Acumen Academy West Africa Fellows Program 2023

Acumen Academy West Africa Fellows Program 2023

Deadline: July 12, 2022

Applications are open for the Acumen Academy West Africa Fellows Program 2023. Each year, the Acumen Fellowship in West Africa selects about 20 Fellows from across sectors, countries, and backgrounds who are tackling issues of poverty and injustice, and equips them with the practices and community needed to deepen and sustain their impact.

The Fellowship begins with a year-long fully-funded leadership programme, where Fellows remain in their role while taking part in a series of immersive seminars, workshops, and group practice. This is where practical skills meet moral imagination. The programme is designed to equip Fellows with the tools, mindset, and community to tackle poverty and injustice in their communities.

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.

Program Details

In the Fellowship Program you will:

  • Learn to catalyse and embrace the gradual and meaningful process of creating change at the personal, organisational, and societal levels.
  • Cultivate the ability to lead effectively when opposing but interdependent values are in tension.
  • Understand how to lead diverse stakeholders through recurring and complex challenges.
  • Develop the capacity to tell meaningful stories that speak across lines of difference and move others to action.
  • Examine your identities, values, and choices that have shaped your journey until now and cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself and your work in a broader context.
  • Explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through text-based dialogue.
  • Navigate systemic problems and design more effective interventions using moral imagination.
  • Question your assumptions and beliefs about leading effective change.
  • Be supported and accompanied by a cohort of like-minded peers persevering in the process of driving social change.

The curriculum draws on powerful leadership frameworks, tools, and approaches, including Adaptive Leadership, Authentic Voice, Good Society Readings, Immunity to Change, and Polarities Management.


  • Acumen Academy West Africa covers all program-related expenses during the Fellowship year – this includes accommodation, food, venue, and flight costs for the in-person immersive seminars.


  • Fellows can be working in any sector (including for-profit, nonprofit, and government) and are typically on one of the following trajectories:
    • Social Entrepreneur: Founder of a for-profit or non-profit organization that provides critical goods or services to the underserved
    • Organisation Builder: Supporting the growth of institutions from within (eg. Country Director, CEO, COO)
    • Intrapreneur: Creating solutions from within existing institutions (eg. Team lead, Head of Dept)
  • Fellows are NOT required to be a citizen of West Africa to become a Fellow. However, they must reside in West Africa and the impact of their work should be focused on West Africa.
  • There is neither a minimum age requirement nor a maximum age cut off.

Selection Process

The selection process is designed to understand the applicant’s track record, capacity to lead, and readiness for the program. Acumen selects Fellows based on:

  • A track record of creating impact based on a deep understanding of the issue;
  • A clear long-term vision to change the system they are working in;
  • An ability to influence change in their current work, formally or informally;
  • A readiness to undergo an intensive, year-long leadership journey.


Applications open on 1 June and there are a total of three stages in the selection process:

  • Stage 1: An online form to learn about your current work, past experiences, and vision for change. The last date to submit is 12 July.
  • Stage 2: Practical assignment will consist of video submissions and concise written answers to dig deeper into the work you do.
  • Stage 3: The Selection Conference is a two-day virtual event for the finalists. The day includes elevator pitches, group activities, and a panel interview.

Successful applicants will receive an offer letter with key information before they are enrolled in the Fellowship Program

Click here to apply

For more information, see FAQ and visit Acumen Academy.