Community Solutions Program Application Information

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The application for the 2024 Community Solutions Program is now open! The application will be available to complete from October 5 to November 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET (Washington, DC time). 

The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is a year-long professional leadership development program for established community leaders working to improve their communities by addressing issues related to the democracy and human rights, environment, peace and conflict resolution, and women and gender. CSP includes a four-month hands-on U.S. practicum, personalized leadership coaching and training through a graduate level leadership curriculum, and a six-month follow-on community project fellows implement in their home country. More details below!

Community leaders will be selected to participate in the program that includes:

  • Four-month fellowship in the United States: Community Solutions fellows are matched with host organizations throughout the U.S. where they complete a four-month, hands-on professional practicum to advance their technical skills and expertise
  • Community Leadership Institute: Community Solutions fellows participate in the Community Leadership Institute, a graduate-level leadership curriculum 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 support 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 implement a six-month follow-on project in their home communities

Application Instructions

Detailed application instructions can be downloaded by the link below. Please review the program requirements prior to starting an application to ensure that you are eligible. Please note that eligibility requirements are determined by the U.S. Department of State and exceptions cannot be made. If, after reviewing the application instructions, you have additional questions, please e-mail [email protected].

APPLY NOW!

Application Resources

Financial Support

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.
  • Accident and sickness health coverage
  • Accessibility accommodations, such as ADA accessible rooms for in-person training, software such as JAWS, and community assistance and community training

Eligibility Requirements

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 26 and 39 as of January 1, 2024
  • 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 and pass 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 2024
  • 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 Countries by Region

  • Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
  • East Asia and the Pacific: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, and Vietnam
  • Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Türkiye, and Ukraine
  • Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank/Palestinian Territories
  • South and Central Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
  • Western Hemisphere: Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela

Accessibility Resources

The CSP team provides a range of disability support to fellows, beginning with the CSP application process through the end of the fellowship. Examples of disability support services and accommodations include:

  • Application Process:
    • Screen reader friendly application
    • Captioned and pre-recorded video interviews
  • Pre-Arrival:
    • Accommodations for English language testing
  • In-Person:
    • Mobility assistance devices as needed
    • Sign language interpreting
    • Live captioning and transcripts for in person and online courses
    • ADA accessible rooms for in-person events
    • Software such as JAWS
    • Community assistance and community training

Note about COVID-19: IREX intends to implement the Community Solutions Program in-person in the United States from August to December 2024. IREX, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust program implementation accordingly. Ensuring the safety and well-being of CSP participants, partners, and communities is and will continue to be IREX’s highest priority.

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