Call for Applications: 2020 Africa Peace and Social Change Fellowship


Call for Applications
APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Monday, October 23, 2019

Apply via this form:

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) program at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Columbia University Nairobi Global Center and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, is pleased to announce the next round of the Peace and Social Change Fellowship Program.  The fellowship aims to generate knowledge, build skills, strengthen relationships and exchange strategies among frontline advocates and organizers working on issues of social change, justice, and, more broadly, security for all people.

Through six-month fellowship cycles, cohorts of women changemakers representing a variety of geographic and thematic areas will come together as a critical learning community to learn from and with each other, both virtually and in person.  As part of the fellowship, each fellow will be invited to bring representatives from their respective organizations/movements for two in-person workshops:  one at the start of the fellowship and one at the end.  All costs related to the in-person convenings will be covered.

During the course of the six-month fellowship, fellows and their organizations/movements will receive tailored research support from a team of interdisciplinary graduate student researchers, comprised of students from Columbia University and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Rooted in the needs and desires of the fellows, these graduate students will generate specific research projects aimed to increase the visibility of the peace fellows’ activism and organizing.  Grounded in solidarity and a sense of radical transnational possibility, the WPS Program believes that in times of heightened inequality, hate crimes and global consciousness of violence against women, as well as vibrant transnational mobilizations for gender and racial justice, the Peace and Social Change Fellowship Program can generate knowledge, advocacy and new networks to support a wide range of peace and justice projects launched and led by women.

The convening of the first cohort of the Peace and Social Change Fellows began in January 2019, which brought together women changemakers from five countries across Africa.  The second round of fellowships, which began in Summer 2019, is currently convening frontline organizers and activists from across New York City.  This call for 2020 is designed for African women changemakers who are working broadly on aspects of peace and security. See below more details about application criteria and eligibility.

Peace and Social Change Fellowship Overview – Cohort Two, Nairobi, 2020

The next round of the Peace and Social Change Fellowship Program will begin with a three-day Peace and Social Change workshop in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2020. The cohort of fellows and their colleagues will help shape and design the January workshop. All costs related to travel, lodging and meals throughout the Nairobi workshop will be covered.

Through this program, Peace and Social Change Fellows will have a platform to increase the visibility of their work and will strengthen their relationships with other women changemakers in the field through:

  • The exchange and creation of knowledge with fellow grassroots activists and practitioners across Africa working broadly on aspects of peace and security, including themes such gender-based violence, land rights, climate change, maternal health, economic equity, sexual and reproductive rights, among other topics.
  • Six months of ongoing exchange and skill-sharing workshops based on feedback and design by fellows.
  • Tailored research support from graduate students at Columbia University and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York based on the needs and wishes of fellows and their organizations/movements
  • The opportunity to learn from and develop relationships with one another and with a range of faculty and WPS program staff, including Nobel Laureate, peace activist, and WPS Executive Program Director Leymah Gbowee, among others.

In order to deepen cross-learning, fellowships are designed to engage both individuals and the organizations/movements that they represent.  While individuals apply on behalf of their organizations/movements, each applicant who is awarded a fellowship will be invited to bring two to three representatives from her respective organization/movement to the January and July workshops.  This will ensure that representatives with a variety of positions within each organization/movement (for example, both Executive Directors and frontline outreach workers) will be able to participate in the workshop, and that a range of voices and leadership roles will be highlighted.  Accepted fellows and their organizational teams will be interviewed about the opportunities they seek to gain from the Peace and Social Change Fellowship program, and the program will be adapted based on the cohort’s collective expertise and wishes.

Following the January workshop, WPS staff will facilitate six months of ongoing communication among the fellows via webinars and email.  Fellows will also receive tailored research support from interdisciplinary graduate student research teams, comprised of graduate students across a range of background and disciplines.  At the end of the fellowship period, the fellows, along with WPS staff and graduate student research teams, will meet for a second gathering in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss and present their collaborative work. 

Fellowship Eligibility

This Peace and Social Change Fellowship cohort is designed for practitioners and grassroots activists working broadly on issues of peace and security.  This includes less commonly recognized aspects of peace and security, such as, but not limited to, gender-based violence, land rights, climate change, maternal health, economic equity, sexual and reproductive rights, among other topics.  Given the collaborative nature of the program, the fellows will be selected to bring together a diverse range of experiences and to ensure that a variety of focus areas are represented.

The Peace and Social Change Fellowship is designed for women grassroots activists who:

  • Currently work on behalf of an African-based grassroots-level organization or movement in the area of social justice and social change
  • Currently reside in Africa
  • Have a history of movement-building or change-making in their community
  • Have some aspect of their work related to the theme of peace and security
  • Are available to travel to Nairobi, Kenya in January 2020 and July 2020 for two three-day workshops (All costs of travel and participation will be covered)
  • Are interested in collaborating with graduate students from the United States to generate research for movement support
  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Are proficient in English

To Apply:
Complete this Google form by NOON (EST) on October 23, 2019 to be considered for the Nairobi Peace and Social Change Fellowship. If you have questions or would like further information, please contact us at

About the Women, Peace and Security Program

The mission of the Earth Institute’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) program, led by Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, is to contribute to greater global and regional understanding of the diverse roles women play to successfully influence sustainable peace and promote human security through everyday activism.[1] Through education, public service and research, the WPS program advances visibility and knowledge exchange among women peacebuilders and practitioners – domestically and internationally – and disseminates lessons learned

[1] The Women, Peace, and Security team uses the term “woman” to describe any individual who self-identifies as a woman, including but not limited to cisgender and transgender individuals.

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