22 Nov 2017


GEMS Nairobi Joins The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

This year, GEMS Nairobi became an accredited Duke of Edinburgh Award Centre meaning the school is licensed to deliver the award programme to its students. Under the leadership of Mr Michael Muteshi, an award recipient himself, the school is keen to have our students participate in this world wide recognized award scheme to support their personal development and as a result boost their chances of enrolling in great universities worldwide and leverage themselves positively in the job market.

The Duke of Edinburgh award operates locally as The President’s Award. The names of individual Award Operators often differs from nation to nation, but the Award and its unique reputation with employers, policy makers and leaders in society remain unchanged and consistent.

Since its launch over 60 years ago, the Award has inspired millions of young people to transform their lives. Through non formal education, the Award plays a critical role in a young person’s personal development and is achievable by any 14-24 year old who want to take up the challenge. The Award has transformed the lives of millions of young people in more than 140 countries and territories worldwide.

How the Award works

There are three levels to the Award:

  • Bronze- For those over 14 years. 6 months minimum participation required.
  • Silver- For those over 15 years. 12 months minimum participation required.
  • Gold- For those over 16 years. 18 months minimum participation required.

Each level of the Award has four sections:

  1. Service
    The Service section of the Award encourages young people to volunteer their time  and understand the benefits of this service to their community.Participants are required to give service (volunteer) over a set period of time that enables them to experience the benefits that their service provides to others.
  2. Skills
    The Skills section of the Award encourages the development of personal interests and practical and social skills.The Skills section provides the opportunity for a participant to either improve on an existing skill, or to try something new. As with the other Sections of the Award, a level of commitment is required over time to progress a skill. It leads to a sense of achievement and well-being, and possibly improved employability through the development of life and vocational skills.
  3. Physical Recreation
    The Physical Recreation section of the Award encourages young people to participate in sport and other physical recreation for the improvement of health and fitness.Encouraging healthy behaviours has benefits, not only for participants but also for their communities, whether through improved health, or active participation in team activities. This Section specifically aims to improve the health, team skills, self-esteem and confidence of participants.
  4. Adventurous Journey
    The Adventurous Journey section encourages a sense of adventure and discovery whilst undertaking a team journey or expedition. As part of a small team, participants plan, train for and undertake a journey with a purpose in an unfamiliar environment.The journey can be an exploration or an expedition but must be a challenge. The aim of this Section is to provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the wider environment, as well as to develop their self-confidence, team work and health. Participants are taken out of their comfort zone but kept within a safe and secure setting, achieved through suitable training and supervision.

GEMS students are enrolling and are excited about the learning and personal growth opportunities the Award presents them. With the guidance of their patron, Mr Muteshi they are creating personal programmes based on their individual objectives. We look forward to seeing the difference participants will make within GEMS and in the wider community and will document their journeys on this platform.

For more information on the award visit:


“Not all learning happens in the classroom. Young people need experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of the world.”

This how Mr Michael Muteshi, patron of the Duke of Edinburg Award, GEMS Nairobi Chapter begins the short interview at the GEMS computer lab. Mr Muteshi is of course, the ICT teacher at GEMS Nairobi.

Q: What is the Duke of Edinburgh Award?

A: The prestigious Duke of Edinburgh International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award. It challenges participants to sharpen their skills, engage in community development activities, keep physically fit and explore their surroundings; the award equips young people for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests.

Q: Is it British?

A: The name tells you the roots of the Award. At inception (in 1956) The Duke, Prince Philip, together with German Educationalist Kurt Hahn, were keen to influence the holistic development of the youth. The Award has since spread all over the world (over 120 countries). In Kenya, it is better known as The President’s Award and was launched in 1966 by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, our first president and patron of the Award.

Q: Who is illegible to participate?

A: The Award is available to all young people aged 14 to 24. It is voluntary, non-competitive, enjoyable and balanced, and requires sustained effort over time.

Q: Won’t taking part take time away from the clubs and activities that they are engaged in?

A: Certainly not! The Award encourages young people to design their own programme of activities, set their own goals and challenge themselves to achieve their aims. It doesn’t take away from their other activities because the participants achieve points for pursuing those very activities on and off campus.

Mere participation in club activities e.g swimming, cookery or any skill they are building is not enough. They are required to show progress. The Award is non-competitive therefore individual’s success is not pegged on their performance relative to their peers but on their commitment to achieve set goals.

Q: How does the Award benefit students?

A: The main reason why the Duke of Edinburgh started the award was his desire to see the youth use their skills to impact their communities positively. Performance in class is of course paramount. However, when applying to universities, the student needs to differentiate him/herself from other top performers. Good grades alone will not make one an outstanding candidate. The Award inspires students to perfect their talents and skills, give back to the community, take good physical care of their body and it also opens their minds by requiring them to explore. Employers all over the world recognize the award. This  gives participants an edge over their peers in the job market. Duke of Edinburgh awardees are known for team spirit and great leadership skills. I too am an awardee and believe that the award has played a big a role in my career.

Q: What is GEMS CIN’s involvement with the award?

A: GEMS CIN became an accredited Award Centre in 2017. This means that we are licensed to deliver the award with the assistance of the award foundation of course. One of the requirements is to have a member of staff who is a recipient of the award.

Q: How does one join?

A: Students need to simply register. Thereafter, I will assist them in developing their personal programme.

For more information on the Award programme at GEMS, contact Mr. Muteshi

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