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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Case Study: English Access Microscholarship Program

June 18, 2009


Background Information

Partnership Name: English Access Microscholarship Program

Partnership Type: Programmatic Objective

PPP Life Cycle Phase for Learning: Definition/Formation

Bureau or Post: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

State Department Strategic Goal: Building Mutual Understanding

Major Partners: Dole Food Company, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, country-educational service provider, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Office of English Language Programs.

Resource Contributions: Approximately $40,000 from Dole and $40,000 from ECA

Dates of Partnership: Begun April 2008, Agreement signed May 2009

Opportunity: The English Access Microscholarship Program provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, disadvantaged 14 - 18 year old students worldwide through afterschool classes and intensive summer learning activities. With Dole’s partnership, the Philippines’ Access program will expand and a new program will begin in the Mindanao region in 2009.

Since 2004, the English Access Microscholarship Program has provided scholarships to approximately 44,000 students in over 55 countries. The Access Program gives bright, disadvantaged 14-18 year olds the opportunity to increase their critical thinking skills, self-esteem, and leadership abilities. While the Dole Food Company already offered social programs and health services to Filipinos, Dole wanted to increase its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) presence on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where it operates a cannery. The U.S. Department of Sate and Dole saw an opportunity to combine their shared goals of expanding the horizons of disadvantaged youth.

"Public-private partnerships such as [English] Access Microscholarships are critical to Dole's long-term investment in the communities in which we operate," said David DeLorenzo, president and chief executive officer of Dole Food Company.

The U.S. Department of State and Dole identified the Philippines as a key area of interest during a brainstorming meeting at Dole’s California headquarters. Former Assistant Secretary of Educational and Cultural Affairs Goli Ameri met with Dole representatives in the Philippines so they could see how the Access Program works. At the meeting, Dole and ECA struck a deal to launch an Access program in Mindanao. Looking for opportunities to develop further public-private partnerships with top corporations, the former Assistant Secretary also met with the American Chambers of Commerce during her many trips abroad.

ECA’s role has been to oversee the worldwide English Access Microscholarship Program and assist in initial Access Program design to ensure successful programming. ECA is providing approximately $40,000 to fund Access students in Mindanao. ECA works with U.S. embassies to identify the appropriate in-country educational service providers and students to participate in the Access Program. The Public Affairs Sections (PAS) work with an in-country educational service provider, such as an NGO, to implement the Access Program.

The company has made its own determination on the level of investment. To commemorate its 40th anniversary, Dole decided to match ECA funding. Over the past several months, capitalizing on its long-standing presence in and knowledge of the region, the company shared which schools would be best served by the Access Program. As the project moves toward its first day of instruction, Dole Philippines representatives from Mindanao and the surrounding areas have met with U.S. Embassy representatives to review the program, while Dole’s U.S. corporate headquarters supports the program from the U.S.

Through planning for the program, Dole has quickly become an important and dedicated partner in the Philippines. As a result of the company’s CSR work, Dole was one of 11 companies that were finalists for the U.S. Secretary of State’s 2008 Award for Corporate Excellence.


The Philippines’ English Access Microscholarship Program will begin in 2009, and last two years. If the new program is successful in Mindanao, further expansion in the same locations or in new areas may be considered. The goal is to reach youth —bright, disadvantaged students between 14-18 years old—and to give these students the opportunity to develop English language skills, which in turn leads to increased self confidence, stronger critical thinking skills and opportunities to study or obtain jobs.

"We are delighted that Dole Philippines has joined us in this public-private partnership," said former Assistant Secretary of State Ameri. "This is an opportunity to collaborate on a groundbreaking program that opens doors for young people, as they learn language and leadership skills that will serve them for a lifetime."

Key Take Aways:

  • Look for opportunities to adapt existing initiatives or programming to match potential private sector partners’ interests and goals. Capitalize on a partner’s regional experience when entering new countries or regions by engaging it in the earliest planning and management phases.
  • Identify private partners who can make contributions at “blue chip” levels to make ECA involvement worthwhile.
  • Provide an opportunity for the potential partner to meet existing program participants. The introduction of current Access students helped secure a lasting partnership.
  • Link the program to important corporate opportunities such as Dole’s 40th anniversary. It brings positive press attention and may establish a greater long-term commitment.

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