Going for Gold in Africa

Chris and Matt at graduation

New graduates Matt Levett and Chris Detsicas will be going on an African adventure this summer as part of their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold awards.

The trip will include an expedition on foot along the coast from South Africa to Mozambique and back, visiting a school and an orphanage, taking part in a game ranger basic skills course and being challenged to live on one rand per day.

Matt explained; ‘The main challenge is not physical, it is being in a completely difference culture for three weeks. We are well prepared and have had a training expedition near Calais, where the beaches and sand dunes are similar to the terrain we will encounter in Africa.’

Both Chris and Matt have recently graduated from the Computer Science with a Year in Industry BSc programme. They have raised money for the expedition by working their way through university but will be supported by a contribution from the School of Computing.

Matt’s summer will also include time at the University of Kent campus in Brussels where he was successful in gaining a place on the International summer school and will be studying politics.

The DofE programme has four sections, volunteering, physical, skills and expedition. To achieve the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, a young person must spend 12 months volunteering, at least six months on the physical and skills sections and take part in an expedition of at least four days and three nights. In addition they must take part in a residential section, doing a shared activity with people they they know.

In a statement in 2010, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh said: ‘The four sections of the DofE encourage young people to discover for themselves the satisfaction of giving back to society through volunteering; of developing new skills; of taking part in a physical activity, and the pleasure of discovering the countryside, or the sea, by planning and executing a challenging expedition.  These experiences teach more general lessons and serve as a practical demonstration of what can be achieved through determination and persistence.’