The Award Programme grew out of the efforts of three men, who were responding to a common anxiety about how best to engage young people. After the world wars there was a growing concern about the development of boys, due to the gap between leaving school at 15 and entering National Service at 18.
Against this backdrop Award was set up in 1956, by HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh, Kurt Hahn a German educationalist, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Everest.
Based on the philosophy of Hahn, founder and headmaster of Gordonstoun School in Scotland, the Programme was designed around four sections: Rescue & Public Service Training, the Expedition, Pursuits & Projects, and Fitness.
Although initially only available to boys aged between 14 and 18, there was great demand for a similar scheme for girls, and this was launched in September 1958. The Programme continued to evolve over subsequent decades, until 1980. At this point, the upper age limit was extended to 25, and the Programme took on its current four Section format of: Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation.
In Kenya, the Award was introduced in 1966 with Kenya's first president the Late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta becoming its first Patron and chief trustee. The Award has over the years extended its reach impacting the lives of nearly half a million people to date.
Currently there are over 40000 young people participating in the Award in over 750 schools, Universities, Middle level Colleges, Youth groups, rehabilitation centres and open Award Centres across the country.