Those who know of the DofE, like Tunde Folawiyo, will probably be aware of the profound impact which this programme has had on many Kenyans. It has helped hundreds of people in this country to develop the skills and traits which they need to create a better life for themselves and their communities. Take for instance, Olunga Otieno; as a result of his involvement with the DofE, he went from living in poverty, to having a successful career in education.
Raised in one of Nairobi’s largest slums, Soweto, he faced a huge number of challenges growing up, and it was often difficult for him to find the money for basic necessities, such as food and school fees. However, despite these obstacles, he worked hard in class, and managed to achieve excellent exam results.
Olunga discovered the DofE (or President’s Award, as it is known in Kenya) whilst attending St Justino’s Secondary School. He immediately signed up, and progressed through each stage, until finally, he received his gold award. This accomplishment served as a stepping stone for Olunga, providing him with one opportunity after another, and helping him to achieve his professional goals. Shortly after completing the award, Olunga undertook training to become a voluntary assessor for the expedition section.
This work for the DofE then led to him receiving a nomination for a youth delegate position at the IGE (International Gold Event), held in Mauritius. This in turn, resulted in Olunga being chosen as a youth representative for Africa on the DofE’s International Council. He then chose to train as a secondary school teacher, and now works with many youths around Kenya, particularly those who are living in impoverished areas of Nairobi.
In addition to teaching at a local secondary school, Olunga also works as a youth development expert, mentor and speaker. Having experienced first-hand the power of having a support system like the DofE, he now aims to offer the same guidance to young people who are trying to find a way out of the poverty cycle. He is a member of both Strategic Think Tank, and the Africa Regional Training Panel for the DofE International Foundation, and his years of dedication have won him the IAA’s Bronze Friend Award. Tunde Folawiyo, and others who are familiar with the IAA, will understand what an honour it is to receive this prize. Olunga also helps people via other personal development programmes, such as ‘The Best You’ and ‘Clarity 4D’, and works with corporations, assisting them with things like coaching workshops and youth leadership training.