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  1. ITV Report

Empowerment of women 'changes absolutely everything for communities' says Meghan

  • Video report by ITV News Africa correspondent Penny Marshall

The Duchess of Sussex has told academics and students at the University of Johannesburg that when a woman is empowered it "changes absolutely everything" in the community.

Meghan was carrying out a solo engagement at the university in South Africa, while the Duke of Sussex is in Malawi on the penultimate day of their 10-day overseas tour.

During a round-table discussion the duchess said she had been working with with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) for almost over a year to promote gender equality in education.

Meghan also announced three new Gender Grants for the University of Johannesburg, Stellenbosch University and the University of Western Cape.

She stressed to the room full of academics and scholarship students the key role played by education, and especially university education, and said it meant a lot to her "on a personal level".

She reached for notes while announcing new scholarships and grants, admitting: "I will use note cards today because, my goodness, this last bit I can't screw up."

She added: "The goal here is to be able to have gender equality, to be able to support women as they are working in research and higher education roles."

"True to what you said, when a woman is empowered it changes absolutely everything in the community and starting an educational atmosphere is really a key point of that," she said.

Spectators watch the Duchess of Sussex during her visit to the University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: PA

Meghan also spoke about her own experience of being able to attend university.

She said: "If you don't have the support that is necessary that you feel that you can keep taking the next step then you're stunted in growth."

She added: "I went to university. It takes a village, doesn't it, to sort of piece it together for people to be able to finance that.

"Families chipping in, scholarship, financially all those things that were the reason that I was able to attend university."

The Duke of Sussex visits the Mauwa Health Centre in Blantyre, Malawi, on day nine of the Royal tour of Africa. Credit: PA

Meanwhile the Duke of Sussex told a group of young people to "hold on to your dreams" as he visited a health centre in a remote village in Malawi.

Harry sat down for a private chat with the teenagers in the rural heartland of the African country, after learning about the work of medical staff and other employees at the Mauwa Health Centre.

Sitting outside but under cover from the searing sun, the discussion was supposed to be about sexual health but also touched on other topics the duke is passionate about, including climate change and conservation.

The Duke of Sussex takes part in a discussion with young people during a visit to the Mauwa Health Centre in Blantyre. Credit: PA

A health official said: "They asked him what challenges he faced when growing up and he did have challenges but he said they were not similar as the context was different.

"He told the young people to 'hold on to your dreams' and he urged them to show kindness, empathy and work together."

Harry had travelled to the village of Blantyre to see an innovative project funded by the US and UK Governments which is ensuring that vaccines, drugs and other treatments are more readily available.

At the health centre, patients can access a range of services from a maternity unit to malaria treatment as well as HIV testing and after care if someone is found to have the virus.

Harry said of the drugs used to treat an HIV patient: "You need to know your status and know there's medication, so you can have a happy and healthy life."