India Fellows are Driving Real Change in their Own Communities.
Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India.
Our Regional Fellows Program is a one-year leadership development program designed to build the next generation of social leaders with the audacity to transform society and create a better, more inclusive world.
The program equips 20 extraordinary individuals from across India with the knowledge, support system and practical wisdom to unlock their full potential and drive positive change in society. Over the course of a year, Fellows remain in their jobs while taking part in five week-long seminars, where they receive the tools, training and space to innovate new ideas, accelerate their impact, build a strong network of social leaders from across their region and around the world.
Who Becomes a Regional Fellow
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.
The Fellows we seek are:
- Founders, Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, Policy Makers, Movement Builders Innovators
- Men and women of all ages and education levels who are able to participate in a program conducted in English.
- Indians who have a demonstrated history of impact, commitment and concrete connection to the region.
- Leaders with strong personal integrity, unrelenting perseverance and moral imagination.
- Committed individuals ready to undergo an intensive year-long personal transformation and leadership journey followed by an induction into the larger Fellows Community.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Apply
Applications are currently closed. Applications for the class of 2019 will open in the summer of 2018.
The Application Process
The online application consists of:
- Background information
- 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.
The Selection Process
The selection process for this program is very rigorous and highly competitive. Here is a general timeline of the process:
- Applications close: September 1, 2017
- Telephone Interviews: September 2017
- In-Person Selection Conference: November, 11th (Mumbai)
Our Corporate & Foundation Partners
India Regional Fellows in the News
Announcing the 2016 Regional Fellows
Kirti Vardhana (1982—2015): Indian Social Entrepreneur and Acumen Fellow
ANNOUNCING THE 2015 INDIA FELLOWS
Meet the Regional Fellows
“Amit is the managing trustee of Saujanya Foundation, an organization with a vision that no one in India should die or suffer due to a lack of healthcare infrastructure. Saujanya...” [READ MORE]
Amit is the managing trustee of Saujanya Foundation, an organization with a vision that no one in India should die or suffer due to a lack of healthcare infrastructure. Saujanya Foundation specializes in detection and collaborative treatment options for low-income customers in urban slums and villages of Delhi National Capital Region, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The organization consists of a visionary leadership team and 90 volunteers, and soon plans to develop a “Hospital on Wheels” service delivery option. Amit has been the President of Rotary Club of Delhi Saket from 2012 – 2014 and is currently the core district team member and chairman of various committees at Rotary International District 3010.
“Ashweetha is CEO and co-founder of Bodhi Tree Skills, a Tamil Nadu-based social venture that trains, supports and mentors rural college graduates so they can access better...” [READ MORE]
Ashweetha is CEO and co-founder of Bodhi Tree Skills, a Tamil Nadu-based social venture that trains, supports and mentors rural college graduates so they can access better career opportunities. Based in Tirunelveli district, Bodhi has trained 800 college students to date. Ashweetha previously worked as a Community Engagement Coordinator with SughaVazhvu Healthcare, which provides last-mile primary healthcare in rural India. Ashweetha is a Young India Fellow and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Manonmaniam Tirunelveli University.
“Ishira is the co-founder of CropConnect Enterprises, which creates demand-driven value chains in agriculture by working directly with buyers and farmers. Ishira envisions...” [READ MORE]
Ishira is the co-founder of CropConnect Enterprises, which creates demand-driven value chains in agriculture by working directly with buyers and farmers. Ishira envisions an India where farmers are competitive in global supply chains and connected with end buyers in a mutually beneficial manner. Headquartered in New Delhi, CropConnect operates through its countrywide farmer networks and is currently working on projects in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh states. Ishira previously worked with the International Finance Corporation and the Self Employed Women’s Association. She has master’s degrees in international development and comparative politics from Harvard Kennedy School and London School of Economics, respectively.
“John is a Senior Consultant at LabourNet, an organization enabling livelihoods through work-integrated job training, financial inclusion and job linkages for informal sector...” [READ MORE]
John is a Senior Consultant at LabourNet, an organization enabling livelihoods through work-integrated job training, financial inclusion and job linkages for informal sector workers. In his current role, John is working on a skill gap study to understand the demand for vocational skills training as well as the strategy for and implementation of LabourNet’s courses. He is from Bangalore and holds a Master of Science in International Business Management from the University of Bradford.
“Lewitt is the founder of Learning is Fun and Experiential (LIFE) Lab. Lewitt and his team are scripting the would-be story of the transformation of science, technology, engineering,...” [READ MORE]
Lewitt is the founder of Learning is Fun and Experiential (LIFE) Lab. Lewitt and his team are scripting the would-be story of the transformation of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education in India. Life Lab is democratizing STEAM education by creating academically inclusive classrooms and building the capacity of teachers, the most important stakeholders in these areas. To date, Life Lab has helped maximize the potential of more than 17,000 children from economically disadvantaged communities in four states across India. Lewitt is a former Teach for India Fellow and holds a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nagpur.
