Since its establishment in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has proudly served the UK and other countries throughout the world as a means of encouragement. A beacon of hope for young people everywhere, the DofE continues to garner the support of worldwide advocates such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others.
While the DofE is today one of the world’s foremost organisations for youth development, its beginnings are less recognised. Founded by a small team of esteemed professionals, the DofE was conceived as a way of motivating and inspiring boys aged 15 to 18 to strive towards a strong sense of self during the often difficult years between adolescence and adulthood.
But although the DofE began with a focus on the betterment of young boys, it went on to accept both genders, with the girls’ scheme founded in 1958. In 1957 the age limit was raised to 19, gradually increasing before ultimately settling at 25. The changes paved the way for a new group of young adults striving to make a difference in their communities.
Over the years the DofE has grown exponentially into the internationally recognised programme it is today, reaching over 300,000 youths in over 120 countries throughout the world. In keeping true to its core values, the DofE continues to vigorously promote the areas of volunteering, unique skills, physical fitness and expeditions to encourage today’s young people to strive for a brighter tomorrow.
DofE participants must complete a range of training sessions and comprehensive assessments to demonstrate a great understanding of each section. With the exceptional guidance of their mentors, participants gain the information and leadership skills necessary to effectively accomplish the tasks at hand. DofE participants need to demonstrate their integrity in all that they do, from undertaking exciting activities to participating in charity work aimed at assisting their surrounding communities.
There are three DofE levels, with many participants judging the Gold level to be the most exciting. For this level participants take part in a Residential Project, embarking on an adventurous journey that sees them encountering new people, experiences and an unfamiliar environment vastly different to their own. Through the Residential Project, participants accomplish unique goals in order to gain a worldly perspective that undoubtedly leads to greater empathy and understanding of other cultures.
With the ongoing encouragement of the programme’s supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, the DofE will continue fostering the development of bright young minds throughout the world.