The Duke of Edinburgh Award’s African Impact

Founded in 1956, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has had a measurable positive impact on Africa, striving to help young people engage with their communities and become conscientious adults. Throughout the African continent in varied countries such as Ghana in Western Africa, Cameroon, the Seychelles and South Africa, the charity has helped many communities through the hard work of volunteers both from inside and Tunde Folawiyoout-with each country. This is no more apparent than through the critical conservation work carried out by those in Africa seeking the award.

As of 2014, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has a massive 80 volunteer projects running in various African countries. Many of these have been designed to help protect Africa’s important wildlife and fauna, some of which is dangerously close to extinction. Volunteers travel from all around the world and, through their efforts, important work is carried out which it is hoped will positively affect the African environment, and halt the needless hunting of endangered animals and the exploitation of other finite environmental resources.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award encourages its volunteers to work with other charities, and it is through working with such African initiatives as Village by Village and African Impact that the organisation’s volunteers truly excel, having the greatest possible positive impact on the environment and peoples on the African continent. The charity African Impact itself offers a range of environmental programmes designed specifically with this in mind. Other organisations, such as Tunde Folawiyo’s African Leadership Academy strive to engage with the youth of Africa and beyond in parallel with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This helps to create a more conscientious and bold generation of contributory people, which is one of many pan-African topics discussed in-depth on Tunde Folawiyo’s Tumblr page. The presence of such organisations and individuals further increases the impact of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and its legacy through inspiring people into similar positive acts and activities.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award volunteers can take part in a range of ecological projects in Africa via African Impact, including:

  1. Marine Conservation: When discussing African conservation efforts, this often evokes in people an image of both tropical and desert landscapes; however, much of the work carried out by Duke of Edinburgh’s Award volunteers involves marine conservation, helping to protect Africa’s dolphin population and coral reefs.
  1. Lion Rehabilitation: Carried out mainly in Zambia, this project involves volunteers working in conservation areas to protect lion populations, and to help nurse and release injured and orphaned lions back into the wild.
  1. Orphan Care: Another project in Zambia includes volunteers looking after one of the biggest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world. Helping these close relatives of the human species when orphaned, injured, or unable to fend for themselves.

Through initiatives such as African Impact, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award continues to motivate young people to engage within Africa to help protect its unique and diverse environmental heritage.

The 2015 Morocco Trek With the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

As part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (one of the world’s leading youth initiatives where young people are gifted awards for achieving positive goals), volunteers are able to travel to a number of countries around the world and take part in various challenging activities. Some of these activities are designed to test the individual, while others are more focused on helping communities, but regardless of the scope of each initiative, they are all aimed at helping young people develop into caring, positive and conscientious adults.

In Africa, these awards have been supported by many forward thinking individuals including Nigeria’s Tunde Folawiyo, a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s World Fellowship project – another worthwhile youth initiative which can be read about in greater detail, alongside other philanthropic pursuits, on Tunde Folawiyo’s Slideshare page. There are numerous key projects like these which work tirelessly to benefit the world’s young people, and through their association with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, many of them can help the youth of today explore their limits, developing skills Tunde Folawiyoand talents which will serve them well into adulthood. One such project is the 2015 Morocco Duke of Edinburgh Trek.

The Morocco Trek is just one of a number of initiatives offered by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s African affiliates. What makes this project special, however, is that it is open to individuals. Most other initiatives are only available to school classes. While school projects are just as important, it is a positive move from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award organizers to include one open to individuals, especially considering that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is open to those up to the age of 24.

For anyone considering entering into the Morocco trek programme as part of the 2015 project for DofE, it is critical that they are aware what the itinerary will be composed of, just to make sure they are fully prepared. Once signed up, the project will consist of:

  1. First Day: A flight to Marrakesh where volunteers will be able to soak up the atmosphere and acclimatise to their new surroundings.
  2. Days 2 to 3: Initially volunteers will be escorted around the city before visiting the Atlas Mountains and the incredibly remote settlements in that region.
  3. Days 4 to 6: Volunteers will then be encouraged to take part in an environmental initiative within a village community. This is where they will gain insight and essential experience of interacting with locals and their customs, while taking part in an initiative which will benefit both the local wildlife and its human inhabitants.
  4. Days 7 to 10: At this stage volunteers will begin the trek through the Toubkai wilderness, including camping and exploring the incredible surroundings.
  5. Day 11 – 12: The trek will then terminate in Essaouira and the volunteers will be able to explore the town and enjoy the local beach.
  6. Day 13: Volunteers will travel to Marrakesh and enjoy the great city for one more night before returning home.

Projects such as the 2015 Morocco DofE Trek initiative continue to help further develop the conscientious abilities of the youth of the world, while actively benefiting communities around Africa.

How the DofE is improving school attendance rates in Kenya

Although the Kenyan government has been going to great lengths to ensure that all children are provided with free primary education, many young people are unable to attend on a regular Tunde Folawiyobasis. Approximately 83% are enrolled, but only a fraction of these go to school every day. Particularly in remote areas such as Bartabwa, the challenging conditions which many families find themselves in make it difficult to prioritise schooling.

