Supporters hear how Award helps girls “lead from the front”

Published: 10 Jun 2015

Irene Kamanda speaking at the World Fellowship annual dinner

“I am speaking of girls who are brought up knowing they are worth a few cows since that’s what their dowry is. They are there to be seen, not to be heard.”

Irene Kamanda, Award Leader and co-coordinator of the Award at Kisima Girls High School, Kenya, spoke with passion on Monday night to a room of Award supporters and their guests, who had gathered at Buckingham Palace.

“I have seen timid girls improve their self-esteem to levels that are unbelievable because they were given a chance by the Award to make decisions for themselves and organise their own schedule. Students who were truants and had difficulties settling down totally transformed to be responsible young people. I’ve seen leaders being nurtured. I have seen young people leading from the front knowing they have a role to play in their community.”

The 205 guests who attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award World Fellowship Anniversary Dinner also heard the words of Sarah, one of the young women Irene has supported through the Award, who explained: “It is through this award that my leadership skills were identified, sharpened and recognised as I led the school unit.” Sarah was not able to be in London for the event but guests were read her story.

Paul Green of Halcyon Gallery

The dinner is an annual event which welcomes new members of the World Fellowship and thanks existing ones. There are now over 400 active Benefactors, Fellows, Young Fellows and Members of the World Fellowship in 42 countries. Their donations enable the expansion of the Award, helping to deliver a life-changing experience to more young people like Sarah. The World Fellowship raises approximately £1.2million per year through its membership and events series.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh presented the newest members of the World Fellowship network with their gold pins, and thanked Harry Collins for his outstanding service as Chair of the World Fellowship. Guests also heard from Paul Green of Halcyon Gallery who is a World Fellowship Benefactor and an active supporter of the Award.

“During my Silver Award expedition, our Unit organised a peace walk to reach out to adults who had earlier in the year engaged in cattle-rustling and brought tension among the communities. Four hundred of us walked for over 100 kilometres. Along the way, we pleaded with the people to embrace peace for the sake of our generation and the future ones. The fact that we were their children, learning in the same institution yet not fighting each other, as the adults were doing, really touched them. Many joined us in this worthy cause.”

Sarah Ibrahim, 18, Gold Award holder from Samburu County, Kenya

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award equips young people for life and work. One of the areas in which we assess its impact is through gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Award can build young women’s self-worth, enabling them to make positive life choices and demonstrate their potential.


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