The International Award for Young People

The International Award for Young People is an exciting self-development programme available to all 14 to 25 year olds. Over 7 million young people worldwide have taken up the Award challenge. It was founded in the United Kingdom as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 1956.Then the aim was to motivate young people between the ages of 15- 18 to become involved in a balanced programme of voluntary self-development activities in four areas: Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation. The Award operates at three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Originally only for boys, it was rapidly extended to include girls and the top age extended to 25. It rapidly became international and is now available in 132 countries, 62 of them with a National Scheme.

The International Award was first introduced into Lithuania in the 1990s by the then British Defence Attach・ Lt Col Nigel Lang . Two schools in the Klaipeda region took part in the initial pilot project – they saw the benefits of the Award’s as students・self development and confidence grew, giving them impetus to continue the ethos within the schools. However, it proved difficult to establish a satisfactory link to the Award’s headquarters in London and the Award did not have a base for expansion and development.

The Tiltas Trust sought to reintroduce the Award and two more schools, Panavezys School No. 5 and Velzys School, volunteered to take part with initial funding and support from The Tiltas Trust.

In October 2006 during HM The Queen’s State visit, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh officially launched the International Award for Young People in Lithuania.

Training and advice has since been provided by International Award leaders for the Baltic based in Finland. A number of schools and youth organisations in Lithuania now hold Independent Operators licences, and have become convinced of the benefits derived by participants.

There remains a great need to advertise and promote the benefits of the Award to the general public, business corporations and universities so that young Lithuanians can take full advantage of what it offers. TTT sees this problem as one that needs now to be addressed by participants and leaders. Perhaps this is a challenge that could be taken up by those gaining the first Gold Awards in Lithuania?

In 2008-09 the Agency of International Youth Co-operation, financed by the Ministry of Education was able coordinate work for the International Award in Lithuania. Sadly due to financial restraints this funding is no longer available.

Statistics on the development of the International Award for Young People in Lithuania.

2007 – 21 Bronze Awards: 8 from Panevezys School No.5 and 13 from Gargzdai Krantas School. 3 institutions received licences.
2008 – 19 Bronze Awards: 13 from Gargzdai Krantas School, 4 from Panevezys School No.5 and 2 from Velzys School. 7 Institutions received licences and 84 students took part in the programme.
2009 – 41 licences, 144 participants, 70 Bronze Awards and 6 Silver Awards.
At this time there are 41 youth organisations holding licences, 30 are functioning.
During the year 2008-09 training and various events were organised in Lithuania and Finland.

Links:
International Award in Lithuania www.jaunimoapdovanojimai.lt
International Award website: www.intaward.org/