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The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

 

“Proud to be doing”

 

One of the most exciting opportunities and challenges a child can take on at St Paul’s is the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. St Paul’s is the only school that runs the DoE with such depth, and including so many participants. Designed to develop an individual’s strengths and character, it also enables participants to go on and make a difference in the community which they live, and globally.

The Award is divided into three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. It takes a participant four years to complete all three levels. At St Paul’s it is introduced in Grade 8 so that most students complete their Gold Award before Grade 12.

The Bronze and Silver students are expected to engage in a Skill, a Sport, Community Service and an Expedition. The Gold Level takes two years to complete and includes a Residential Project. Each level has specified hours to attain for each section and every hour of each activity is recorded in a logbook and monitored by the participant’s assessor on a weekly basis as well as an Award instructor on a monthly basis. Once the participant has successfully completed these requirements he/she gains the Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award students are able to experience the rich diversity of Namibian landscape as they attend bonding weekends and the expedition required of each level, as well as the Residential Project. Bronze Award expeditions include hikes on Namibgrens or the reserve around Anib Lodge in the south. A highlight is the Orange River paddling expedition for the Silver Award. The Gold Award hiking expeditions have taken students to the mountains of the Cape, Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast, Luderitz and the Sperregebied as well as the most recent, an exploration which included a variety of activities such as cycling, go-karting, hiking and investigating a plant species in the Luderitz area.
An important aspect of the Award Programme scheme is a regular commitment to Community Service. The climax of this is seen in the Residential Project. Participants choose a community or school in a specific location to whom they can provide assistance. They establish what the group needs and then collect funds for this project. The DoE students then live and works in the community. St Paul’s has worked closely with the Okaukuejo Primary School to improve their facilities and to assist in their education by teaching and providing them with educational material. We have also built a hide for research, and improved picnic sites in Etosha National Park. Regular clean up sessions and the painting of road signs in the southern part of the Park have been done by our students. REST, a vulture retreat, has also benefitted from the Award Scheme. Students have created walking trails and assisted in teaching children about NARREC, the Bird Rehabilitation Centre in Brakwater.

A parent at the College has talked about her experiences of the programme, “The DoE was one of the main attractions for me in sending my child to St Paul’s. Not naturally very organized, he had to work hard to keep up his log book, and there were times I thought he wouldn’t make it! But the wonderful trips he has experienced across Namibia, the benefits of special friendships made in the group, and of course the added bonus that so many GIRLS complete the Award has made it a real win for him! I know it will stand him in good stead.”

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