On July 10, 2014 the U. S. Embassy’s English Program Specialist joined administrators and teachers from the American Language Center (ALC) to visit the Access Program class ALC has been teaching at the Lycée Provincial in Koudougou. This class of 25 students just completed a special two-year program of English courses and educational activities funded by the United States government. The students performed a skit, sang songs, and told stories all in English. The visit was organized to meet the students, show U. S. Embassy and ALC support for their achievements, and assess the results of the training. Students also had an opportunity to give feedback in which they shared personal testimonies about how the Access Program has impacted their lives both academically and personally.
The English Access Microscholarship Program is the largest and most well-known youth engagement English program of the US government in Burkina Faso. The Access Program was launched in Burkina Faso 10 years ago. It has realized both tremendous growth and success over the past decade. Since 2004, 960 Burkinabe students have benefited from this program. This class visit is part of ALC’s strategy to ensure quality in its Access classes. It was also an opportunity to strengthen relationships with these 25 students outside the capital who are completing the program. It allowed the students to reflect on their experience in the Access Program. Several students expressed their thoughts to the whole group and the phrase they all repeated was, “Access has changed my life.” This group of students outscores all other classmates in English in their school. They have garnered the admiration and respect of their school mates. This visit was an important moment to validate their hard work and success, assess their English skills, and appreciate the positive impact of the Access Program on these Burkinabe youth.