2023 -2025 English Access Microscholarship Program (Access)

U.S. Mission to Kenya

30 April 2023
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The US Embassy, Public Diplomacy Section (PDS Nairobi) invites interested applicants to submit proposals from implementing partners for 2023 -2025 English Access Microscholarship Program (Access). Those interested in applying should carefully read the description below and the Access handbook: https://Handbook.Access-Program.org. Those interested should send their proposals to the Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy, Nairobi no later than midnight, April 30, 2023, via email at nairobigrants@state.gov. Further steps include drafting a detailed proposal to be entered into the Access proposal portal, which is overseen by FHI-360, the U.S. Department of State's U.S.- based Access grantee. The period of performance is to begin in September 2023.

Priority Region: Kilifi and/ Nyanza Region

Program Objectives:

The goal of the Access Program is to provide participants with improved skills that contribute to building more resilient, engaged, and prosperous communities that are more aware of, and better connected to, U.S. culture. While the direct recipients of the scholarships are the students, the impact of the Access program should extend to families, communities, educators, and institutions.

During the life of the program, Access students will:

1 Be given a foundation of English language skills.

Equipping students with English language skills can increase their competitiveness in the job market, allow them to expand their network, build people-to-people connections, empower them to read and understand a wide variety of sources, and make students more competitive for future U.S. Department of State and other exchanges.

  1. Gain an appreciation for U.S. culture and democratic values

A key element of the Access Program is to familiarize students with important features of U.S. culture and democratic values to encourage mutual understanding between the U.S. and the host country. Students are encouraged to develop respect for and interest in other cultures, customs, and beliefs. Partners are encouraged to thoughtfully design their curriculum to integrate the following topics: global citizenship, critical thinking, environmental awareness, human rights, U.S. democracy and government, U.S. civil society, diversity and tolerance, U.S. History, U.S. education system, U.S. family and relationship values, U.S. and global gender issues, U.S. and global health, and other STEM subjects.

  1. Develop digital literacy skills

In addition to learning general computer skills, using, and understanding a wider variety of informational technologies has become essential to a young person’s personal and academic future. Applicants must demonstrate that they can prepare program participants for an ever-changing digital world by improving participants’ ability to;

a) find, evaluate, and critically analyze online information for its trustworthiness and accuracy,

b) to connect and collaborate with others in and outside their Access group, and

c) create and share content. The underpinning of this effort should focus on gaining the appropriate skills to build a positive online identity and understanding the features of a safe and secure online identity.

  1. Participate in personal development activities

The Access Program seeks to foster students’ personal development by building balanced intellectual and emotional capabilities to better prepare them for future academic and professional endeavors. Students should be introduced to topics such as lifelong learning, career development and employable skills, critical thinking, self-confidence, leadership skills, emotional literacy and self-awareness, higher education and employment tracks and trajectories, and U.S. government-sponsored exchange program options.

  1. Take part in Service-Learning activities

Service-learning is a teaching approach that combines specific learning objectives with service to the community to provide a learning experience in which students develop new skills and a deeper understanding of their community and environment. Students must be actively involved in the service-learning project planning process and should;

a) lead the assessment of community and environmental needs,

b) design the project to address the community and environmental need, and

c) reflect before, during and after the service experience.

In addition, service activities should be designed to meet specific learning objectives as well as empower the students with the skills of researching, planning, implementing, monitoring, and reflecting. It is important for students to use English as much as possible while completing their service-learning project.


The Access program should be a model of excellence for host communities in several ways. In terms of the learning experience for the participants, partnering institutions should ensure that classes be learner-centered, making full use of modern approaches that maximize the participants’ hands-on usage of language (in contrast to a more passive learning experience that is teacher-centered and lecture-driven). Such innovations as project-based and task-based learning are well-suited to this overall approach. Classes should be no larger than 20 students and aim for gender balance.

  1. After-School/Weekend Instruction (mandatory)

The Access Program must deliver 360 hours of total instruction reasonably distributed over the two-year period. Providers are required to complete (at minimum) 180 or more hours of instruction per academic year. The first component of the 360 hours should be in English classes meeting at least twice per week. The majority of the program’s hours will be in this component. Each After School class should be at least 60 minutes (not shorter “academic” hours) and not longer than 120 minutes. After School classes should take place at least two days a week and ideally not more than 3 days a week. Please note that additional justification in the proposal is needed if the program plans for students to attend the Access Program for more than 10 hours per week. It is the responsibility of the Provider to consider the schedule of the students, especially during the initial recruitment phase, to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school schedule. Access Programs should also include computer instruction to complement English language classes and enhancement activities. Computer classes, multimedia learning, or social media activities during after-school Instruction and/or intensive sessions should be included in the proposal.

