The Duke of Edinburgh International Award for Young People

Sara Drawwater
11 September 2013
Founded in 1956 by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, bringing together practical experiences and…

What is the Duke of Edinburgh Award?Founded in 1956 by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, bringing together practical experiences and life skills to create committed global citizens and equipping young people for life. Over eight million people have participated in the award in over 140 countries and territories. The award is an exciting self-development programme available to all young people aged 14 to 25 worldwide, equipping them with life skills to make a difference to themselves, their communities and the world.

The Award’s history in ZambiaThe Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award was founded in Zambia in 1989. A strong award programme existed in Zambia in the 1980s under the name “President’s Youth Award” whose Patron was the then Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. Deserving young people received awards from the President on Youth Day.

Although the concept of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was introduced to Zambia in September 1981, it was only in 1989 when the Zambian government decided to integrate it into the President’s Youth Award of Zambia. In 1990, a National Youth Award Committee was elected and operated under the National Youth Development Council (NYDC). In May 1991, a pilot project started with 50 young people. By December 1991, 30 young people had qualified for the Bronze Award. Zambia was given a provisional membership of the International Award Association at the 4th Forum held in November 1991 in Hong Kong.

In 1992, the National Youth Award Committee decided to change the name of the programme in Zambia from President’s Youth Award to National Youth Award Association to avoid possible political misunderstanding. In the mid-1990s, the Award got a new lease of life when private schools began to adopt the Award, reporting directly to the International Secretariat in London in the absence of a National Award Authority.

In late 2008, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development and the NYDC, with support from the Commonwealth Youth Programme Regional Centre for Africa (CYP) and the International Award Association (IAA) began the process of re-establishing a National Award Authority (NAA). Having a National Award Authority allows the programme to reach more young people from different backgrounds. The National Youth Award Committee is currently serving as the local Secretariat.

More about the AwardsThere are three Award levels — bronze, silver and gold. Participants must complete four sections at each Award level: service, skills, physical recreation and adventurous journey. In addition at Gold level, there is also a residential project.

Adventurous journey sectionIn Zambia, the qualifying Bronze expedition is set in hilly bush around Kundalila Falls. It is a great introduction to what the expeditions are all about and a taster for what’s in store at Silver and Gold level. The notorious Silver qualifying expedition is in the Serenje area and ends up at Chipota Falls. Chengelo School’s Gold participants found undiscovered cave paintings in the Mulungushi Dam area of Zambia. These have since been reported to the National Heritage Conservation Commission. They also found a perfect spot for a potential outdoor centre or tourist facility on the shores of Lake Tanganyika near the magnificent Kalambo Falls.

Residential project (at Gold level)Students live at a project site for two weeks and participate in all the activities. Students have been involved with street kids projects, orphanages, schools for the physically disabled, medical clinics and rural self-help schemes all over Zambia. For many it is the most meaningful, eye opening and rewarding aspect of the award.

2013 Duke of Edinburgh’s AwardsThis year, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award office in Zambia has appointed five ambassadors to help raise, support and upscale the International Award’s profile in Zambia. These ambassadors are Youth Activist Erasmus Mweene, local musician Pompi, Miss Tourism Zambia Winnie-Fredah Kabwe and past participants Olunga Otieno and Esanju Maseka.

How to get involvedInterested people can register with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Youth — Zambia secretariat situated at the Commonwealth Youth Programme offices at the University of Zambia (UNZA). People are welcome to come on board as participants, volunteers and partners.

The content of this article was provided by Cutting Edge PR, a partner in this year’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Cutting Edge PR is providing Public Relations and event management support of the Awards. Like the Cutting Edge PR Facebook page for updates on the awards and visit their webpage to find out more about them.

Don’t miss out on our next post when we introduce Zambia’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award 2013 ambassadors.