NGO leaders can apply for a one-month fellowship placement in South Africa for career transition planning program

The Ford Foundation and the Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) are pleased to announce the 2023 call for applications to the Innocent Chukwuma African NGO Leadership Transition Fellowship Program (ICLTFP), formerly known as the African NGO Leadership Transition Fellowship Program (LTFP).

The Nonprofit Leadership Transition Fellowship Program (NLTF Program) and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) supported the Africa Leadership Transition Fellowship Program (LFTP) in 2018. It was founded in response to the urgent need for an NGO leadership transition program to assist sector leaders – civil society and NGO leaders – who are considering leaving their positions in the creation of supportive infrastructure.

The program’s main goal is thus to assist sector leaders in preparing and positioning their NGOs to be sustainable, vibrant, and continue to thrive after they leave the organization. It would allow both leaders and organizations to successfully make the transition, creating spaces for a new generation of social sector leaders to not only emerge but also have platforms to apply their creative and youthful energies. Transitioning leaders would create succession plans within their organizations, think about personal transition plans, and preserve their knowledge and experience.


The objectives of the ICLTFP are to:

  • Contribute to the process of establishing a supportive infrastructure for leadership transition within the NGO/CSO movement in Africa.
  • Promote the creation of leadership spaces for the next generation of leaders in African civil society to grow and thrive.
  • Increase the documentation of leadership experiences/reflections and renewal processes within civil society in Africa.


  • Stipend: $3,000 covering living support and associated expenses for one month.
  • Accommodation: one single furnished bedroom either in a studio/one bedroom, or shared apartment with other fellows for one month.
  • Economy class return ticket from home country to host country for in-person learning sessions.
  • Visa application fees.
  • Travel health insurance.


Pre-Fellowship Interviews: As part of the candidate prequalification process, AROCSA and CAPSI will conduct a series of interviews with shortlisted candidates in December 2022 in order to gain a better understanding of the following:

  • Each fellow’s transition needs
  • What stage they and their organizations are, in thinking and planning for their transition; and
  • Agreement on the outputs of the fellowship

CAPSI, Wits Business School at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, will serve as the host institution for a one-month in-person fellowship placement, followed by a two-month remote facilitated career transition planning and chapter writing. Wits staff will provide assistance on an ongoing basis.

Fellows will collaborate with faculty mentors at the host university to provide feedback on book chapters, documentation of leadership experience, and networking opportunities.

The engagement of the fellows while on the ICLTFP would include:

  • Reflections on their leadership experiences and plans after the fellowship.
  • Writing a book chapter on a topic of their choice – providing perspectives on current issues in the sector; developing a personal career transition plan and a leadership succession plan for their NGOs
  • Organizing seminars on a topic of their choice with students and faculty of the host institution, where they would share their experience with others, as needed.
  • Attendance at the host university’s certifiable masterclasses. The one-month retreat in South Africa would also allow for the establishment of a peer learning and mentoring community within each ICLTFP cohort, allowing them to support one another during difficult times in their transition plan.
  • Book chapter presentations. Fellows will be invited to present their learning experiences in panels and answer questions from an intergenerational and cross-sector audience in Africa comprised of social sector leaders, researchers, and scholars. The presentations will highlight their perspectives captured in their book chapters and will take place during the AROCSA Annual Conference, which is usually held in Africa in July. Each cycle of the fellowship program would conclude with panel sessions and the publication of their written pieces.
  • Regional report-back seminar: At the conclusion of the fellowship program and after returning to their home countries, each fellow will organize feedback and experience-sharing seminar that will include the fellow’s organization, other CSO leaders, and institutions. This will raise awareness of the fellowship program while also serving as a means of giving back.
  • Mentorship: For a year following the fellowship, the Fellow will commit to adopting a mentee or serving a CSO in an advisory capacity to ensure knowledge transfer and support. This structured mentorship program can be used in conjunction with an existing mentorship relationship or as a CSO advisory role.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Founder/executive director of an NGO in Africa, and from Africa, ‘actively’ seeking to transition away from their NGO/CSO.
  • Approval from the board to take a sabbatical from work from March-May 2023.
  • Candidate must be above forty (40) years of age.
  • Candidate must have been in the executive leadership position for at least ten (10) years.
  • Candidate must be a full-time paid staff of the NGO.
  • Medical fitness certified by a qualified medical doctor.

Note: The program defines transition as “an NGO leader leaving the NGO where he/she has been in full employment and as a paid staff in a leadership position for at least 10 years and moving into a different NGO, academia, business, government, or retirement”.

Once an offer is made, participation may not be deferred.

Deadline: 11 November 2022

To apply, visit here

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