Just a few short years after the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was launched in the UK, word of this exciting new youth development programme began to spread overseas. A number of schools in other countries started to take an interest in it, and with some careful planning and preparation, their students were able to participate.
The trend of foreign schools and organisations joining in the DofE, and creating their own versions of this programme, continued to grow and by the early eighties, the DofE committee in the UK decided that it was time to hold an International Forum. In total, nineteen delegates attended; after lengthy discussions on the best ways to develop the programme overseas, they decided to re-designate the International Secretariat. Not long after this, they established the DofE International Award Association, whose work is now carried out by the highly-respected DofE International Award Foundation – a charity which Tunde Folawiyo may be familiar with.
These two organisations have made is considerably easier for young people around the world to get involved with the DofE. Currently, the programme has more than 850,000 participants worldwide, and since the DofE was first launched, approximately 8 million people have completed their bronze, silver and gold level activities.
Today, the staff at the DofE International Award Foundation work tirelessly to promote this programme in over 140 countries, giving young people the opportunity to participate – regardless of their circumstances or background – and preserving the integrity of the award itself. Whilst the Foundation has already achieved a great deal in this respect, its staff intend to help even more people to get involved. Their new business plan will enable the Foundation to raise awareness of the DofE in countries where it has not yet been launched and continue to improve the quality of the programme itself, both in the UK and abroad.
Those who are aware of this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, might know that the Countess and Earl of Wessex have also been doing their part to promote the DofE around the world, with the former having recently been named as the DofE International Award’s Global Ambassador. The couple have set off on a journey which will take them to the USA in late February, and Barbados and Jamaica at the beginning of March. Throughout the past 12 months, the Countess and the Earl have travelled to many other countries on behalf of the DofE International Award, including Zambia, South Africa, Canada and Hong Kong.