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WomenLead India Fellowship Application 2022

About the WomenLead India Fellowship Powered by Reliance Foundation & Vital Voices

Vital Voices has a long history of leadership in human rights, women’s economic empowerment, and civic engagement. Over the past two decades, Vital Voices has worked with local leaders and stakeholders around the world, including in India, to address the uneven distribution of power and resources affecting women. We are excited to implement a powerful, culture-shifting, intersectional project that aligns with the gender development mission of the Government of India and Reliance Foundation and addresses the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Established in 2010, Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited, aims to play a catalytic role in addressing the nation’s development challenges through innovative and sustainable solutions. Led by Founder and Chairperson Smt. Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation is relentlessly working towards facilitating transformative changes to ensure overall well-being and higher quality of life for all.  Among India’s largest social initiatives, Reliance Foundation is focused on addressing the nation’s development challenges in areas of Rural Transformation, Health, Education, Sports for Development, Disaster Response, Urban Renewal, and Arts, Culture and Heritage. Across these areas, Reliance Foundation believes the empowerment of women is essential for sustainable development as empowered Indian women means a stronger and a better India.


Program Overview:


The WomenLead India Fellowship aims to drive an ambitious, urgent agenda for women’s leadership in India by investing in change-makers who are tackling the world's greatest challenges and play a catalytic role towards the achievement of transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development.

  • Program Dates: November 2022 - August 2023
  • Format: Virtual and in-person
  • Cost: None (fully funded)
  • Apply by: 10 October 2022, 11:59 PM India Standard Time (IST)

This inaugural Fellowship aims to support 50 Indian women leaders who are addressing urgent economic and social issues across four key thematic areas: Rural Transformation; Education; Sports for Development; and Arts, Culture & Heritage.  

  • 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.  

Under these thematic 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.  

The WomenLead India Fellowship for 50 Indian women leaders will be the first-of-its-kind for India. Building on Vital Voices’ strength of tailor-made leadership programs for women and its premier network of women leaders, this unique, signature fellowship will nurture change-makers who will usher in change and shift the culture and perception around women’s leadership throughout India.   Spread across 10 months with in-person convenings at the beginning and end of the fellowship, the fellows will be integrated into Vital Voices’ global community through the VV Tech Hub, where webinars and community gatherings will be hosted between the two convenings. 

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 6-8 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 3 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? 

  • 3 webinars per month, extending through the duration of the fellowship, focused on leadership development and core content areas
  • 1 virtual cohort gathering per month, focused on peer learning  
  • 2 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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please
click here for answers to frequently asked questions.

Attend an Information Session

Vital Voices will host two informational sessions on the WomenLead Fellowship. Please click below to register for the sessions.

 

General criteria: 

  • Identify as a woman
  • Are an Indian national, currently residing and working in India
  • Have a minimum of 3 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 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.

Additional Criteria for Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurs track  

  • 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 3 full-time staff (or the part-time equivalent) and the business, social enterprise or for-profit organization should have been in operation for 3 years at the time of submitting the application 

Additional Criteria for Social Sector Leaders track  

  • Applicants under this track must be spearheading programs at development sector/non-profit/civil society organizations in one or more of the 4 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. 

Additional Criteria for Changemakers track  

  • Individual women, who are working on new and innovative initiatives and solutions, to drive social change in one or more of the 4 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

What happens after I apply? 

All applications are due by 10 October 2022

 

1. Once all applications are received, they will undergo a thorough review process from Vital Voices and Reliance Foundation
2. Selected candidates will be notified by 15 November 2022 
3. All candidates will be notified by 1 December 2022

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