  1. Enhancement Activities (Mandatory)

The second component of the 360 total hours will be enhancement activities. These activities are aimed at fostering Kenyan-U.S. cross-cultural understanding, as well as developing other key global citizenship skills, such as community service and leadership. These activities are an opportunity for educators and students to be creative and extend the language learning experience beyond the classroom walls. The hours used for such activities will be counted as part of the total 360 hours of the program. Enhancement activities are usually between 1.5 to 4 hours and must occur regularly throughout the two years of the program, including during after-school Instruction. Topics to include U.S. History, U.S. Popular Culture, U.S. Education, Gender Issues, the Environment, Ethnic Tolerance, Democracy, and Civil Society. Activities that are designed to provide hands on and interactive opportunities for students to engage in discussions, games, trips to museums, workplaces, theaters, celebrations of U.S. holidays such as hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or a Fourth of July picnic; writing and producing skits about key events in U.S. History; talent shows in which Access students perform songs by U.S. musicians; science-themed activities relating to environmental issues; and inviting guest speakers to discuss aspects of life in the U.S. such as ethnic diversity and tolerance. Other possibilities include civic outreach activities such as volunteering at nearby orphanages, homes for the elderly, or organizing the cleaning of a nearby park or forest. In-school activity possibilities include filming role-plays, hosting a visiting speaker from the U.S. Embassy or local community, creating a web page in the computer lab, creating a program newspaper, or celebrating a key U.S. holiday such as Martin Luther King Day.

Access students should also be involved in community service activities to increase their awareness of social and environmental issues facing their respective communities while also gaining an understanding of the ways they can positively contribute to civil society. Access programs must improve the students’ digital and critical media literacy skills. Possibilities include making use of guest experts to teach students about these topics, asking students to take turns reviewing tools and resources that may help them better understand an issue in their community, allowing students to create their own websites, such as a Google site, or e-portfolios, volunteering at a nearby senior citizens home, tutoring primary school students in English, and organizing the cleaning of a nearby park or forest.

Where possible, appropriate, and relevant, partners should:

· Find ways to ensure that activities have a long-lasting impact (through multiple visits over several months) rather than taking a once-and-done approach.

· Collaborate with U.S. Embassy personnel, U.S. English Language Fellows, Fulbright exchange participants and/or Peace Corps volunteers.

In addition to these learner-focused components, two additional components are as follows:

§ Professional Development for English Educators (encouraged)

Access partners are to ensure that the educators chosen to work with the Access students are professional English teachers who are well-equipped with a strong understanding of - and experience using - the most recent approaches in the field. In addition, Access implementing teams should be dedicated to lifelong learning and work collaboratively with the U.S. Embassy and other Access sites to continue learning about, trying, and sharing new ideas. In addition to providing professional development opportunities to the Access teachers, partners should provide ongoing opportunities to share best practices with a wider community of teachers. Two main groups consist of the English teachers at the schools from which the Access students are recruited, and future teachers enrolled in nearby teacher training schools or universities with majors related to English language teaching.

§ Community Outreach

The Access Program site should serve as a model classroom. Efforts should be made to reach parents and other English teachers in the community, as well as include teachers of other subject matters, administrators, English Language Fellows, alumni, etc. in the Access experience, where appropriate. While it is understandable that such efforts should not interrupt instructional hours, a plan should be made to reach out several times during the Access program to key groups that stand to gain from being informed about the unique program. Examples include holding a workshop for parents addressing how to support a child during the Access implementation period, a workshop for future teachers at a nearby English language teaching department or for current teachers at the schools from which Access students have been recruited, and a meeting for administrators to better understand how to create stronger foreign language programs in their own schools.

  1. Intensive Sessions

The third component of the 360 hours of program instruction are two-week long intensive sessions that should not exceed 8 hours per day or 40 hours a week. Intensive sessions are immersive experiences that provide students with time to fully experience an English-medium environment outside of the classroom for a sustained period. These should be conducted at an off-site to create more opportunity for students to bond with their classmates. Intensive Sessions are typically between four-day to four-week long programs. Intensive Sessions can occur three (minimum) to eight (maximum) hours a day, and can be held at the beginning, middle, and/or end of the Access Program. In Kenya, students usually sleep over at the intensive session site and meals are provided. The aim of these sessions is to provide students with time to fully experience an English-medium environment outside of the classroom for a sustained period. A typical day should combine English Language learning instruction with US cultural activities such as drama, computers, art, music, games, team building, peace building, problem solving, and creative activities that allow the students to gain confidence in English and to consolidate the global citizenship skills that they have been learning during the entire program. All intensive sessions should provide students with a window on U.S. culture and values, and their activities as much as possible should incorporate invited speakers (e.g., U.S. exchanges alumni, Embassy personnel, and other native and non-native English-speaking partners, etc.). The most successful immersion experiences are those run primarily by the implementing partner itself, with outside individuals included as needed to support the Access teachers. In collaboration with the US Embassy, it is also possible to include an English Language Fellow, Specialist, Peace Corps Volunteer, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Access alumni, or other support.

Note that the total number of hours dedicated to enhancement activities and intensive sessions must not exceed 30% of the total time allotted to instruction (see Access Handbook for guidance).

Opening and Closing Ceremony

The date and time of both the opening and closing ceremony must be approved by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The opening ceremony should occur after the agreement has been signed and either before instruction begins or within 3 months of instruction starting. The closing ceremony usually occurs after instruction has finished and must be held before the end date of the agreement. The ceremony should be no longer than 2 - 3 hours.


PDS Nairobi encourages applications from Kenya-based organizations and educational institutions. Examples.• Kenya-registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience. • Kenya-based non-profit or governmental educational institutions; and • Governmental institutions

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19 April 2023