Community Solutions Program USA for Community Leaders – Fully Funded

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The Community Solutions Program is a professional leadership development program for the best and brightest community leaders worldwide. Community Solutions Fellows complete a four-month fellowship with a U.S. nonprofit organization or local government agency. Our Community Leadership Institute provides an integrated leadership curriculum and individualized coaching throughout the fellowship. Fellows return home to apply their new skills through a community action project.

The Community Solutions Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.

Goals

The goal of the Community Solutions Program is for engaged community leaders to positively impact the complex economic, environmental, political, and social challenges in their communities and become ambassadors for mutual understanding.

The Community Solutions Program also increases the capacity of U.S. partner organizations by nurturing collaboration and partnerships with international professionals and organizations.

Project Activities

  • Four-month U.S.-based fellowship: Community Solutions Fellows are matched with nonprofit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives related to issues they face in their own communities.
  • Community Leadership Institute: The cornerstone of the program, the Community Leadership Institute is a leadership academy that provides customized learning and coaching to each Fellow. Leaders participate in online sessions and in-person workshops, receive professional coaching, engage in experiential learning through tailored professional fellowships at U.S. host institutions, and interact with other professionals in their field.
  • Community-based initiatives: Community Solutions Fellows develop innovative community action projects in collaboration with their U.S. host institutions and implement these projects after they return to their home countries. Project summaries are made available online, allowing Fellows to share their work with other community leaders around the world.
  • International network of community development professionals: Fellows continue to network and collaborate with like-minded leaders from around the world on global development issues through alumni activities and opportunities offered through the Community Leadership Institute online platform.

Apply to become a CSP fellow

IREX is currently accepting applications for the 2020–2021 Community Solutions Program (CSP). The deadline to apply is October 28, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is a year-long professional development program for people who are working to improve their communities by addressing issues related to the environment, tolerance and conflict resolution, transparency and accountability, and women and gender.

For 2021–2022, up to 80 community activists will be selected to participate in the program, which includes:

  • Four-month Fellowship in the United States: Community Solutions fellows are matched to host organizations throughout the U.S. where they complete a four-month, hands-on professional experience.
  • Community Leadership Institute: Community Solutions fellows participate in the Community Leadership Institute, a leadership training program designed to strengthen their leadership and management skills. The Institute includes face-to-face trainings, online courses, professional coaching, and networking.
  • Community-based initiatives: While in the U.S. and with the help of their U.S. host organization, Community Solutions fellows design and plan a community development initiative or project to carry out after they return home. Once the fellows depart the U.S., they put these projects into action in their home communities.

Financial Support

The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:

  • J-1 visa support;
  • Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the U.S.;
  • Monthly allowance to cover housing, meals, and other living expenses while in the U.S.; and
  • Accident and sickness insurance.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Community Solutions Program, applicants must meet the requirements listed below. Applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements will be disqualified and will not be reviewed by the selection committee.

  • You are between the ages of 25 and 38 as of January 1, 2021;
  • You are a citizen of one of the eligible countries listed below;
  • You are living and working in your home country;
    • Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration.
  • You have at least two years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee or volunteer;
  • You are not currently participating in an academic, training, or research program in the U.S.;
  • You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application;
    • Semifinalists will be required to take or submit recent scores for a TOEFL or IELTS English language test.
  • You are available to travel to the U.S. for four months from August to December 2021;
  • You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and have not applied for U.S. permanent residency within the past three years;
  • You are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa;
    • Applicants who have participated in an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government must have fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement.
  • You are committed to returning to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing the program; and
  • You are not a current IREX employee or consultant, or their immediate family member.

Eligible countries by region

  • Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and West Bank/Palestinian Territories.

Application Closes October 28, 2020

For more information, Visit the official webpage for the community solution program 2021