IREX is currently accepting applications for the 2020–2021 Community Solutions Program. The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is a year-long professional development program for people who are working to improve their communities by addressing issues related to the environment, tolerance and conflict resolution, transparency and accountability, and women and gender.
For 2020–2021, up to 80 community activists will be selected to participate in the program, which includes:
- Four-month Fellowship in the United States: Community Solutions fellows are matched to host organizations throughout the U.S. where they complete a four-month, hands-on professional experience.
- Community Leadership Institute: Community Solutions fellows participate in the Community Leadership Institute, a leadership training program designed to strengthen their leadership and management skills. The Institute includes face-to-face trainings, online courses, professional coaching, and networking.
- Community-based initiatives: While in the U.S. and with the help of their U.S. host organization, Community Solutions fellows design and plan a community development initiative or project to carry out after they return home. Once the fellows depart the U.S., they put these projects into action in their home communities.
Competition for the Community Solutions Program is merit-based. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. The panel will then choose semifinalists to complete an interview. Semifinalists will also be required to take an English language exam or submit recent TOEFL or IELTS scores. After the interviews, finalists and alternates will be selected, pending their performance on their English language exam.
The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:
- J-1 visa support;
- Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the U.S.;
- Monthly allowance to cover housing, meals, and other living expenses while in the U.S.; and
- Accident and sickness insurance.
To be eligible for the Community Solutions Program, applicants must meet the requirements listed below. Applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements will be disqualified and will not be reviewed by the selection committee.
- You are between the ages of 25 and 38 as of January 1, 2020;
- You are a citizen of one of the eligible countries listed below;
- You are living and working in your home country;
- Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration.
- You have at least two years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee or volunteer;
- You are not currently participating in an academic, training, or research program in the U.S.;
- You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application;
- Semifinalists will be required to take or submit recent scores for a TOEFL or IELTS English language test.
- You are available to travel to the U.S. for four months from August to December 2020;
- You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and have not applied for U.S. permanent residency within the past three years;
- You are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa;
- Applicants who have participated in an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government must have fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement.
- You are committed to returning to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing the program; and
- You are not a current IREX employee or consultant, or their immediate family member.
Eligible Regions: Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. East Asia and the Pacific: Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and West Bank/Palestinian Territories. South and Central Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Western Hemisphere: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay