he was delighted to hear of so much progress since he last met with CAMA: “It is wonderful to hear news of the CAMA Fund and how, through the leadership of CAMA members, it is making a difference… QCT exists to champion, fund and connect young leaders and will continue to support CAMA members in their work as it makes a massive difference for Africa – and we want to share this with the whole world.”

Nicola Brentnall, CEO of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust said: “I am always bursting to speak and to dance with CAMA – this is why The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is behind CAMA: They are young leaders and experts in fighting poverty and inequality. Experts in lifting their communities out of poverty. Experts in changing the lives and the futures of hundreds of thousands of girls.”

For 25 years, the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) has united communities in sub-Saharan Africa in a collective effort to secure the right to education for the most excluded girls, resulting in more than 3.3 million children receiving support to go to school across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Malawi. CAMFED’s graduates – CAMA members who are now lawyers, doctors, educators, and entrepreneurs – represent a unique, pan-African network of 140,000 young women leaders, which is growing exponentially as more girls complete school and join them. QCT is proud to stand with the women of CAMA and to partner on the CAMA Fund which now operates in Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi and has supported nearly 39,000 children to date.

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