Extending the reach of the Award throughout Nepal

Published: 6 Jun 2017

The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Nepal

Work to extend the reach of the Award has been a part of the Foundation’s mission since its inception. The establishment of the Award in Nepal has been a resounding success in terms of ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to allow more young people to take part and complete their Award.

In fact the Award has historical links to Nepal. After Lord Hunt led the first successful British expedition to Everest in 1953, he returned home to become a co-founder of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Sixty years later in 2013 the Award was a tried and tested framework and run in Nepal through a small number of Independent Award Centres. Although successful the Award was not having the best possible impact due to the very limited number of units, Award Leaders and participants. 

Becoming a national operator

Following discussions between CHANCE, the charity partner running the Award in Nepal at the time and the Asia Pacific Regional (APR) Office of the Foundation, it was decided that Nepal had the foundations in place to become a National Award Operator (NAO) and extend the Award across Nepal.

Chandrayan Shrestha, Chairman of Award in Nepal and the first ever Nepalese Award Leader explains why it was so important to reach many more young people.

“Around 2000 young people leave this country every day to work abroad without any skills or experience meaning they end up in low-skilled and poorly paid positions. The Award is critical in ensuring that these young people are better equipped with skills for life, giving them far better prospects for employment either abroad or at home.”  

With a Special Projects grant of £25,000 from the Foundation and £8,000 from CHANCE, Saksham Yuwa was set up as a local NGO to deliver the Award and received its licence from The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation in April 2016.

To aid the process, Rob Oliphant from the APR office undertook several visits to Nepal to train new Award Leaders and staff, to help set up the board and to work with the team to build the infrastructure required to run the Award at a national level.

Rob says, “The APR office has provided ongoing support to Nepal to establish an NAO. During this process we built a cooperative working relationship and I had the opportunity to share examples of best practice from other NAOs. Staff and Board members in Nepal showed an openness and willingness to work together to achieve the required standards for Nepal to be a national operator of the Award. Overall, it has been a very rewarding experience.”

The Duke ofEdinburgh's International Award Nepal

Looking to the future

Now the Award intends to follow the example of other countries and work through partnerships to expand their reach. Having recently signed an agreement with the Nepal Scouts, the two organisations intend to work together for mutual benefit. The Scouts have a big network across Nepal and provide the opportunity to reach new areas and increase the national recognition for the programme.

Since the establishment of the new NAO the number of Award units in Nepal has doubled. With only two dedicated members of staff, the Award in Nepal has big ambitions to reach over 2000 participants by 2020. However with the organisation’s solid foundation, based on knowledge learnt from other NAOs, the strong board, and the dedicated team of volunteers, there is every reason to believe they will reach their target. 

Find out more here about the Award in Nepal.