Country:  Burkina Faso

City: Koudougou

Burkina Faso, whose name means “country of men with integrity,” sits at the edge of the Sahel in the heart of West Africa. Despite being one of the poorest, least developed countries in the world, Burkinabe are known for their hospitality. They have very few natural resources but have managed to fashion a pleasant, culturally sophisticated country out of a challenging environment. Koudougou, where the Fellow project is hosted, is the third largest city in Burkina Faso with a population of about 150,000. It is located 100 km (62 miles) west of the capital, Ouagadougou. While there are no taxis in Koudougou, it is possible to get around by bicycle, motorbike, or car. There are several bus companies making daily trips between Koudougou and Ouagadougou. Koudougou is slower paced than the capital but has one of the best functioning universities in the country. Burkina Faso is famous for FESPACO, its international film festival, and SIAO, a panafrican artisan expo. Burkina Faso may only be the size of the state of Colorado, but it hosts over 100 festivals per year. Culture is king here and there is much to enjoy even in Koudougou which is home to the cultural event “Les Nuits Atypiques de Koudougou.” Koudougou has more limited amenities, restaurants, and entertainment options but Ouagadougou is not too far away.

Host Institution: Norbert Zongo University

The University of Koudougou (U of K), created in 2005, is one of several public universities in Burkina Faso. The total number of students and trainees is approximately 17,000, and includes a teacher training college for primary and secondary teachers, advisors, and inspectors. Five years ago, the U of K implemented a Bachelor’s-Master’s-Doctorate system which closely mirrors the U.S. higher education system. The next step for this progressive university is to move forward on its digital campus initiative, which will bring everything from on-line registration to distance learning. English is already taught in the various departments but the need for improved curriculum and techniques is urgent. The Fellow will continue to address these needs. In 2017, the university’s name was changed to “Université Norbert Zongo” in honor of a famous Burkinabe journalist who was killed in 1998. The university administration is planning to open a department of English in the near future. A huge point of interest on campus is the American Corner. The university’s administration is committed to maintaining this space and collaborating with the U.S. Embassy to make it not only a vibrant engagement space for the campus, but also for the community of Koudougou.

Primary Duties

  • The Fellow will teach English in various departments (economics, business, tourism, etc.) of the Norbert Zongo University (formerly University of Koudougou).
  • The Fellow will instruct teacher trainees enrolled in the Teacher Training College (ENS) and provide support to and mentor its teaching staff.
  • The Fellow will contribute to the professional development of Norbert Zongo University English instructors through team teaching, training, and sharing/modeling of current methods to promote learning English as a tool of communication.

Secondary Duties

The Fellow may be asked to:

  • Support the development of capacities and programming at the American Corner on campus through leading English learning sessions, film shows, cultural programming, and YALI network courses and activities.
  • Support Embassy English programs by leading meetings and activities with the Norbert Zongo University English Club and conducting English teacher training workshops for local teachers on a quarterly basis and collaborating with and promoting BETA, the national English teachers association.

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