A fellowship to advance women’s public leadership and the SDGs

In partnership with Freeport-McMoRan


VVEngage is a Vital Voices signature fellowship supporting outstanding women political leaders making and influencing policy across the globe. Through this fully-funded fellowship, we aim to increase the capacity, decision-making power and effectiveness of women leaders in politics and government, shifting culture around women’s public leadership and moving towards equality in public representation globally. We also aim to work towards a more inclusive and equitable world by advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through policy.

Through this fellowship, Vital Voices advances women’s political leadership and the SDGs by conducting online and in-person* trainings with experts such as women leaders from the Vital Voices Global Network and professors from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The fellowship also connects participants to a global network of peers and mentors, such as current and former female heads of state with the Council of Women World Leaders, with whom they can brainstorm and share challenges and best practices.

Building on 20 years of leadership development work conducted by Vital Voices, the customized fellowship curriculum includes 9 months of inspiring and rigorous courses in topics such as Leadership, Strategic Communications, Political Strategy and Governance. Fellows will acquire specific skills to achieve their goals and advance the SDGs in their communities.

*Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in-person trainings have been suspended

Application Criteria

The 2021 cohort of VVEngage will consist of women leaders from across the globe who will be selected based on the following criteria.*


All applicants must fall into one of these categories:

  • Appointed or elected government official at the local, state/regional, national, or international level
  • Political party leader or functionary
  • Leader of civil society organization whose primary function involves working directly with government or working to get more women in politics/public life
  • Political Activist
  • Politically-active community leader from marginalized and excluded community that remains on the periphery of political activity in her country
  • Media professional


In addition, all applicants must fit all of the following criteria:

  • A minimum of three years in elected or appointed office, as the key decision-maker for a civil society organization, or in related political leadership work
  • Proficient in English
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the core principles of the “Vital Voices Leadership Model” – Innovative, collaborative, and driven by a clear sense of mission; engaged in her community; committed to working with different political ideologies; committed to advancing the status of women and girls; committed to transparency and good governance


*See application for full criteria

This fellowship is a 9-month commitment that includes virtual trainings and events throughout the year. The time commitment is an estimated eight hours per month.

The application must be submitted by 4:59pm EST on January 21, 2021. You can access the application here: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/5729277/VVEngage-Application-2021

For more information, please contact the Vital Voices Political & Civic Engagement team at VVEngage@VitalVoices.org.


Tamara Adrián

Member of Parliament, Venezuela


Wa Ode Asmawati

Commissioner, Information Commission of Jakarta


Oana Bîzgan

Member of Parliament, Romania


Rosana Cueva

Investigative Journalist, Panorama


Isata Kabia

Director, Voice of Women-Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Mimoza Kusari Lila

Member of Parliament/Party President, Alternativa


Susana Muhamad

Promoter, Activist and Coordinator; Colombia Humana and Se Acaba El Tiempo


Virginia Muradzikwa

Member of Parliament, Zimbabwe


Leba Nabou

General Secretary, National Federation Party


Immaculate Nalwadda

Youth Councilor, Kampala City Council Authority


Gülseren Onanç

Founder and Spokesperson, Equality, Justice, Women Platform


Rachel Reese

Mayor, Nelson, New Zealand

New Zealand

Clara Rojas Gonzalez

Consultant, Consultoria CR SAS


Iona Rothfeld

Founder and Director, National Women’s Soccer Players Association in Chile (ANJUFF)


Fernanda San Martín Carrasco

Member of Parliament, Bolivia


Jothimani Sennimalai

Member of Parliament


Mersiha Smailovikj

President, LEGIS

North Macedonia

Aura Leticia Teleguario Sincal

Special Advisor on Corporate and Inter-Agency Relationships, UN Women Guatemala


Tanzila Umi Habiba

Member of Sindh Provincial Assembly


Phumzile Van Damme

Member of Parliament

South Africa

Paolina Vercoutere

Councilor, Municipality of Otavalo


Daniela Damaris Viteri Custodio

Legal Advisor, Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations


Rebekah Warren

State Representative, Michigan Legislature

United States

Kholoud Wattar Kassem

Founder and President, Lebanese Women Towards Decision Making


Sartiah Yusran

Coordinator of Postgraduate Public Health Program, University of Halu Oleo Kendari


For bios of the 2018-2019 VVEngage Fellows, please click here!


For more information, please contact VVEngage@vitalvoices.org.