The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, President and Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), Harry and Meghan Markle, got to sit with Victor Ugo, founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) alongside other young leaders to discuss mental health and MANI’s work with young people in Nigeria.
The royals hosted a conversation with young leaders from the QCT network, who each work with the Trust across its three pillars of a champion, fund and connect. The group met at Buckingham Palace to discuss mental health, equal opportunities for all, and the importance of supporting youth leadership to help address global challenges and drive positive change around the world.
Those who joined the Duke and Duchess from QCT were: Kenny Imafidon, social entrepreneur, activist and QCT Advisor, who helped to host the discussion; Esther Marshall, founder of sTandTall and author of the Sophie Says series; Izzy Obeng, founder of Foundervine; Victor Ugo, founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria; and co-founders of Birmingham-based female empowerment organisation Girldreamer, Kiran Kaur and Amna Akhtar.
All the young leaders who participated in the discussion work with QCT in various ways, including having their work and experience shared through its digital channels, being connected with peers, funding and resources, and feeding into the strategy and development of QCT.
The Duke and Duchess opened the conversation by asking the group about QCT and its role in supporting them. The group went on to discuss the significance of QCT’s global network.
The theme of inclusive support networks emerged across the conversation as vital to supporting equal opportunities and providing effective mental health awareness and support services, as the young leaders shared more about their personal experiences and commented on their work.
Victor Ugo stated:
I had very amazing friends and a support system that made it possible to see through a difficult part in my life. That was the inspiration behind setting up my organisation, Mentally Aware Nigeria because I was looking to create that community I had for myself and replicate it for others.