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.

DofE Silver level celebrations | Tunde Folawiyo

Like the other fellows that support the DofE, Tunde Folawiyo understands the importance of acknowledging the hard work that participants undertake to complete the Silver level activities. Many of those who have just joined the DofE programme dream of the day when they will be given their Silver certificate. It’s a great honour, and serves as proof of the recipient’s ability to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. To receive this award, participants who have already completed their Bronze activities must spend a minimum of six months on their Tunde FolawiyoSilver level activities, whilst those who have not received the Bronze award are required to spend at least a year at this stage.

Silver Award Presentations (often abbreviated to SAPs) are held five times a year, in order to publically acknowledge the hard work undertaken by DofE participants at this level. The support provided by organisations such as the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship, which fellows including Tunde Folawiyo support, and the help of Local Authorities is what allows the DofE committee to continue to hold these important ceremonies. Most participants will be invited to a SAP within six months of finishing their Silver activities, provided their licensed organisation has sent off their Silver Award Notification form for approval.

Recently, a ceremony of this kind was held for a group of young people from Yorkshire. In total, 36 participants received their awards, which were handed out by the DofE Regional Director Neil Forrest, the Lord Mayor of Bradford and Councillor Khadim Hussain. Speaking at the event, Councillor Hussain congratulated all of the recipients, praising them for their determination and hard work. He finished by saying that it was an impressive achievement, and that they should all be very proud of themselves. Neil Forrest was equally complimentary, stating that it had been wonderful to watch so many young people flourish and grow as individuals.

A similar event was held in Glasgow this month at the High Tunstall College of Science. Over the course of the evening, 18 students received their Silver awards, after having worked tirelessly for more than a year on their Volunteer, Skills, Physical and Expedition activities. The college’s assistant head teacher, Mick Fenwick, said that he and the other staff members were ‘extremely proud’ of the recipients, noting that their achievement was a testament to both the students and the teachers who were involved in the delivery of the DofE programme. One of the recipients, named Harriet, explained that her activities at Silver level had provided her with memories that she will treasure for the rest of her life.


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.