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Professional Fellows Program - Advancing Young Women in Agribusiness

Images of U.S. flag, Professional Fellows Program Seal, and partner university logos

Fellows at Hunter Park Garden House with Manager Egypt Krohn

LEARNING THROUGH EXCHANGE:

East and Southern African agricultural entrepreneurs, MSU, and external partners connect via the Professional Fellows Program Advancing Young Women Agribusiness Entrepreneurs and Innovators, a program funded by the U.S Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


The Advancing Young Women Agribusiness Entrepreneurs and Innovators Professional Fellows Program is sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by Michigan State University (US), University of Rwanda (Rwanda), University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Zambia (Zambia) and Chinhoyi University of Technology (Zimbabwe). The goal of the program is to build Fellows’ capacity and skills in agro-entrepreneurship and agri-food system innovation and advance their ability to support women’s economic empowerment. Rwandan, South African, Zambian and Zimbabwean Fellows will develop their leadership capacity and professional skills through a fully funded five-week fellowship program in the U.S.

The US program will include a four-week professional placement with Michigan organizations focused on agriculture, innovation, agro-entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment and additional seminars and trainings with professionals from Michigan State University and throughout the state of Michigan. In the final week of the program, Fellows will travel to Washington, DC to participate in the Professional Fellows Congress, where they will network with program participants from around the world.

Upon returning home, Fellows will implement a community-based project with support from the program team and select U.S. fellows, chosen from the MI host organizations, who will travel to East and Southern Africa on a reciprocal exchange.

Please note, the in-person, U.S.-based program is contingent upon favorable travel conditions. In the event there are travel restrictions, or others factors which could adversely impact the health, safety and welfare of program participants and hosts, the Professional Fellows Program will pivot the in-person, U.S.-based exchange to virtual programming

Apply to Program

We are recruiting young Rwandan, South African, Zambian, and Zimbabwean professionals from diverse backgrounds in private, public, non-governmental, and education sectors who are either women agribusiness entrepreneurs or individuals working to increase women’s economic engagement in the agricultural sector. View the detailed program information.

Deadlines

Applications for both the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 must be submitted according to the following timeline

Application process opens: February 25, 2022

Application deadline: March 21, 2022 11:59pm EDT

Program Dates

Fall 2022: October 1 - November 4, 2022

Spring 2023: May 8 - June 8, 2023

Who Should Apply

  • Women entrepreneurs, social innovators, or small and medium business owners or managers and other leaders working in the agriculture and food sectors
  • Individuals (of any gender) in civil society and NGOs working on programs that support women in the agriculture and food sectors in their respective countries
  • Policymakers, ministry employees, and others in the public sector (of any gender) focused on supporting and improving opportunities for women in the agriculture or food sector
  • Academic staff (of any gender) who are implementing programs to impact advancing women in the agriculture and food sectors

Eligibility Requirements

  • 25-40 years old
  • A citizen, national, or permanent resident of Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
  • Is living and working in Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe at the time of the application
  • Proficient in spoken and written English
  • Has at least 2 years of professional/working experience in their field
  • Has demonstrated leadership and collaborative skills and a commitment to community
  • Has employer’s support for participating in the program (for those not self-employed). For those self-employed, has recommendation from local authorities at the district, county, and/or community levels
  • Is interested in participating in a reciprocal program for American participants coming to your country
  • Preference will be given to those who are in an earlier state of their careers 
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously had the opportunity to travel to the US

Individuals not eligible for application

  • U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents of the United States
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents of the United States
  • Individuals participating in academic, training or research programs in the United States at the time of application
  • Individuals residing or working outside their home countries at the time of application 
  • Individuals who have participated in an exchange visitor program sponsored or funded by the U.S. Government (e.g., U.S. Department of State, Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies or other U.S. Government agencies) who have not fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement by the time of application
  • Individuals who have applied for U.S. permanent residency in the past three years
  • Employees and their families of non-profit organizations who administer the Professional Fellows Program on behalf of the U. S. Department of State. This provision does not disqualify self-supporting members of families who live apart from their parents
  • Local employees of the U.S. missions abroad who work for the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development are ineligible for grants during the period of their employment and for one year following the termination of employment
  • Immediate families (i.e., spouses and dependent children) of U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development employees for a period of one year following the termination of such employment. This provision does not disqualify self-supporting members of families who live apart from their parents

 

Click to apply for the program.

 

Application Deadline: March 21, 2022 11:59pm EDT

 

Contact Information

For more information about the program, please contact:

United States

Mr. Derek Tobias
Program Manager, Alliance for African Partnership
Michigan State University
tobiasde(at)msu.edu

Rwanda

Dr. Alfred Bizoza
Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics
University of Rwanda
alfredbiz23(at)gmail.com

South Africa

Dr. Anastacia Mamabolo
Associate Professor, Gordon Institute of Business Science
University of Pretoria
mamaboloa(at)gibs.co.za

Zambia

Ms. Thandie Hamaimbo
Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Programmes
Lecturer, School of Agricultural Sciences
University of Zambia
thandiehamaimbo(at)gmail.com

Zimbabwe

Dr. Robert Musundire
Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies
Chinhoyi University of Technology
rmusundire1978(at)gmail.com

Images of U.S. flag, Professional Fellows Program Seal, and partner university logos

This is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Michigan State University.