The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, shortened DofE, is a charitative programme founded by Queen’s Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It is initially the “County Badge Scheme” project introduced in 1956 and developed by Prince Philip to become the well-known youth training association of today.
This charitative programme is accessible for young aged between 14 and 24. It was at the beginning destined for boys with the aim of attracting those who didn’t want joining one of the British youth movements such as The Scout association. A year after its creation, girls could also join in.
The DofE programme has been created in order to develop the potential of young people, by broading their mind and body and by encouraging them in their self esteem. The DofE also exists to create positive changes in young people’s lives and according to former participants, it is a memorable adventure, an experience full of discoveries and propitious for their future life as social citizens.
The challenge that the association offers consists of three different levels. The first two levels, the Bronze and the Silver levels, are based on four different types of activities (Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition). At the third level, the Gold level, it exists a further one: Residential. Physical is the improvement of a sportive activity, Skills consists of the internal development of the participant and Expedition is the realisation of a journey in the world. The last criteria, Residential, involves a stay around the world to participate in a shared activity. When a level is completed, the young receives an Award, the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award, depending on the fulfilled level.
The two other things to do to achieve an Award are to complete an enrolment form and to pay a DofE participation fee. This rises to £14.000 for the Bronze and the Silver Awards and to £20.000 for the Gold Award. Participants have to show regular activity, at least one hour per week. They must complete their DofE level before their twenty-fifth birthday. Moreover, each section must be done for a minimum period of time and the participants must be assessed by someone who has knowledge or experience of that activity. It will take at least six months to complete the Bronze or the Silver level if the Bronze is already completed. To reach the Gold Award, it requires at least twelve months or if the participant didn’t achieve the Silver level, eighteen months.
The DofE is supported by many celebrities who attend the ceremonies and who help to increase the organisation’s popularity.
This programme, developed in the United-Kingdom, has also existed in other countries such as Australia, Canada or Jamaica. They adopt different names but the Awards Programme remains the same. Since its creation there have been around 275,000 participants taking part in the United-Kingdom’s DofE programmes and globally 850,000 participants in the 132 other countries offering such a youth association.