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When is the Acumen East Africa Fellowship?

Applications open on November 4th 2020 and close January 4th 2021. The 2021 Cohort will start their fellowship year in May 2021.

What is the East Africa Fellowship?

Each year, the Acumen East Africa Fellows Programme brings together 20 extraordinary individuals tackling poverty and injustice in their communities – and equips them with the knowledge, skills and community to accelerate and sustain their impact.

The Fellowship begins with an intensive leadership programme, where Fellows remain in their jobs while taking part in a series of multi-day virtual seminars, paired with online group and individual assignments between seminars, all connected by group practice. This is where practical skills meet moral imagination – and the programme is designed to increase a Fellow’s capacity to lead social change and tackle problems of poverty and injustice.

After the first year, Fellows become part of Acumen’s global community of social innovators – committed to life-long learning, collaboration and accompaniment as they drive change.

Year 1

  • Join a diverse cohort of 20 leaders from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan & Ethiopia.
  • Acumen Fellows are drawn from diverse sectors, disciplines, organisations and social change journeys
  • All programme costs covered by Acumen Academy East Africa
  • 5 virtual multi-day seminars, paired with individual & group online assignments between seminars
  • Learning that is immediately applied to your life and work
  • Peer coaching that challenges and accompanies you in your social change work
  • Cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself and your work in a broader context
  • Navigate uncertainty and embrace the meaningful process of creating change

Beyond Year 1

  • Join Acumen’s growing community of social innovators & builders accompanying each other from across the globe committed to a world beyond poverty and injustice
  • The Acumen Fellowship is a life-long engagement and after the first year fellows take part in a range of opportunities that are designed to both further their impact and build their communities.

What makes a fellow?

Our fellows are extraordinary leaders who dare to embrace the difficult journey of social change. Here’s what we want from you—and what you can expect from your cohort.

  • Entrepreneurs: Leaders of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations providing critical goods or services to the underserved.
  • Intrapreneurs: Builders from any sector tackling poverty and injustice from within by shifting the institutional culture—and building new collaborations.
  • Organizational Builders: Leaders (other than the Founder or CEO) supporting the growth of institutions combating poverty and injustice

What will you learn?

The Fellowship curriculum is centered around the principles of moral leadership:

  • Adaptive Leadership: Based on Ron Heifetz’s work, Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that supports Fellows’ ability to catalyse and embrace the gradual and meaningful process of creating change.
  • Authentic Voice: Grounded in Marshall Ganz’s life’s work, the Authentic Voice curriculum allows the Fellows to develop the capacity to articulate a hopeful vision, speak across lines of difference, and move others into action.
  • Good Society Readings: Modeled off The Aspen Institute, the Good Society Readings explore the meaning of a just society, and the moral and historical foundation of social change through text based dialogue
  • Managing Polarities: Based on Barry Johnson’s work, Polarities aims to cultivate an individual’s ability to lead effectively when opposing but interdependent and equally important values are in tension.
  • Systems Thinking: Fellows explore the concept of Systems Thinking by working collaboratively on live challenges—enabling them to better understand larger, systemic problems and design more effective interventions.

How to Apply

Our application process consists of these five steps.

  1. Step 1: Apply online —applications open on November 4th 2020 with two closing dates:
    1. 1Early Action close date of December 1st 2020. All applications completed by this date will be reviewed first.
    2. 2Regular Decision close date of January 4th 2021. All applications completed between December 2nd 2020 and January 4th 2021 will be reviewed after the Early Action applications have been reviewed.
  2. Step 2: Move to the second step of the application as follows:
    1. 1Shortlisted Early Action applicants move to step 2 of the process in January 2021
    2. 2Shortlisted Regular Decision applicants move to step 2 of the process in February 2021
  3. Step 3: Both shortlisted Early Action and Regular Decision applicants from step 2 take place in final selection in end March 2021
  4. Step 4: The 2021 Cohort will be selected in April 2021
  5. Step 5: Fellows are announced in end-April/early May 2021

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