Over the past six decades, the Duke of Edinburgh Award has become one of the UK’s most successful youth development programmes. Those who are familiar with the DofE, like Tunde Folawiyo, will probably know that its popularity overseas has also increased considerably in recent years; today, more than 120 countries participate in the DofE.
The enthusiasm for this award abroad has been astounding, with the participating nations taking a very active and engaged approach to their involvement. In Australia for instance, a brand new DofE committee has just been formed in Queensland. Those appointed will be expected to not only promote the award itself, but also to oversee all aspects of the programme, so as to ensure that everything – from the fundraising, to the supervising of activities – goes according to plan.
The committee members will hold these positions until December of 2015. This development was announced by John-Paul Langbroek, who serves as the Australian Education, Training and Employment Minister. Speaking to the press about the committee, Langbroek stated that he hoped these newly appointed people would bring ‘fresh ideas’ which will improve the quality of the programme.
As a supporter of youth development, Tunde Folawiyo might be aware that whilst Australia has been involved in the DofE for several decades, other countries like Bulgaria are still relative newcomers to the award, having first joined just five years ago. The programme was introduced to Bulgaria via an organisation called Future Now 2006, but only received its conditional license last month.
The bestowing of this license took place in the capital, Sofia; Jonathan Allen, the Queen’s Ambassador for Bulgaria was in attendance at this event. In a blog post he later published, he explained that this was not merely a work obligation he had to fulfil, but a ‘personal pleasure’, as he himself had taken part in the programme during his teens, and had learned a number of important lessons as a result of this participation. The President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, also attended the event, so as to show his support for the award. It is hoped that the launching of this programme in Bulgaria will help young Bulgarians to achieve their professional aspirations, and encourage them to become more involved in the charity sector, which is reliant upon voluntary workers.