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Overview

The WomenLead India fellowship program powered by Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices will drive an ambitious, urgent agenda for women’s leadership in India by investing in changemakers who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges and those who play a catalytic role towards the achievement of transformational economic, environmental and social changes required to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Program Dates: November 2022 – August 2023
  • Format: Virtual and in-person
  • Cost:  None (fully-funded)
  • Apply By:  10 October 2022 at 11:59 PM IST

 Key Areas of Focus

This inaugural fellowship aims to support 50 Indian women leaders who are addressing urgent economic and social issues across the following key areas: 

  • Rural Transformation: Developing holistic, sustainable solutions to address the main development concerns of rural communities, such as economic empowerment, nutrition security, water security, ecology, governance capacity of local organizations, and women’s empowerment.     
  • Education: Addressing inequalities in access to Early Childhood Care and Education, primary, secondary, and higher education across income, gender, social group and geography; improving quality of educational services imparted across all levels; and developing or strengthening educational institutions.    
  • Sports  for Development: Building character and leadership skills among the youth in India by using sports as a medium to encourage lifelong learning and by also expanding access to sports in rural and marginalized communities.     
  • Arts, Culture & Heritage: Preserving and promoting India’s art, culture, and heritage; advancing the knowledge of Indian arts, culture, and heritage domestically and globally; sustaining and making art and culture relevant to the younger generation.

Professional Development Tracks

Under these key areas, fellows will be divided into three tracks  based on their experience:

  • Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurs,
  • Social Sector Leaders, and
  • Changemakers

The fellowship will focus on leadership capacity building and skills development and is designed to, ultimately, strengthen the leadership of the participants and increase the success of their ventures and efforts. Support services include mentoring, peer-to-peer engagement, and visibility.   

Beginning and ending with an in-person convenings in India, the fellows will be integrated into the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network through the VV Community Hub. Webinars and community gatherings will be hosted over a 10-month period between the two meetings, subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions.

Apply by October 10

Attend an Information Session

Vital Voices hosted two informational sessions on the WomenLead India Fellowship. Watch the recordings below:

Session 1

Watch the 6 September Information Session

Session 2

Watch the 26 September Information Session

Interested Applicants

  • Are enthusiastic about participating in a 10-month fellowship program
  • Are motivated to learn new skills, enhance their leadership capacity, and make changes to grow their initiative, organization or business
  • Are able to devote six-eight hours per month for webinars, virtual community gatherings, etc.
  • Have the authority to make critical decisions regarding their initiative, organization, or business
  • Are willing to commit to working with Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices to track their personal and/or business growth during the program and for up to three years afterwards by being responsive and participating in data collection activities including online surveys and phone calls
  • Are interested in collaborating with and supporting the other women in their cohort

What will you receive from the program?   

  • Three webinars per month, extending through the duration of the fellowship, focused on leadership development and core content areas
  • One  virtual cohort gathering per month, focused on peer learning
  • Two in-person gatherings at the beginning (December 2022) and end of the Fellowship in India, subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions
  • Access to visibility and mentorship opportunities through the Vital Voices Leadership Network
  • Access to the Vital Voices Community Hub, a virtual space for leaders in Vital Voices to share and obtain resources and support, and effectively collaborate and communicate with one another. 

Application Overview & Eligibility

General criteria:

  • Identify as a woman
  • Are an Indian national, currently residing and working in India
  • Have a minimum of three years of work experience in working to enact social change in one or more of the following thematic areas:
    • Rural Transformation:  Developing holistic, sustainable solutions to address the main development concerns of rural communities, such as economic empowerment, nutrition security, water security, ecology, governance capacity of local organizations, and women’s empowerment.     
    • Education:  Addressing inequalities in access to Early Childhood Care and Education, primary, secondary, and higher education across income, gender, social group and geography; improving quality of educational services imparted across all levels; and developing or strengthening educational institutions.    
    • Sports  for Development: Building character and leadership skills among the youth in India by using sports as a medium to encourage lifelong learning and by also expanding access to sports in rural and marginalized communities.     
    • Arts, Culture & Heritage: Preserving and promoting India’s art, culture, and heritage; advancing the knowledge of Indian arts, culture, and heritage domestically and globally; sustaining and making art and culture relevant to the younger generation.
  • Demonstrate a minimum of an intermediate level of English speaking, writing, and listening skills
  • Have a commitment towards making a positive social impact
  • Have a demonstrated commitment to the following core principles: innovation, collaboration, and driven by a clear sense of mission; engaged in and leading social change in her community; committed to advancing the status of women and girls; and committed to transparency and good governance
  • Have a desire to engage with a global network of women leaders
  • Employees of the Reliance group of companies, Reliance Foundation, and Vital Voices Global Partnership are not eligible for this Fellowship. 
  • Applicants under this track must be entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, or are key decision makers at a qualifying business or social enterprise in one or more of the four thematic areas listed above; or work at a for-profit organization to drive social change in one or more of the four thematic areas listed above
  • Have demonstrated leadership and key decision-making authority within their business, social enterprise, or initiative, and show high potential for future leadership development
  • Have demonstrated impact and a commitment to incorporating innovative solutions within their business, social enterprise, or initiative
  • The business, social enterprise or for-profit organization should be based in India, should employ at least three full-time staff (or the part-time equivalent) and the business, social enterprise or for-profit organization should have been in operation for three years at the time of submitting the application
  • Applicants under this track must be spearheading programs at development sector/non-profit/civil society organizations in one or more of the four thematic areas listed above
  • Have demonstrated leadership and key decision-making authority within their organization or initiative, and show high potential for future leadership development
  • Have demonstrated impact and a commitment to incorporating innovative solutions within their organization or initiative
  • Applicants under this track must have a track record of at least three years in carrying out activities in thematic areas listed above at the time of submitting the application
  • For applicants under this track, the organization you work at must be registered with the Government of India as a foundation, trust, non-profit organization, or a Section 8 Company (erstwhile Section 25 Company) registered under the provisions of the Companies Act 2013 with a track record of at least three years in carrying out activities in in areas listed above, at the time of submitting the application.
  • Individual women, who are working on new and innovative initiatives and solutions, to drive social change in one or more of the four thematic areas listed above
  • Have demonstrated leadership, impact, and a commitment to incorporating innovative solutions within their initiatives
  • Applicants under this track must have a track record of at least three years in carrying out activities in in areas listed above in India at the time of submitting the application

Frequently Asked Questions

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