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Acumen West Africa Fellowship

Acumen West Africa Fellowship

The Acumen fellows programme for West Africa is calling for applications for the 2023 fellowship. West Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies – yet it will require a different type of leadership to ensure that the fruits of this growth are felt by all. It will require leaders grounded in integrity, and relentless in their pursuit of equity and justice.

Each year the West Africa Acumen Fellows Programme brings together 20 bold and generous leaders who are committed to tackling issues of poverty and injustice in West Africa- and equips them with the practices and community needed to deepen and sustain their impact.

Fellows come from all walks of life and are creating hope in a cynical world; they are bridging our divides, connecting our communities, empowering our youth, standing with our vulnerable, protecting our environment, and serving us all.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Programme Eligibility.

The Acumen Fellows Programme is open to individuals residing in any of these five West African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.  

What Makes You a Fellow?

All Fellows have demonstrated a commitment to creating a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society through their work, and are:

  • Building solutions based on a deep understanding of the issues.
  • Making a long-term play to change the system they are working in.
  • Influencing change in their current work, formally or informally.
  • Ready to undergo an intensive year-long leadership journey.

Overview Of The West Africa Fellowship Programme.

Fellows will explore how they can approach personal, organizational, and societal challenges differently as they build the tools and mindset to:

  • Lead diverse stakeholders through recurring and complex challenges.
  • Develop stories that speak across lines of difference & move others to action.
  • Understand systemic problems and design more effective interventions.
  • Navigate uncertainty and embrace the meaningful process of change.
  • Cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself and your work.

Fellows will be applying the concepts they will learn within the cohort, as they seek to model the change they want to see in the world. The Fellowship curriculum draws on powerful leadership frameworks, tools, and approaches, including:

  • Adaptive Leadership – grounded in Ron Heifetz’s work.
  • Authentic Voice – grounded in Marshall Ganz’s life’s work.
  • Good Society Readings – modelled off The Aspen Institute.
  • Managing Polarities – based on Barry Johnson’s work.

Fellows Are Typically On One Of The Following Paths:

Social Entrepreneur.

Founder of a for-profit or non-profit organization that develops market-based solutions to tackle issues of poverty & injustice.

Organizational Builder.

Supporting the growth of institutions from within (eg. Country Director, CEO, COO).


Creating solutions from within existing institutions (eg. Team lead, Head of Dept).

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

What To Expect From The Acumen Fellowship Programme.

The Acumen Fellowship begins with a year-long leadership programme – where practical skills meet moral imagination. After the first year, Fellows become part of Acumen’s global community of social innovators – committed to lifelong learning, collaboration and accompaniment as they build a world based on dignity.

The Acumen Fellows Programme Is Centred Around:

  • Self-reflection: Fellows have space to broaden their perspectives and identify areas of personal development
  • Cohort based learning: Fellows have space to practice new modes of leadership with a diverse group of builders from across sectors and backgrounds
  • Real-world application: Fellows take away learning that can be immediately applied to their social change work to generate lasting impact

The Programme Structure.

Fellows will stay in their regular jobs and attend 3 immersive seminars — lasting up to six days each — across the region within a year (all costs fully covered). Between seminars, they will also complete weekly assignments and attend virtual Workshops — 4-6 hours per week.

Application Process.

  • Apply online — Applications open on 1st June and close on 12th July 2022.
  • Receive your online assignments in August.
  • Attend the Selection Conference on November 11th & 12th.
  • Fellows are selected in December.

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