The Ghanaian version of the DofE – known as the Head of State Award Scheme – has been in operation since 1967. Over the decades, more than 180,000 young people have taken part in it, and in doing so, have developed the life skills and practical knowledge that they need to succeed in life. The scheme’s committee has created a framework for the individuals, which celebrates rather than suppresses the unique gifts that each individual participant has. With the support of volunteer leaders and stakeholders, they are now working hard to increase the number of young people in the scheme; within the next six years, they hope that at least 5% of those aged between 14-24 in Ghana will be involved.
Being from Africa, Tunde Folawiyo is doubtless aware that whilst young people account for approximately 26% of Ghana’s population, there are currently very few urban employment opportunities for those who are in their teens or early twenties. All too often, this band struggles to make enough money in order to survive. The Head of State Award Scheme gives these people hope, by providing them with experiences which not only build character, but also enable them to become skilled in whichever subject takes their interest. This in turn, increases their chances of finding better paying work.
A young woman named Charity serves as a shining example of how effective the scheme is in helping people to uncover their talents, and increase their self confidence. Prior to her participation, Charity was a very quiet and shy girl, who rarely gave much thought to how she could positively impact her school, or her local community. However, as she progressed through each stage of the Award, she became far more interested in helping others. As someone who is familiar with the DofE, Tunde Folawiyo understands how dramatically the volunteer section can affect a person’s outlook. The 70 hours which Charity spent volunteering in the Governmental Hospital made her more aware of, and compassionate towards those suffering from serious illnesses.
The skills which she acquired have also had an enormously positive impact on Charity’s life. As she completed this section at the GBC (Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation), she learned a great deal about things such as TV camera work, and photo journalism. The sports section – which she was initially less than enthused about – turned out to be a very enjoyable experience as well, and led to her not only becoming physically stronger, but also more disciplined and focused.
Folawiyo is a strong proponent of youth development programmes like the DofE. For further information about this entrepreneur, visit Slideshare Tunde Folawiyo page.