Neeladri is the co-founder of Northeast Centre for Equity Action on Integrated Development, a nonprofit focused on "Social determinants of Health"...” [READ MORE]
Neeladri is the co-founder of Northeast Centre for Equity Action on Integrated Development, a nonprofit focused on “Social determinants of Health” in the Northeast states of India. His goal is to build an integrated sustainable development platform in Northeast India by supporting rural populations on issues such as healthcare, education, and youth and women empowerment. Neeladri also works with the Regional Resource Centre for Northeastern States as a public health consultant. He is from Guwahati, Assam and holds a postgraduate diploma in health economics, financing and health policy from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi.
“Deepak is the co-founder and Head of Operations at Deviab Energy, a social enterprise providing quality, affordable energy services to low-income families in rural Bihar....” [READ MORE]
Deepak is the co-founder and Head of Operations at Deviab Energy, a social enterprise providing quality, affordable energy services to low-income families in rural Bihar. Deviab promotes clean energy access in rural areas through a synergy of microfinance, technology and rural energy hubs. Prior to Deviab Energy, Deepak worked with Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society where he spearheaded their energy access project in Purnia district and helped lighting up 10,000+ rural households with solar energy systems. Deepak holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from National Institute of Technology, Raipur and a master’s degree in environmental management from IIFM Bhopal.
Suhani is the co-founder and CEO of Saral Designs, a Mumbai-based social enterprise providing access to quality affordable menstrual hygiene...” [READ MORE]
Suhani is the co-founder and CEO of Saral Designs, a Mumbai-based social enterprise providing access to quality affordable menstrual hygiene products to low-income women in India. Taking a systems thinking approach, Saral enables women’s groups to produce their own low-cost sanitary napkins by providing them with fully automatic, compact desktop machines to manufacture the products, along with continual operations, distribution, supply chain and marketing support. With three years of investment banking experience at Deutsche Bank, Suhani holds a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering with a minor in electrical engineering from IIT Bombay.
“Uthara is the Chief Changemaker of Buzz India, an innovative mobile education delivery program housed in a bus. As a social entrepreneur, Uthara’s goal is to alleviate poverty...” [READ MORE]
Uthara is the Chief Changemaker of Buzz India, an innovative mobile education delivery program housed in a bus. As a social entrepreneur, Uthara’s goal is to alleviate poverty through capability building for the poor. Buzz empowers rural women in South India as well as microfinance recipients in Kenya by offering educational tools and solutions designed to increase their personal, business and financial growth. To date, Buzz’s quantitative impact shows that, on average, the women they have worked with have increased their revenues by 16 percent, profits by 30 percent and personal savings by 97 percent. Hailing from Bangalore, Uthara is a Cost and Management Accountant and holds a diploma in youth in development.
“Ashish is the co-founder of Bachpan Banao Fellowship. Bachpan Banao works in the remote tribal areas of Chattisgarh state affected by left-wing extremism to ensure children...” [READ MORE]
Ashish is the co-founder of Bachpan Banao Fellowship. Bachpan Banao works in the remote tribal areas of Chattisgarh state affected by left-wing extremism to ensure children from marginalized families have access to quality education by strengthening resources and support for teachers. As an engineer-turned-education professional passionate about serving rural areas, Ashish has over nine years’ of experience working with such corporations as Infosys and NIIT and nonprofits as Teach For India. Ashish holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Bhopal University.
“Rajat is the Chief Operating Officer of Agrasar, a non-profit organization committed to human capital development and social security of the disadvantaged communities in India....” [READ MORE]
Rajat is the Chief Operating Officer of Agrasar, a non-profit organization committed to human capital development and social security of the disadvantaged communities in India. Prior to Agrasar, Rajat worked with various NGOs, corporate organizations, government health departments and international funding institutions across eye-care, tuberculosis, sanitation, maternal and child health & family planning. He is currently based in Hyderabad, is an MBBS graduate from BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad and holds Master’s in Rural Management from IRMA.
“Jenpu is the founder of Community Avenue Network (CAN), a youth-led nonprofit based in Dimapur, Nagaland in the Northeast region of India. CAN operates projects including...” [READ MORE]
Jenpu is the founder of Community Avenue Network (CAN), a youth-led nonprofit based in Dimapur, Nagaland in the Northeast region of India. CAN operates projects including providing material and moral support to children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, vocational training for underprivileged youth and organizing volunteers from different colleges and villages to engage in community service. Presently, Jenpu is Information Secretary of Nagaland Alliance for Children and Women Rights.
