The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award also known in Nigeria as the International Award for Young People Nigeria, last weekend hosted the first batch of public school Award participants for a three day practice expedition.
Over seven hundred participants between ages 14-24 from public senior secondary schools under Lagos State Educational District VI gathered at the NYSC Orientation camp ground in Iyana- Ipaja to undertake their practice expedition for the global Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.
Miss Toyin Odu, the National Director of The International Award for Young People Nigeria in an interview described the essence of the Award.
According to her, “the Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award available to all young people between the ages of 14-24. Our mission is to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognize their achievement. It is open to all young people from different backgrounds. While our balanced programs of activity develops the mind, body and soul”, she said.
Furthermore, the National Director highlighted the four sections of the Award; Skill, Service, Physical recreation and Adventurous Journey (expedition). “Basically they have to go through these four sections. The volunteering section is to help them promote service to humanity and their communities. The skill section is to help promote both practical and social skills of personal interests to them; we also have the physical recreation which is to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and the expedition where they practice, train and complete an adventurous journey. After they have completed these four sections, they earn a bronze, silver or gold Award”, the director added.
The excited participants, at the end of the three day camping exercise on Sunday did not hesitate to share their experiences as well as lessons learnt.
Eighteen year old Odas Destiny of Isolo Comprehensive Senior High School obviously left the camp in high spirits. “It feels good to be in a place as this and I can say I am fully satisfied with all that happened in camp. I actively took part in sports, football precisely and drama presentation. Generally, I learnt to be a good leader”.
Babatunde Goodness, aged 14 said, “it was great as I had a lot of fun. For me, the social night and the endurance walk were the parts I enjoyed the most. I learnt that I have to always be active and sound in order to contribute meaningfully to the society. I also learnt that a good leader must have charisma”, she said.
On the other hand, teachers who came to oversee the activities of their students also gave their views of the camping expedition. According to Mrs. Nkeiruka Nneoma from Isolo Comprehensive Senior High School, “what we came for is very important because education is not just about what we do in the classroom. The three basic dimension of education is mental, psychological and effective. Therefore with a gathering as this, the students will learn some skills as well as how to interact with themselves. In fact, they will come out better”, she assured.
Meanwhile, the National Director mentioned that the long term ambition of the Award is that by 2026, every eligible young person would have participated in the Award in order to enjoy its manifold benefits that include social inclusion, conflict resolution, and gender equality and reduced child offenders among others.
Report written by Samson Uwada (The Nations Newspaper)