Acumen Regional Fellows Program

Acumen Fellows come from diverse backgrounds to disrupt the status quo, they are dissatisfied with current solutions, and they have the skill, the tenacity and the courage to push themselves and to partner with others to make it happen. Over the course of the one-year Fellowship, Fellows engage in deep reflection, challenge their assumptions about the world, and strengthen their moral compass. Through these programs, we are building an empowered global network of leaders eradicating poverty and injustice through the practice of moral leadership. Together you will model the leadership, connection and community required to build a world where everyone can live with dignity.

Applications are currently closed.

Applications for the class of 2019 will open in the summer of 2018.

web picture 3

East Africa

Learn More! +
Manjushree Girdhari Prerak Ram Floor


Learn More! +


Learn More! +

Regional Fellows Training

Through our five in-person seminars and virtual content in-between seminars, twenty Fellows build and test new leadership skills within their cohort. This cohort-based learning model creates deep bonds of trust and fellowship, relationships that persist long beyond the first year and that Fellows utilize to create greater impact. Fellows equipped with the knowledge, support systems and skills to challenge the status quo, work across lines of difference and mobilize their communities. These fully-sponsored, one-year programs are designed to improve participants’ capacity to innovate and drive change while allowing them to remain in their full-time jobs.

DSC00617Good Society

The Good Society Readings explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through a series of curated readings of great thinkers such as Plato, Amartya Sen and Nelson Mandela. Fellows reflect on core human values, seek common ground and cultivate a richer understanding of their social change work in a broader historical context.

Adaptive Leadership

Based off the work of Harvard Professor Ron Heifitz, Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. The content supports Fellows’ ability, both individually and collectively, to catalyze and embrace the gradual and meaningful process of change.

Systems Thinkingweb picture 5

Fellows explore the concept of Systems Thinking through frameworks and on the ground application by working collaboratively on live challenges. Fellows are provided with frameworks to better understand larger, systemic problems and design more effective interventions.

Authentic Voice

Building off the work of Marshall Ganz, Fellows develop their capacity to articulate their story of self, us and now. Fellows are equipped to articulate a hopeful vision, speak across lines of difference, and move others to action.

Measuring Impact

Based on Acumen’s field-leading work in impact measurement, Lean Data, the Fellows deep dive into their own social change initiatives. Fellows map out their Theory of Change and identify action gaps which may hinder them achieving their organization’s desired outcomes and impact. The module provides tangible tools and different perspectives on how to  approach and measure the social impact of their work.


Should I Apply?

Our Fellows are individuals who dare to do what’s right, not what’s easy, to create positive change in their country. Fellows can come from diverse cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds and work in any sector, and they must be committed to ending poverty in their community through their work. They are the individuals who are making a long-term play of systems-level changing impact and are seeking the leadership and moral imagination skills to make it happen.

  • Are you currently leading, or an integral part of building, an initiative that exists to eradicate poverty and/or injustice? Successful candidates are often on of the following trajectories:
    • Social Entrepreneur: founders of an organization that provides critical goods/services to the poor (including for profit/non-profit)
    • Public Sector Leaders: leveraging the government machinery to create policy changes, partnerships or adoption of new models to tackle poverty
    • Community Organizer/Activist: mobilizing communities; creating a different narrative around and/or calling attention to unseen/unheard/marginalized communities or causes
    • Intrapreneur: creating innovative solutions to tackle  poverty from within existing institutions by shifting institutional culture and creating new collaborations
    • Organizational Builder: acting as a strong “# 2”, supporting the growth of poverty-focussed institutions from within, but not as the Founder/CEO
  • Are you able to participate in a fully English medium program?
  • Are you from IN/PK/EA and do you have a demonstrated commitment to your country/region?
  • Have you demonstrated a commitment to poverty alleviation through your career/lifetime?
  • Do you have a deep understanding of who you are and what drives you to do this work?
  • Are you actively seeking a growth opportunity to take your leadership skills to the next level, not to obtain technical business skills?
  • Are you looking forward to being part of – and contributing to – a global Acumen Fellows community?


How to Apply

Who Becomes a Regional Fellow?

  • Individuals currently engaged in social change work. Social change work refers to any project, initiative, program or organization that furthers Acumen’s mission to change the way the world tackles poverty. It can take the shape of social enterprise, grant-funded program, government initiative, or socially-focused project within a for-profit corporation.
  • Entrepreneurs who started their own organizations or individuals in positions to influence change within within existing organizations. We are looking for people who don’t accept the status quo.
  • Individuals who demonstrate a commitment and concrete connection to their region.
  • Individuals capable of fully participating in a program conducted in English.

The Selection Process

The selection process for this program is very rigorous and highly competitive. Here is a general timeline of the process:

  • Applications open: August 1, 2017
  • Applications close: September 1, 2017
  • Telephone Interviews: September 2017
  • In-Person Selection Conference: November 4, 2017

The Application Process

The online application consists of:

  • Background information
  • Resume/CV
  • Short & long answer questions

Application Instructions: For more guidance on how to answer the application questions, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions: For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers, please click here.

Our Corporate & Foundation Partners