Duke of Edinburgh Award Continues Inspiring Youth

Tunde FolawiyoAt an exclusive gala at Windsor Castle sponsored by the Halcyon Gallery, the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship recently celebrated twenty-seven years of inspiring world youth. From its founding in the UK, it since has spread in various versions to 140 additional countries. Young people worldwide are participating in the program, and community leaders, in business, politics and education, are doing their part to support the programme globally. Supporters of the Duke of Edinburgh Award are dedicated to the enrichment of young people, including Tunde Folawiyo. Those interested can view this Tunde Folawiyo profile.

Award holders include 22-year-old Vionaver Booysen, of South Africa, who has earned all three awards available in the programme: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Booysen was raised in a situation of adversity, but felt a strong desire to work to make a better life for the people in her community. She became involved in a community-action organisation, of which she is now the Assistant Youth Coordinator. She remains active in The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment, the form the Duke of Edinburgh award has taken in South Africa.

Patricia Yeboah, a young woman from Ghana, used her work with the Duke of Edinburgh award to focus on issues faced by women in her local community. In Ghana, women have higher rates of illiteracy and fewer employment opportunities than men. Yeboah addresses the roles of women in her community by organising a photography club for young women. The group meets weekly to share their photography and their experiences, with half the costs of film printing covered by the Head of State Award, which is Ghana’s iteration of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The local school, which provides a space for the group to meet, says that the program is having a visible impact on the students’ well-being. Yeboah’s work has also increased local participation in the Head of State Award program.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme continues to grow. The World Fellowship promotes the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which was founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to award young people for living lives of service, acquiring skills, and learning about the world through travel and adventure. The programme has attracted over eight million participants worldwide.

Tunde Folawiyo | The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme – How does it work?

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is given to those aged between 14 and 24, who successfully complete a series of activities. These activities are designed to help participants develop character and confidence, and to teach them the value of hard work and persistence. They are provided with support throughout the course of their journey, ensuring that they have the guidance and encouragement that they need to accomplish their goals.

The programme is divided up into three levels, consisting of Bronze, Silver and Gold. Most begin by completing four sections at Bronze level; this can take up to six months. For those who do this, the subsequent level, Silver, will also take six months; however, there is an option for participants to
Tunde Folawiyojoin in this programme without completing the Bronze stage, in which case they are required to spend one year working on their Silver activities. The Gold level also takes a year to complete, although it will take slightly longer (18 months), if a person has not finished the previous two stages, or if they have only received the Bronze award.

Tunde Folawiyo understands that this award programme is unique, in that young individuals are permitted to tailor the activities to suit their personal preferences and circumstances. The type of activities undertaken can vary considerably, but will include learning a new skill (usually of a practical or social nature), providing a voluntary service, participating in challenging physical recreational events, going on an expedition, and getting involved in a residential project (the latter is reserved only for people who have reached the Gold level). The progress of each participant is carefully monitored and assessed by a person who has expertise in the selected activities.

The division of the activities into the five aforementioned categories ensures that participants receive a balanced learning experience, which will benefit both their mental and physical wellbeing, and help them to become well-rounded individuals.

Individuals including Tunde Folawiyo, have been assembled as Fellows of the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship, to promote diversity, and encourage all young people to participate for the Duke of Edinburgh award, regardless of their background, gender or particular skill sets. The flexibility of the entry paths and activity choices, coupled with the fact that the programme is widely available both in the UK and abroad, means that even those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds can get involved if they wish to. All that is required is commitment, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. As a prestigious and youth developing programme, Tunde Folawiyo and other Fellows of this programme can help to make a difference to the development of the younger generation of this time.