Introduced in the United Kingdom in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has long served as a beacon of inspiration for youth across the world due in part to its many supporters, including those such as Tunde Folawiyo. Created by a small team of esteemed professionals, the award first began as a means to motivate boys aged between 15 and 18 to strive toward personal growth in the often difficult years between adolescence and adulthood. It is now opened to both genders as a girls’ scheme was launched in 1958. In 1957, the upper age limit was increased to 19 and gradually increased before settling at 25 in 1980, paving the way for a new era of young adults striving to make a difference.
Since its founding in 1956, the programme has grown into an internationally recognised programme that now reaches more than 300,000 young people in over 120 countries throughout the world. While the mission and goals of the Award are uniform internationally, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award carries many different titles including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; The President’s Award; The National Youth Achievement Award and The International Award for Young People.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is focused on promoting the areas of volunteering, physical fitness, unique skills and expeditions to encourage today’s youth toward a better tomorrow. Participants must accomplish a variety of trainings and successfully complete comprehensive assessments in order to prove a vast understanding of that particular subject. It’s through the guidance of mentors called “Assessors” and “Coordinators” that participants are provided the information and leadership needed to effectively accomplish each task at hand. From embracing new, exciting activities and taking part in organising and carrying out charity work to benefit surrounding communities, young people in the programme are held to a high standard of integrity.
Whilst there are various levels of accomplishment in regards to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the challenges set forth by the Gold Level are perhaps the most exciting to undertake. Deemed “The Residential Project” participants are encouraged to embark on an adventurous journey in which they will encounter new people and experience an unfamiliar environment vastly different to their own. Through the Residential Project, participants will meet new people, accomplish unique goals and explore life in an unfamiliar environment in order to gain a worldly perspective that will lead to empathy and understanding of other cultures. Through the continued encouragement of the programmes supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will continue to foster the development of bright young minds throughout the world.