“Kanan is the founder and Managing Director of Research Foundation for Governance in India, an Ahmedabad-based think tank that advocates for legal and political reform in Gujarat...” [READ MORE]
Kanan is the founder and Managing Director of Research Foundation for Governance in India, an Ahmedabad-based think tank that advocates for legal and political reform in Gujarat and across India. Her passion for bringing positive change to the legal system led her to initiate Lawtoons and LawForMe, which make the law more accessible and understandable to the public. Kanan is a certified mediator, a blogger for The Huffington Post, and was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. She holds a master’s degree in public administration and a law degree from the London School of Economics.
Madhukar is Head of Education Track at Pune City Connect, where he works with municipal administrators, corporate leaders, NGO's and school...” [READ MORE]
Madhukar is Head of Education Track at Pune City Connect, where he works with municipal administrators, corporate leaders, NGO’s and school teams to develop and implement a working agenda for scaling quality education in Pune. He also works as a partner consultant with the Maharashtra State Government’s Education department. Madhukar is passionate about collective action models that build the capacity of key stakeholders in schools and government machinery. He previously spent five years with Teach For India (TFI) as a Fellow in the first cohort in 2009 and also as a Manager, working with the Pune city team. Previously, Madhukar worked as a Senior Consultant for School Improvement at Gray Matters India and also as a Marketing Manager with Larsen & Toubro. Madhukar holds a degree in engineering from BITS Pilani.
Raghav serves as Principal of the Farmers Segment at the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange, the largest agricultural commodity exchange...” [READ MORE]
Raghav serves as Principal of the Farmers Segment at the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange, the largest agricultural commodity exchange in India. He focuses on developing platforms and products to empower farmers to directly sell to online and nationally traded markets. Prior to this role, he spent three years living and working with small holder women farmers in Narmada Valley co-creating RamRahim Pragati Producer Company Ltd. During his tenure, he drove the successful launch of RamRahim on the futures and forwards segment of the commodity exchange in India. A first of its kind development for farmers in India, the launch set the stage for farmers to protect themselves from price shocks by accessing online market platforms. He holds a BTech degree from NIT-K Surathkal and is a Young India Fellow where he studied liberal arts.
“Sanjukta is Senior Manager of Research and Innovation at ayzh, a Chennai-based social enterprise improving maternal and newborn health in resource-poor areas. Through kit-style...” [READ MORE]
Sanjukta is Senior Manager of Research and Innovation at ayzh, a Chennai-based social enterprise improving maternal and newborn health in resource-poor areas. Through kit-style products and mobile training programs, ayzh works to provide women with access to safe deliveries and essential newborn care and ensure adherence to best practices across the maternal and newborn health continuum. To date, azyh has impacted over 140,000 mothers, newborns and healthcare providers across India, Africa and Latin America. Sanjukta was previously project manager and researcher with Simpa Networks, a social enterprise that makes solar energy accessible in rural markets. She has a master’s degree in design from IIT Bombay.
“Swapnil is the founder and the Chief Toilet Cleaner at Samagra, which uses information and communication technology, behavioral sciences, data analytics and design to provide...” [READ MORE]
Swapnil is the founder and the Chief Toilet Cleaner at Samagra, which uses information and communication technology, behavioral sciences, data analytics and design to provide toilet services to the urban poor. Currently, Samagra is serving over 5,000 users residing in the slums of Pune and plans to reach over 20 million users in five years by collaborating with organizations across the developing world. Swapnil, also known as the “Poop Guy,” is a divergent thinker who believes the answers to problems lie in the innovative use of psychology, technology and design. In 2011, Swapnil dropped out of a management and design program at Northwestern University, gave up his U.S. residency and moved back to India to start Samagra, where he lived in the slums of various Indian cities to gain firsthand experience of the problem he aimed to solve. He is an Ashoka Fellow, holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from Bhilai Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University.
“Vimal is the founder of Movement for Scavenger Community (MSC), an organization committed to the eradication of manual scavenging in India and bringing education and awareness...” [READ MORE]
Vimal is the founder of Movement for Scavenger Community (MSC), an organization committed to the eradication of manual scavenging in India and bringing education and awareness to the existing scavenger community. Under MSC he also operates the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Youth Study Center which provides career counselling and a small library to disadvantaged students in Haryana. As a Ph.D scholar in social work with a focus on caste violence at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, he was awarded the Young Professional Fellowship from the Dalit Foundation in 2008. Vimal holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work from the University of Kurukshetra in Haryana.