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The Queen's Commonwealth Trust celebrates its first birthday

On 21st April 2018, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) was presented to Her Majesty, The Queen by our President, The Duke of Sussex, to mark her 92nd birthday and recognise her lifetime belief in the potential of young people to drive positive change.

QCT was set up to champion, fund and connect young leaders around the world. Since our launch, we have supported over 50 youth-led social ventures from across the Commonwealth, from environmental changemakers to human rights defenders, and shared the important work these young leaders are doing with millions of people around the world.

In November 2018, during a royal visit to Zambia, HRH The Duke of Sussex took the opportunity to see the work of QCT first-hand, attending an event hosted by one our partners, Circus Zambia. Here, The Duke was greeted by our friends at CAMA – the alumni network of Camfed who are supported by QCT - who were there filling the space with their vibrant energy and singing. Also present was Regina Mtonga, cofounder of Asikana Network - an organization that seeks to increase the number of females participating in STEM related courses and jobs in Zambia, as well as Alina Karima of The Women’s Economic Empowerment Project and Brighton Koana, founder of Agents of Change Foundation.

As our global network has grown, we have been delighted to welcome a wonderful online community who help us shine a light on the power of youth across the world. We are proud to be a digital-first organisation, and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages have continued to grow as we expand our reach and connect with new individuals wishing to share their work and the positive impact they are having in their local communities. We have created the hashtag #TeamQCT, so people can highlight their experiences and join our online family, wherever they are in the world.

This year also saw us delve into the world of events, holding our first ever Socially Speaking discussion at The Conduit in London. Guests were treated to an interview between broadcasting legend Margherita Taylor and QCT Trustee, Baroness Martha Lane Fox, as well as hearing from Chrisann Jarrett, the 24-year old founder of Let Us Learn – a youth-led initiative that fights for the right to a higher education for UK-based migrants. The evening provided an opportunity for young leaders to absorb inspiring words from those already driving positive change and connect with fellow changemakers face-to-face.

More recently, March 8th, 2019 marked a significant day for Team QCT, as we welcomed the Duchess of Sussex as our Vice-President, to stand alongside our President, The Duke of Sussex. In this role, The Duchess will highlight the Trust's partnerships with young people across the Commonwealth, and in particular its work supporting women and girls.

To mark this news and celebrate International Women’s Day, The Duchess took part in a special panel discussion on behalf of QCT. She was joined by Annie Lennox OBE, founder of The Circle, an organisation supporting and empowering women’s lives around the world; Adwoa Aboah, founder of Gurls Talk, Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London; Chrisann Jarrett of Let us Learn and Angeline Murimirwa, Executive Director of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) in Africa and co-founder of CAMA, a pan-African network of young female leaders.

It’s been a whirlwind first year, and we are delighted you are all with us and share our ambition to bring about a world where young people are equal partners in driving positive change. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today, so thank you all for an amazing year – we are so excited for the many more incredible years to come!

Happy birthday TeamQCT!

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