However, a number of young DofE participants in Kenya have been doing their best to rectify this situation. Tunde Folawiyo, and others who are familiar with the DofE, may know of Rachel Wanjohi; for the Services section of her Gold Award, Rachel decided to encourage children in Wairuri to attend their local primary school. After visiting the school, she saw that a lack of basic facilities, such as a library, sports equipment, first aid kits and clean water had deterred many parents from sending their children there.

Rachel launched a number of fundraising projects to address these problems; her initial efforts helped to raise KES30,000, which was then used to purchase a water tank. Further fundraising work brought in even more money, and gradually, as the school facilities improved, attendance rates began to increase. Rachel’s work vastly improved the quality of life for many children in the local area and, of course, also helped her to achieve her Gold Award. Since then, she has gone on to work as Kenya’s Ambassador for Tunza Eco-Generation, and now aims to promote the eco-friendly initiatives being organised around Africa.

Judy Chesire is another former DofE participant whose work had an enormously positive impact on the education system in Kenya. For the Services section of her Award, she decided to set up a programme called Education and Life Empowerment in the afore-mentioned area of Bartabwa. She started off by arranging motivational talks, during which she and other guest speakers discussed the importance of education.

She then addressed the issue of staff shortages in the local school, by enlisting the help of her fellow university students, who were able to fill in as substitute teachers when necessary. In addition to this, she encouraged local children to see school in a different light, by making learning more enjoyable for them; she organised music and PE lessons, as well as games that helped children to view education as fun, rather than as a chore. As a result, both attendance rates and grade averages have risen dramatically in Bartabwa.

Chesire’s work led to her being recognised by the Peter Cruddas Social Innovation Initiative, and attending a showcase for the foundation in London. Anyone who is familiar with the Peter Cruddas Foundation, like Tunde Folawiyo, will understand what an honour it is to be asked to participate in this type of event.

How the DofE has improved gender equality and access to education in Ghana

The DofE was first brought to Ghana 47 years ago, when it was given the name Head of State Award Scheme (HOSA). Being familiar with the DofE, Tunde Folawiyo is doubtless aware that over the decades, the award scheme has given over 180,000 young people in Ghana the opportunity to reach their potential, and gain practical skills which have helped them in both their professional and personal lives.

The efforts of participants have also had an enormously positive impact on many of Ghana’s towns and villages, particularly with regard to gender inequality, poverty and education. The former is a particularly significant problem in this country; more often than not, women have no option but to bear the burden of all of the household duties, and have little time left for education or socialising. The rate of illiteracy among Ghanaian women is 15% higher than among Ghanaian men, and while about 50% of men complete secondary school, only 29% of women make it past their primary education.

Tunde FolawiyoOne of the HOSA participants, Patricia Yeboah, decided to focus her Service project on helping marginalised women in Ghana to share their experiences and stories with the world, through photographs. This has not only helped to raise awareness of the country’s educational issues, but has also provided many young Ghanaian women with a creative and social outlet. The project is still running today, with groups of women meeting each weekend at local schools, to explore the art of photography.

Two university students from Ghana, Esther Chinebuah and Alice Agyiri, also used their HOSA award projects to help others. After some careful research, they observed that the people in the region of Pampaso were experiencing severe hardship; basic amenities like clean water, shelter and food were unavailable to many. Those who keep up to date with this award programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, might remember that these two students decided to launch a campaign called Take Action, which enabled them to share the story of the Pampaso people with the general public.

The first stage involved actively encouraging people around the country to donate food and clothing to the area’s most impoverished families. Following this, they set to work on the second stage, which consisted of supporting a government-led school lunch programme that now provides Pampaso students with one nutritious meal each day, for free. Lastly, they spoke to many parents in the local community, and helped them to understand the importance of sending their children to school. At the end of the campaign, over 60 new students had enrolled in the primary and secondary schools, and had been provided with the necessary school supplies and uniforms.

Films by South African DofE participants showcased at Cannes Film Festival

Those who are familiar with the DofE, such as Tunde Folawiyo, may know that in South Africa, this scheme is known as the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment. It has been in operation in this country for over three decades, during which Tunde Folawiyotime it has helped countless numbers of young people to reach their potential. Last month, two participants from South Africa had the films they created as part of their Award activities screened at the famous Cannes Film Festival.

They were offered this opportunity by Films Without Borders (FWB), a UK-based organisation that decided to collaborate with the Award committee, in order to offer filmmaking classes to disadvantaged youths around South Africa. The two participants each made a 10-minute film, using the skills that the FWB staff had taught them over the course of several months.

The two finished pieces, entitled Finding Ubuntu – Township Heroes, and The Robertson Challenge, were filmed during the summer of last year. The latter was created at the Robertson correctional facility, by a local youth group and a number of inmates, and tells the story of a prisoner who wants to become a successful chef. The former was made in Cape Town, and is a collaborative effort, made by the students of St George’s Grammar School, Rustenburg Girls’ School, and Chrysalis Academy. It features a series of interviews with residents of the Gugulethu township, and focuses on understanding the concept of Ubuntu (which roughly translates as ‘human kindness’).

