Acumen Fellowship Program 2019 for Social Changemakers (Fully-funded)

Acumen Fellowship Program 2019 for Social Changemakers (Fully-funded)

Deadline: September 9, 2018

Applications for the Acumen Fellowship Program 2019 are now open. The Acumen Fellowship program is an intensive leadership development program cultivating a pipeline of tomorrow’s social changemakers. The purpose of the Acumen Fellows Program is to develop a community of leaders who challenge the status quo, work across lines of difference and inspire their communities to believe in a brighter future.

Over the course of a year, Fellows remain in their jobs while participating in five in-person, multi-day immersive seminars and engaging in online content between seminars. The program design is centered on group-based learning, self-reflection, and real-world application. Fellows receive training, practical tools and the space to explore their own leadership journeys while connecting with innovators across Acumen’s local and global communities.

The Fellows Program is currently offered in Colombia, East Africa, West Africa, India, and Pakistan. The Program is designed for individuals who are currently leading or are an integral part of building an initiative whose mission is to eradicate poverty.

Acumen Fellows see opportunity where others see despair. They are individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and the passion to drive change in their communities. Does that sound like you?


Find your region below.

  1. Colombia: This is a historic moment in Colombia to craft a new post-conflict narrative. The Colombia Fellows Program brings together diverse emerging leaders who are creating change through bottom-up approaches and restoring the social fabric of the country.
  2. East Africa: The East Africa Fellows Program brings together the best and brightest of the region’s emerging entrepreneurs, innovators and change agents. From Uganda to Ethiopia, their applicants represent a wide diversity of cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  3. India: Every year, the India Fellows Program connects dynamic individuals who are committed to creating meaningful change within their country. Candidates come from nearly every walk of life and have demonstrated the ability to have impact within their sector.
  4. Pakistan: The Pakistan Fellows Program provides founders, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, policymakers, innovators and movement builders with the training and support needed to solve Pakistan’s biggest problems and challenge the status quo.
  5. West Africa: 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. The West Africa Fellows program will bring together entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and organization-builders from both the public and private sectors who are modeling this leadership, and who are hungry to do more.

The seminars are typically held in or around major cities. In the past, they have been held in:

  • East Africa Program: Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali and Dar es Salaam
  • India Program: Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mysore
  • Pakistan Program: Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Murree, Peshawar, and Bahawalpur

For 2019, individuals will be notified on the exact dates of the seminars upon being selected as a Fellow at the beginning of 2019.

Acumen is invested not only in each Fellows’ growth over the course of the year-long program, but also in their development as lifelong agents of fighting poverty. After completing the first year, Fellows may receive continued mentorship and coaching. Acumen also has a very active and growing network of social sector organizations, thought leaders, and Fellows across the globe. We engage all Acumen Fellows through events, newsletters and subsequent recruitment processes.


Acumen covers all program-related expenses during the fellowship year. This includes all costs associated with the seminars including lodging, food, transportation and visas.


  • The 2019 Fellows Program is currently offered in Colombia, East Africa, West Africa, India, and Pakistan.
  • Fellows are of all ages, come from diverse cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds and work across multiple sectors.

The Fellows they seek are:

  • Social entrepreneurs, social intrapreneurs, and organizational builders.
    • Social entrepreneurs: Have have launched or lead their own social change initiatives.
    • Social intrapreneurs: Are running a social change initiative within an existing organization.
    • Organizational builders: Are an integral part of building a social change organization, but do not play a founding role.
  • Individuals who have a demonstrated history of impact, commitment and concrete connection to the region.
  • Leaders with strong personal integrity, unrelenting perseverance and moral imagination.
  • Committed individuals ready to undergo an intensive year-long personal transformation and leadership journey followed by an induction into the larger Fellows Community.
  • Individuals of all ages and education levels who are able to participate in a program conducted in English.


On average, they select 20 Fellows per year in each region.

There are a total of three stages in the selection process.

  • STAGE 1: APPLICATIONS. Due Sunday, September 9th 2018 at 11:59 pm local time. All applications must be completed and submitted online. Following the initial submission, successful candidates will be invited to participate in Stage 2.
  • STAGE 2: ONLINE ENGAGEMENT (FOR PK/IN/EA/WA). Instructions for Stage 2 will be sent on Tuesday, September 25th and all assignments must be completed and submitted online by Wednesday, October 10th 2018.  Successful candidates will be invited to participate in Stage 3.
  • STAGE 3: PHONE INTERVIEWS (FOR CO). These will be held in late September. All candidates will be contacted by the Acumen team to schedule a mutually beneficial time for the interview. Successful candidates will be invited to participate in Stage 3.
  • STAGE 3: SELECTION CONFERENCE. Stage 3 is a mandatory day-long in-person engagement and will be held in mid-late November in each region.
  • FINAL SELECTION: Candidates selected to the 2019 cohorts will be notified by December 2018.

Their selection team will carefully review submissions and participation at each stage of the process, and select candidates who will advance to the next stage.At each stage of the application process, all candidates will receive communication from their team about the progress of their application.

Select your region below to start your application:






For more information, visit Acumen Fellowship.