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History and Philosophy


The Programme was launched in Mauritius in 1966 by two volunteers Mary Gold Humpries and Trevor Smith. In 1978, a Gold Award Holders’ Association was founded and Regional Award Committees were set up to extend the programme’s reach in all districts including Rodrigues.

The Patron of the Programme in Mauritius is the President of the Republic and its Honorary Chairman is the Minister of Youth and Sports.

The programme is operated through the National Award Committee under the Chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports comprising other Ministries, NGO’s and Private Sectors.

Chronological Development of the Award Programme in Mauritius:

1966 – Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme

1987 - National Youth Award

1993 – National Youth Award Scheme

1997 – International Youth Achievement Award

1999 – National Youth Achievement Award

2013 – Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award - Mauritius


The Award is about individual challenge. As every individual is different, so too are the challenges that young people undertake to achieve their Award. With guidance from their Award Leader, Assessor or other Award volunteers, each young person should be encouraged to examine themselves, their interests, abilities and ambitions, then set themselves challenges in four different sections of the Award. These challenges should require persistence and determination to overcome.

The Award Programme

Our Vision is for the Award to reach more young people from diverse backgrounds and equip them as individuals to succeed in life.

Our Mission is to promote the Award, provide young people with their Award programme, and preserve the quality of the Award worldwide so that delivery of the Award continues to be relevant to the aspirations of participants.


The Award’s constitution outlines the framework within which the Award is managed and delivered. The key elements of this framework are:

  • The International Declaration
  • The Fundamental Principles
  • The Operational Principles
  • The Code of Practice and The Reciprocal Participation 

The International Declaration - Article 1

The Award concept is one of individual challenge. It presents to young people a balanced, non-competitive programme of voluntary activities which encourages personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to their community. 

The Fundamental Principles - Article 2

The criterion for gaining an Award is individual improvement through persistence and achievement, taking into account the participant’s initial capabilities, and without any element of competition between participants.

Participation is entirely voluntary and the individual participant has a completely free choice in the selection of the locally available options within the four Sections.

There is no discrimination against participation on grounds of sex, race, religion or political affiliation. 

The Operation Principles - Article 3

Participants need to be between their 14th and 25th birthdays to be involved with the Award. 

The basic structure of the Award programme consists of the four mandatory Sections: Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation. There are three levels of Award: Bronze (for those over 14), Silver (for those over 15) and Gold (for those over 16).

The minimum period of participation for direct entrants to qualify for an Award is 6 months for Bronze, 12 months for Silver and 18 months for a Gold Award.

At Gold level, participants undertake a Residential Project away from home. 

The Code of Practice - Article 4

To maintain comparable standards of operating practice as advised by the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation’s staff.

To manage the Award Programme fairly and impartially in all aspects.

To ensure that the Award is freely available to all young people of the appropriate ages, regardless of their gender, race, religion, political affiliation or any other personal circumstances.

Reciprocal Participation - Article 5

All National Award Authorities agree, in so far as it is possible under national law, to allow participants from any other National Award Authority to take part in their Award, and undertake to recognise the validity of achievements recorded by other National Award Authorities.

Guiding principles

Our guiding principles have been established in order to ensure that a young person has a meaningful and purposeful journey through their Award, as well as ensuring that the impact of achieving their Award provides a lasting personal legacy.

Individuals design their own programme, which can be tailored to suit their personal circumstances, choices and local provision. They start at whichever level suits them best and they can take as long as they wish (within the age limit) to achieve their Award.

Non-competitive - Doing their Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others. Every participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect their individual starting point, abilities and interests.

Achievable - An Award is achievable by any individual who chooses to take up the challenge, regardless of ability, gender, background or location, with the right guidance and inspiration.

Voluntary - Whilst the Award may be offered within school, college, work time, custody or extra-curricular activity, individuals choose to do a programme and must commit some of their free time to undertake their activities.

Development - Participating in their Award programme fosters personal and social development. Individuals gain valuable experiences and life skills, grow in confidence and become more aware of their environment and community transforming them into responsible young adults.

Balanced - The Award provides a balanced framework to develop the individual’s mind, body and community spirit by engaging them in range of activities in up to five different challenges.

Progressive - At each level of engagement, the Award demands progressively more time, commitment and responsibility from the participant.

Inspiration - The Award inspires individuals to exceed their expectations. They are encouraged to set their own challenges and goals before starting an activity, aim for these goals and by showing improvement will achieve an Award.

Persistence - The Award requires persistence and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm. Participants are encouraged to continue with activities and to maintain their interest beyond their programme requirements.

Enjoyable - Participants and Leaders should find the Award enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.

The Levels - There are three levels of Award and at each level, participants should set themselves personal challenges in each activity.

At Northfields, we cover the BRONZE Award in Years 10 and 11.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Experience

‘I recently initiated the Junior Optimist Club and together with my team, we will be working to help the children of our community’.

Daniyal Bilal, Year 10