CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti –– After three months of guided conversation, 25 participants completed the latest U.S.-led English Discussion Group (EDG), and attended a culmination celebration at the National Institute of Public Administration training center in Djibouti, Oct. 13, 2021.
The conversations are designed to increase the participants' confidence and competency in the English language to help them in their professional lives.
“I could write in English; I knew words, but every time I spoke it never came out right,” said Houda Abdallah Isman, an EDG participant. “In three months I’ve grown more confident speaking English in the world of business.”
The U.S. Embassy provided a virtual instructor for the course while U.S. service members from Camp Lemonnier, including members of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), volunteered as discussion facilitators to hold conversations with course participants.
The facilitators focused on English used in different aspects of business such as creating business plans and giving presentations. As an added benefit, everyone involved discovered new things about one another and the different cultures represented.
“Over time we have all become friends, brothers and sisters,” said Aicha Hassan Mohamad, an EDG participant, who shared her experience during the celebration. “Thank you, my new family, for improving our English and exchanging cultures.”
Multiple times a year the U.S. hosts these discussion groups together with Djiboutian partners.
“It’s important to see how we positively impact each other and to pay that forward to others,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Zana, CJTF-HOA commander. “The exchange of knowledge and culture between the people of the U.S. and Djibouti is what has made this a very rich experience.”
As this course ends, the U.S. Embassy looks to give more opportunities to practice English in Djibouti by scheduling more discussion groups. The Embassy also supports English instruction in public schools through English Language Fellows who work directly with the Ministry of Education.
Charmarke Idriss Ali, director of the National Institute of Public Administration, summed up the English Discussion Groups when he said, “You have become our brothers and sisters and we want to continue our strategy to speak English to bring more opportunities to all of Djibouti.”