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Statement from Save the Children following a meeting between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Save the Children staff and two of the charity’s Youth Ambassadors in Nigeria last week. The event was facilitated and chaired by Save the Children’s Global Ambassador, Misan Harriman. 


“It was an immense privilege to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Abuja – for us and for the children and young people in Nigeria that we represent.

Together, we spoke about our work as Save the Children Youth Ambassadors to ensure that children stay safe, learning and healthy – and the importance of having young people’s voices at the heart of decision-making when those decisions affect our future. We know the scale of the issues children face here – but we will not stop fighting for a Nigeria in which all children go to school, and all have access to life-saving immunisations against disease.

We, Save the Children’s Youth Ambassadors, couldn’t do the work we do without strong partnerships and solidarity, from across the private sector, Governments and local communities, philanthropists and those who – like Prince Harry and Meghan – use their platform to speak out and advocate for change alongside us. We know that, although our lives are very different, we share the unwavering belief that, together, we can build a brighter future.”


“We’re honoured that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took time out of their busy schedule in Nigeria to learn about the work Save the Children does, alongside our youth advocates and partners, to ensure children don’t just survive but thrive.

Child Champions and Youth Ambassadors are the beating heart of our work in Nigeria so for two of them to have this opportunity to speak with Prince Harry and Meghan, and to shine a spotlight on their tireless advocacy to protect the rights of children, is phenomenal.

Children in Nigeria face huge challenges. One in ten dies before they reach the age of five. Three in ten girls are married before the age of 18. Nigeria also has one of the highest rates of ‘zero dose’ children – i.e. those who have yet to receive a single routine vaccination. Save the Children is working with GSK to tackle this issue through new immunisation programmes, a fund to support local organisations and innovators, and child-led advocacy. We were thrilled to share information about this innovative partnership with Duke and Duchess of Sussex in light of their long-standing interest in vaccine equity.”


  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met with Save the Children staff, Youth Ambassadors and a GSK representative during their trip to Abuja last week.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan were invited by Save the Children’s Global Ambassador - the Oscar-nominated Director, photographer and activist Misan Harriman.
  • The two Youth Ambassadors present – Maryam (23) and Purity (19) - spoke about their work addressing issues ranging from child marriage to gender-based violence, access to education and healthcare, and the plight of internally displaced children.           
  • In Nigeria, one in 10 children in Nigeria dies before their 5th birthday. Three out of 10 girls are married before age 18yrs and 10 million children out school. [Sources: The State of the Nigeria Girls Report (2021); Education Under Attack Report (2023); and Study Report on Budgeting to End Child Marriage in Nigeria (2023) – all published by Save the Children International]
  • The meeting also highlighted Save the Children’s mission, in partnership with GSK, to drastically reduce the high rates of ‘zero dose’ children in Nigeria – ie those who have yet to receive a single routine immunisation 
  • In Africa there are currently 8.7 million of these ‘zero-dose’ children - and more than a third live in Nigeria and Ethiopia. Overstretched health systems and lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have triggered the biggest global decline in routine immunisation for 30 years, causing diseases like polio, measles and cholera to appear in places where they haven’t been seen for decades.
  • As well as developing two new vaccination programmes to try and reach zero-dose children, Save the Children has also launched an Immunisation Accelerator – a $1 million initiative funded by GSK - which will offer grants of up to $100,000 to local projects in Nigeria and Ethiopia, in the hope that new fast-track, cutting-edge solutions can be discovered to help tackle long standing barriers which prevent children from receiving vaccinations.
  • In 2022, Prince Harry and Meghan’s non-profit organisation, the Archewell Foundation, donated funds to Save the Children for the humanitarian flood response in Nigeria. 
  • In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex marked their son Archie’s first birthday by releasing a short film that showed Meghan reading him one of his favourite books, Duck! Rabbit!, to support Save the Children’s Save With Stories initiative, aimed at helping children hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis.


Save the Children has been operating in Nigeria since 2001 and responding to the humanitarian crisis in the northeast since 2014. Save the Children is providing food, clean water, nutrition and protection services, sexual and reproductive health care, and education to children and their families across 17 states in Nigeria. Save the Children also provides technical support to the government ministries, departments and agencies on policy formulation, review, reforms, budgeting and implementation, especially in critical child rights sectors such as child protection, health, education, climate response and social protection, among other.

In 2023, Save the Children Nigeria Country Programmes reached over 25 million programme participants directly and indirectly - 38% of whom were children. Of the more than 7 million people reached directly, 57% were children and 50% of those were girls. Currently, Save the Children’s programme in Nigeria covers both humanitarian response and development programmes – our Humanitarian Emergency and Refugee Response programme being the largest operation in the region.