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The Edinburghs

The Duchess of Edinburgh sees work supporting victims of sexual violence in conflict as Ethiopia visit continues

Sophie, Countess of Wessex
British High Commissioner, New Delhi

The Duchess of Edinburgh’s visit to Ethiopia continues as World Sight Day arrives.

The Duchess has been in the eastern African country all week at the request of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, carrying out engagements related to vision, supporting the work of Orbis, which aims to eliminate trachoma in the country; and sexual and gender-based violence awareness.

Sophie first visited the Tigray region of Ethiopia, witnessing the work of UNICEF in the area with regards to the wellbeing of displaced persons at the Sabacare IDP Camp, the majority of which are women and young girls. Sophie also learned how UNICEF is working with survivors of conflict related sexual violence.

The Duchess also visited Ayder Hospital’s One Stop Centre, to see how medical professionals are supporting survivors of gender-based violence, and the Women’s Development Centre to learn how they’re supporting women learning the skills they need for employment and the opportunity to live independent lives.

Sophie also met Ethiopia’s Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed Ali, who shared on his social media: “Pleased to receive Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh @RoyalFamily at my office today during her Ethiopia tour. We exchanged views on multiple development issues. Great appreciation to the Duchess for her support to charitable initiatives within the country.”

In Addis Ababa, Sophie attended a meeting at the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia to discuss Commonwealth objectives ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings in October 2024 in Samoa.

The Embassy posted on X: “The vibrant community of Commonwealth nations here in Addis met with Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Edinburgh to discuss shared interests in the Commonwealth agenda, next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Apia, Samoa) and lifting engagement with the AU Commission.”

October 12th 2023 is World Sight Day, and the Duchess of Edinburgh is expected to carry out engagements that will shine a spotlight on the work of Orbis and the goal of eliminating trachoma.

Sophie serves as Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and has carried out engagements all over the world on behalf of vision care.

In addition to visiting a medical centre and learning how the medical professionals work to prevent the condition, the Duchess will also meet with patients and those who have restored sight.

Sophie will later visit a school to see how students are taught hygiene practices that can help prevent trachoma; and will then attend a conference with government and medical leaders discussing the issues and best practices for eliminating trachoma.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.