For 12 years now, the State Centre for Education has been implementing the Duke of Edinburgh’s International youth self-development programme Award in Latvia, which for four years now has also been supported by the British Council Latvia.
The objective of this programme is through non-formal education to enable young people aged 14 to 24 to develop their own self – growth, to prepare themselves for independent life, actively comprehend and create environment, while also contributing to unification of society.
During these three years since the beginning of co-operation with the British Council Latvia, Award programme has had the opportunity to study the motivation of adults to perform the duties of Award leaders, as well as to reach future leaders from different regions of Latvia. Thanks to the co-operation, the Award programme is more accessible to young people from regions that are often socially excluded and with fewer opportunities than those living in the capital of Latvia or in other major cities.
During the project, young people worked together with their mentors in local communities, as well as participate in annual events, such as Rīga running marathon, clean-up at the Garden of Destiny, as well as the annual awards ceremony. At the Award ceremony, young people receive bronze, silver and gold badges of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for hard work and commitment to goals.
In 2018 and 2019, with the support of the British Council, summer camps for young people took place, allowing existing and future Awards participants to work together, support each other, and learn about the experiences of international participants. For example, in summer camp of 2018 there were 52 young people from 16 different municipalities of Latvia, the UK, Malta, the Netherlands, Finland and Turkey and 15 Award leaders, while in 2019 summer camp “#WorldReady” 50 young people participated from 16 municipalities of Latvia – Rīga, Jelgava, Ventspils, Aglona, Alsunga, Auce, Babīte, Carnikava, Cēsis, Daugavpils, Dobele, Gulbene, Ikšķile, Mārupe, Preiļi and Saldus.
The camp’s programme was based on international Award structure and principles. Each day of the camp was linked with one of the Award fields – physical condition, skills, volunteering or adventure travel. All young people activities were like challenges, if accepted, they presented new friends, helped to become braver, more confident, competent, and open to others and, of course, delivered new experiences.
Several examples of the tasks:
- Mastering and improvement of 21st century skills and knowledge – goal planning, use of the digital tools, employment of environmentally friendly resources, debates and improvisation.
- Introduction to British, Dutch, Maltese, Finnish and Turkish culture.
- The endurance test on a hike to Vidzeme rocky seashore.
- Conversations with Award leaders, participants of Award Latvia leaders’ experience exchange seminar, with the support of which each young person established an individual growth programme for the following 6 months.
In May 2019, a training “Creating Youth Self-Growth Activities” took place, where Award leaders and Award winners developed ideas for their activities, in order to implement them in the future. As a result of the training, 11 activities will be implemented in 2019.