ENCOURAGING YOUTH PARTICIPATION TO ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is Youth Civic Engagement – the engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. The International Youth Day 2015 campaign aims at promoting civic engagement and participation of youth in politics and public life so that young people can be empowered and bring a full contribution to society, development and peace.
“International Youth Day is an incredibly positive campaign to encourage youth to build upon their self-esteem and skills development. Youth are very much a vehicle for change and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is truly an exemplary example of youth engaging with their local community on a number of levels including volunteering, social engagement, leadership and the overall growth of social capital.
Locally The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award celebrates and promotes youth engagement particularly in seeking inclusiveness. It achieves its civic engagement not only through the balanced program of activities required by the 14-25 year old youth undertaking the individual challenge but through the approximately 80,000 volunteers that work closely with these 35,000 youth participants as their mentors and activity assessors. Inclusion and access are a major priority for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award “young people regardless of location and personal circumstances are supported to take up the challenge and in doing so become more confident individuals and in turn agents for positive change” said Peter Kaye AM, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Australia.
As a non-formal education program available to youth in over 140 countries, over one million young people engage with their local community when they undertake the five sections of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Service, Physical Recreation, Skills, Adventurous Journey and Residential Project.
Team building and social cohesion are significant outcomes of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award operating in a local community.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a leading youth development program that empowers all young Australians to explore their full potential, regardless of their location or circumstance. Every young person aged 14-25 who takes part learns a skill, improves their fitness, volunteers in their community and completes an adventure.
They are supported by a network of adult mentors. Through this challenging journey of self-discovery, Participants are equipped and empowered to achieve their personal best, to take ownership of their goals and life choices and become actively engaged within the community and workforce.
Run through schools, universities, indigenous communities, new refugee support programs, defence cadets, uniformed youth organisations, prisons, youth development centres and community organisations, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award participation is available in cities, rural and remote areas. With three progressively more challenging levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award celebrates and recognises each Award as the improvement of an individual through persistence and achievement.
Today over 143 countries have adopted The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program and more than 8 million young people have participated worldwide. Locally over 700,000 young people have participated in the Award in Australia in the past 50 years, with on average 40,000 very diverse participants annually working towards achieving an Award and in the process discovering the personal and community benefits of volunteering.