At 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.