Vital Voices’ VVEngage Fellowship 2018 for Women in Public Leadership (Fully Funded to Cambridge, MA, USA)


DEADLINE: Monday, May 14, 2018 at 4:59 PM EST.

Vital Voices is excited to announce the launch of VVEngage, a signature fellowship to support women leaders working within civil society, the public sector and public-policy making institutions, who are dedicated to making positive change in their countries. Through this fellowship, we aim to increase the capacity, decision-making power and effectiveness of women leaders in public life, shifting culture around women’s public leadership and moving towards equality in public representation globally. With the support of Freeport McMoRan, the fellowship will provide year-long technical training and access to a global network of change-makers in the public sector across the globe.

From national parliaments to local councils, women are underrepresented in policy-making. Their global share in government representation stands at just 19 percent. Without a seat at the table, women don’t have a say in crafting legislation, negotiating peace talks or shaping agendas for future reform. Women who are able to become part of that 19 percent often lack access to opportunities, leadership positions and networks of women counterparts.

Through this fellowship, Vital Voices will support women’s public leadership by enhancing advocacy, leadership, and governance skills with online and in-person trainings by world-renowned experts, such as professors from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The fellowship will also connect participants to a global network of peers and mentors with whom they can brainstorm and share challenges and best practices.

Developed in partnership with women leaders around the world, and building on 20 years of leadership development work conducted by Vital Voices, the customized fellowship curriculum includes 12 months of inspiring and rigorous in-person and online courses. The below modules are designed to help women address the many challenges to political participation that they face, including social norms around leadership and male-dominated institutions.

  • Vital Voices Leadership Model
  • Building Coalitions and Cross-Sector Engagement
  • Policy and Process
  • Strategic Communication and Media Engagement
  • Negotiation
  • Good Governance

Recognizing that all fellows have different needs, training content will be customized based on a thorough needs assessment process, and trainers will be identified to fulfill these unique interests and needs.

By the end of the fellowship, fellows will:

  • Hone their public leadership skills to be even more effective leaders
  • Broaden their capacity, confidence, and ability to engage on diverse issues
  • Build powerful professional relationships and collaborations with women public leaders across the globe
  • Make progress towards achieving their personal and professional goals
  • Inspire and teach others about the importance of women’s leadership in public life

Application Criteria

The first cohort of VVEngage fellows will consist of twenty women leaders from across the globe who will be selected based on the following criteria.

All applicants must fit the following criteria:

  • A woman elected or appointed official (at the global/intergovernmental, national, or regional level) or civil society leader
  • A minimum of two years in elected or appointed office, as the key decision-maker for a civil society organization, or in related leadership work
  • Proficient in English
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the core principles of the “Vital Voices Leadership Model” – Innovative, collaborative, and driven by a clear sense of mission; engaged in her community; committed to working with different political ideologies; committed to advancing the status of women and girls; committed to transparency and good governance
  • Demonstrated leadership ability and high potential for – and commitment to – future leadership development
  • Desire to be connected to, and engage with, a global network of women in public life
  • At minimum, a basic understanding of the policy-making process in her community

Additional criteria based on sector:

  • Elected OR appointed official:
    • If the applicant is a member of a political party, the party must be established, registered and committed to good governance and democratic principles
    • Both the applicant and the applicant’s party must have no history of corruption or abuse of power
    • Commitment to working with other sectors on common goals
  • Appointed official:
    • Previous history of public engagement and expertise on the issue(s) under the mandate of her organization
    • In a position of leadership within her organization
  • Civil society leader:
    • Organization must be a civil society organization – ‘an autonomous association that is independent of the public and for-profit sectors and designed to advance collective interests and ideas’[1]
    • Organization must be well-respected within its sphere and recognized by partners and international organizations as influential and respectable
    • Organization’s mission must be in line with the values of democracy, transparency, and good governance, if applicable
    • Organization must have been registered for at least five years
    • Organization must be non-partisan


  • All fellow travel, meals and accommodation costs for the in-person gatherings will be covered in full by VVEngage.

Please note that accepted fellows must commit to full participation in the entire program and are expected to be prepared and engaged with staff, trainers and fellows before, during and after the program.


This fellowship is a 12-month commitment, starting in July 2018 and ending in June 2019, including two in-person gatherings and virtual training throughout the year. Applicants must be able to commit to the following:

  • Complete a baseline survey that goes into more detail about your professional experience, personal and organizational goals, work-related skills, mentorship experience and community engagement
  • Participate in online trainings and webinars, and complete virtual assignments for an average of eight hours per month throughout the year-long fellowship
  • Participate in a three-day in-person gathering in August/September 2018*
  • Participate in a five-day in-person gathering in February/March 2019 in Cambridge, MA, USA*
  • Complete surveys every six months for up to two years after participating in VVEngage

*Specific dates will be chosen based on availability of selected participants.

Please note that applications are due by Monday, May 14, 2018 at 4:59 PM EST. All finalists who are selected for participation in the program will be notified by email by June 8, 2018.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Vital Voices’ VVEngage Fellowship 2018