The CEO of the Award in South Africa, Martin Scholtz, spoke to the press about the films’ inclusion at the festival, noting that he and his team were ‘thrilled’ when they heard the news, and that the experience had inspired the two participants to continue exploring the art of filmmaking through the Award programme.

The two films were showcased at the Cannes Film Festival in May; anyone with an interest in this subject, like Tunde Folawiyo, will know that this is an extremely prestigious event, which has been held each year since 1946. FWB, which helped the Award participants to create these films, is a registered UK charity that offers filmmaking workshops to teens aged between 15 and 19. It has worked with disadvantaged youths in Palestine, Rwanda and Israel, as well as South Africa, and since 2010 has received support from the Earl of Wessex.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Africa

As one of the world’s leading initiatives to engage with, and promote positive accomplishments amongst the world’s youth population, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has continued to inspire and help young Tunde Folawiyopeople achieve their potential throughout the world. In no other region has this been more apparent than in the continent of Africa.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award empowers those between 14 and 25 years old to be active, enthusiastic contributors to the world around them. In Africa this has culminated in a variety of initiatives and projects set up across many different countries in that region. Those who run the awards hope that through engaging with young people in numerous places, that the biggest possible positive impact can be made. The success of the organisation can be seen through a range of impressive statistics which show that each year 300,000 people take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, many of whom come from difficult or underprivileged backgrounds.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has a team operating in Africa which has had a significant number of successes. This team coordinates with projects across the African continent ensuring that an increasing number of young people in that part of the world have access to the life affirming, confidence building, and fun activities which are offered by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Edwin Kimani and Martin Matabishi, in their capacities as the Africa Regional Director and Africa Regional Programme Manager respectively, work with 21 national operators across the continent as well as a further 20 independent Duke of Edinburgh’s Award centres.

Initiatives carried out in Africa have included engaging with communities in Ghana through a charity called Village by Village. Through volunteering with this organisation, individuals under 25 can add this achievement to their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Volunteers contribute their time to help teach English to children of West African communities in Ghana, assist construction workers to complete the important amenities and buildings required for the region to prosper, coach children in a variety of sports, assist professionals in providing health care and health clinics, offer business advice to developing businesses, or capture the spirit of Africa in photographs which will go on to promote the cause.

Initiatives such as Village by Village show the impact that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has on an international level, providing both, philanthropic services, as well as helping young people develop into well rounded and conscientious adults.

Operating since 1956, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offers a World Fellowship initiative where successful business people and philanthropists such as Tunde Folawiyo (for more information please visit this Tunde Folawiyo bio) continue to contribute their time and resources to helping the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award change the lives of as many young people as possible, for the better.

How the DofE is helping to rehabilitate young offenders

Those who are familiar with the DofE, such as Tunde Folawiyo, may know that whilst many of its participants are school-going teens, in recent years, the programme has also been made available to young offenders. These people are offered the chance to complete each stage of the Award whilst they serve Tunde Folawiyotheir sentences. This supports the rehabilitation process, as it gives them a sense of achievement, builds their self-esteem, and provides them with practical skills which will allow them to make better choices after they are released.

Danielle is a young woman from the UK who was given a two-year sentence when she was 17. Prior to her this, she had been involved in the DofE; and although she didn’t initially want to continue with it, her Award Leader encouraged her to carry on with the programme whilst she was at the juvenile detention centre.

Danielle followed her leader’s advice, and over the next year, she finished her Physical, Service and Skills activities, eventually going on to receive her Gold Award. After her release, she completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Psychology, and she now has a career as a youth worker. In addition to this, she also serves as an Award leader at her local youth centre, and has been selected as the representative for the UK DofE Award at the Canadian IGE (International Gold Event.

Danielle’s inspiring story is just one example of many around the world. As Tunde Folawiyo is no doubt aware, young offenders in South Africa are also offered the chance to get involved in the DofE. Erol De Souza completed his Award in 1994, three years after he had been sent to St Albans correctional centre. Receiving the Award in the presence of Nelson Mandela was a great honour, and inspired Erol to continue serving as a fieldworker for the DofE after his release, as he wanted to make sure that other young offenders knew that there was hope, that they could still go on to achieve great things. In an interview, he noted that the Award dramatically reduced re-offending rates, and that true rehabilitation was only possible in prisons where this programme and others like it, were offered to inmates.

Paul Reynolds is another success story from the UK; he began to participate in the Award when he was midway through his sentence. As a result of the DofE, he was able to organise fundraising events, which generated a significant sum of money for several children’s charities. He explained that the Award changed his outlook entirely, giving him the confidence to believe that he can do something good with his life, both during his incarceration, and after his release.

Folawiyo has supported the work of the DofE for some time now. Those who wish to learn more about him should take a look at the bio on Tunde Folawiyo in Business Week.