Call for Applications: Acumen East Africa Fellowship

Acumen Academy is the world’s school for social change. We inspire the world to build solutions to poverty and equip determined individuals using the knowledge and tools of business grounded in community and the practices of moral leadership.

The East Africa Acumen Fellowship is a rigorous leadership program that brings together a cohort of extraordinary individuals working on problems of poverty and equips them with the knowledge, skills, and community to strengthen their leadership and scale their impact to create meaningful change in East Africa.

After Fellow Candidates complete the program they join The Foundry, a community of like-minded peers who are working across sectors and geographies to build a world based on dignity. As part of this diverse community committed to sharing ideas and experiences, they gain access to capital, coaching, and continuous learning as part of lifelong accompaniment on their journey to creating social change.


  • The Fellowship looks for “builders” who are working to solve problems of poverty.  Builders include founders, CEOs, and senior leaders (COO, MD, etc.) at for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid social enterprises as well as corporate or government sector intrapreneurs. While these titles offer a glimpse of the types of roles Fellows play, what matters most is what you’re building and the track record of your impact.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience and should be able to demonstrate their commitment to solving issues of poverty.
  • Applicants should demonstrate their ability and willingness to give (contributing their knowledge, experiences, networks, and/or ideas) and receive support from the Foundry.
  • Applicants must have a reliable internet connection, be fully available to participate throughout the entirety of the program, and be able to participate in English.

Women and builders serving Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) and Crisis Affected Communities (CACs) are encouraged to apply.

Our Curriculum

For over 17 years, our flagship Fellowship curriculum has equipped Fellow Candidates with the knowledge, support systems, and skills they need to lead social change, work across lines of difference, and mobilize their communities.

Fellow Candidates remain in their jobs and participate in a 6-month program comprising 5 seminars.  The seminars are paired with online group and individual assignments designed to inspire an engaged community. The following provides a high-level overview:

  • One 3-day virtual immersive.
  • Two 5-day full-time in-person immersive (8 hours of pre-work for each immersive consisting of self-paced learning and group calls).
  • Two 4-week virtual workshops (3 hours a week of pre-work including group and individual calls as well as self-paced learning).

Fellow Candidates build trust and test new leadership skills within their cohort. This cohort-based model creates deep bonds that persist well beyond the program, and Fellows build peer relationships that prove invaluable on their journey toward creating greater impact.

Fellowship curriculum highlights below: 
Polarities Management
Cultivate the ability to lead effectively when opposing but interdependent values are in tension.
Good Society Reading
Explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through classic and contemporary texts by thinkers such as Plato, Ursula K. LeGuin, Chimamanda Adichie, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Amartya Sen.
Adaptive Leadership
Learn what it means to catalyze change at the personal, organizational, and societal levels, navigating uncertainty and embracing the gradual process that is meaningful change.
Authentic Voice
Develop the capacity to tell meaningful stories that speak across lines of difference and move others to action.

Fellowship Impact

Fellows come from all walks of life – they work in all sectors, industries, and issue areas, and share the determination and vision to build a world based on dignity. The Program supports the Fellows’ impact across three levels:

  • Individual: Fellows are challenged to reflect on their values and behavior, and to change the way they think of and engage with larger systems to create a world based on dignity.
  • Organizational: The program offers a space for Fellows to practice new leadership methods that create different outcomes in their teams and organizations.
  • Societal: The program enables Fellows to cultivate a deeper understanding of how to influence change across their broader communities and ecosystems, whether directly or through their organizational work.

At its core, the Fellowship is focused on translating this impact into three interconnected outcomes:

1. The Foundry: Fellows belong to our global community, The Foundry, that accompanies them over a lifetime, creating opportunities for support, collaboration and collective impact.

2. Moral Leadership: Fellows help catalyze the practices of Moral Leadership within society, building a growing movement that strives to role-model a world based on dignity.

3. Reimagining success: Fellows help shape the actions of their organizations and initiatives to build solutions that reimagine the goals, structures, and rules of existing systems in order to meaningfully address systemic problems of poverty.

Deadline: February 4, 2024

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