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Acumen Expands Its Fellowship Program, Starting with Latin America and West Africa

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Two new fellowships to launch in Colombia and West Africa

Acumen announced today the expansion of its leadership program, which equips extraordinary people from around the world with the capacity to positively transform society. The expansion, kicking off with two new fellowships, will begin in Latin America and West Africa in 2018.

Over the last decade, Acumen has been investing in a pipeline of leaders on the journey to create change, focusing mainly on East Africa and South Asia. The organization, which is changing the way the world tackles poverty, launched its first Fellows program in 2007. It then went on to build fellowships in its regions, starting with East Africa in 2011, followed by Pakistan in 2012 and India in 2013.

“We decided to go deeper into our geographies,” said Director of Leadership Bavidra Mohan, “to work with emerging leaders who are challenging the status quo and disrupting the systems that keep people in poverty. With the more region-focused fellowships, we can build cohorts of driven, and committed  local leaders that are reflective of the population, with significant geographic, class, ethnic, religious and socio-economic diversity. We believe they will be the next generation to model a new kind of leadership and create real, lasting change in their countries.”

Starting on June 12, the Colombia Fellows program will be accepting early applications for participants to join the 2019 cohort. Applications for West Africa—along with East Africa, India, and Pakistan—will open on August 6.

“With the signing of the Peace Accord in Colombia, it is imperative that any post-conflict, peace-building efforts addresses historical injustice rather than reinforcing existing patterns of inequality and exclusion”, said Director of Latin America Virgilio Barco.  “It is critical we create opportunity to empower local communities in rebuilding their territories. The Acumen Fellowship will bring together change agents from across lines of difference who are a mirror of our society and who are eager to build a brighter, more just future for Colombia.”

Since its start in 2007, the Acumen Fellowship has cultivated almost 450 social change leaders. From tackling the taboos of menstrual health in rural communities across India to building solar-powered educational devices for tribes in Kenya, Acumen Fellows represent a wide range of backgrounds and social causes.

To learn more about the Acumen Fellows program or sign up to get alerts on upcoming application deadlines, visit