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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



NGO Leadership Transition Fellowship Program (LTFP) In Africa

ARNOVA and AROCSA, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, have established the NGO Leadership Transition Fellowship Program (LTFP) in Africa. This program is intended for senior civil society/NGO leaders who are contemplating or have decided to move on from their existing NGO. This program seeks to help that leader develop a succession plan within the organization, contemplate a personal transition plan and also preserve their knowledge and experience.


The objectives of the LTFP in Africa are to:

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


This program will start September 1, 2020 and end on November 30, 2020

Fellowship Activities

  • I. Pre-Fellowship Retreat: ARNOVA will organize a two-day retreat in the US in September to enable better understanding of the following: 1) each fellow’s transition needs; 2) what stage they and their organizations are, in thinking and planning for their transition; and 3) agreement on timing and output of the fellowship. The retreat would also enable creation of peer learning and mentoring community within each LTFP cohort that will enable them to support one another through difficult times in their transition plan.
  • II. 3-month fellowship placements at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indianapolis, Indiana, which will serve as the host institution. Fellows will work with a faculty mentor at the host university to provide guidance on fellows’ book chapters, documention of leadership experience, and networking. The engagement of the fellows while on the LTFP would include:
  • 1. Reflections on leadership experiences and what they plan to do after the fellowship
  • 2. Writing of a book chapter on a topic of their choice – giving their perspectives on topical issues in the sector; developing a personal career transition plan, and leadership succession plan for their NGOs
  • 3. Organizing of seminars where necessary, on a topic of their choice with students and faculties of the host institution, where they would share their experience amongst others
  • III. Post-Fellowship Retreat: AROCSA will organize a full day retreat to be held during the AROCSA Pre-Conference session in July of the year following the fellowship. This provides opportunity for a de-brief on the program, capture lessons lerned, discuss implications for the sector, plan next steps, and connect with academic institutions in Africa.
  • IV. Presentation of the book chapters. Fellows will be invited to present their learning experiences in panels and take questions from an intergenerational and cross-sector audience in Africa comprising leaders, researchers and scholars in the social sector. The presentations would highlight their perspectives captured in their book chapters, and will take place during the AROCSA Annual Conference which is typically held in July in Africa. The panel sessions and publication of their written pieces would mark the end of each cycle of the fellowship program.
  • IV. Regional report-back seminar: At the end of the fellowship program and after returning to their countries, each fellow will organize a feedback and experience-sharing seminar, involving the fellow’s organization, other CSOs leaders and institutions. This will create awareness of the Fellowship program and serve as a medium to give back.
  • V. Mentorship: For a year after the fellowship, the Fellow will commit to adopting a mentee, or serve a CSO in an advisory capacity so that there is transference of knowledge and provision of support. This structured mentorship program can be applied to an existing mentorship relationship or CSO advisory role

Financial Support

  • I. Stipend: $9,000 covering living support for the three months during the fall semester at a US university
  • II. Housing: one single furnished bedroom, in a 2-bedroom apartment shared with one other fellow for three months in Indianapolis
  • III. Health insurance through Indiana University for three months in Indianapolis
  • IV. SEVIS fee
  • V. Economy class return ticket from home country to the US for the semester at Indiana University in Indianapolis
  • VI. Costs related to attending the 2020 ARNOVA North American annual conference
  • VII. Costs related to attending the opening and closing retreats in the program
  • VIII. Up to $1000 travel funds to attend the AROCSA conference in July 2021


  • I. Executive Director of an NGO in North Africa, and from North Africa, seeking to transition away from their NGO
  • II. Approval from the board to take a sabbatical from work from September – November 2020
  • III. Candidate must be above forty (40) years of age
  • IV. Candidate must have been in the executive leadership position for at least ten (10) years
  • V. Candidate must be a full time paid staff of the NGO
  • VI. Medical fitness certified by qualified medical doctor


  • 1. Transition for the program is defined in the context of “an NGO leader exiting the NGO in which he/she has been in its full employment and paid staff leadership position for at least 10 years, and moving into a different NGO, academia, business, government or going into retirement.
  • 2. Once an offer is made, participation may not be deferred

Required Deliverables

  • I. Written Personal Transition Plan
  • II. Written Leadership Succession Plan for the NGO
  • III. A book chapter on a topic of choice reflecting topical issues in the nonprofit sector in Africa; the chapter must be between 5,000 – 7,500 words including references

Application Process

Applicants are required to apply for the Fellowship through the electronic application on the ARNOVA website. Applications must include the following:

  • I. Completed electronic application forms
  • II. Copy of current passport
  • III. Curriculum Vitae
  • IV. Two letters of recommendation (including one from the NGO Board Chair indicating that the board is aware and approves of the applicant’s participation in the fellowship)
  • V. 3-5 page (double space, 12pt font with one inch margins) personal statement that includes, but not limited to, the reason for participating in the fellowship and anticipated fellowship objectives that the applicant seeks to achieve

* If selected, you will be required to complete and document a comprehensive assessment of your health status. To view the medical form and familiarize yourself with required medical examinations, please click here: https://www.arnova.org/resource/resmgr/ford/ltfp_19/NLTFP_Medical_Fitness_Form.pdf

Application Timeline

  • February 19, 2020 Application opens
  • March 4, 2020 5:00 PM EDT Application deadline (all materials must be submitted by this time)
  • Sept 1 – Nov 30, 2020 Fellowship at Indiana University
  • November 2020 ARNOVA Conference
  • July 2021 Post-Fellowship Retreat at AROCSA Conference

Organizational/Institutional Profiles


Established initially in 1971 as the Association of Voluntary Action Scholars (AVAS), the organization was renamed the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) in 1991. In recent decades, the association has played a key role in expanding research and teaching about the practices and traditions of voluntarism, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations.

ARNOVA’s mission is to be a “leading interdisciplinary community of people dedicated to fostering – through research and education – the creation, application, and dissemination of knowledge on nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, civil society, and voluntary action.” ARNOVA’s membership comes from a broad range of academic disciplines, including sociology, political science, economics, history, law, and many others. While about three-quarters of ARNOVA’s members identify themselves as academics, the remaining one-quarter self-identify as nonprofit practitioners. Nearly one-third of ARNOVA’s membership and conference attendees live outside the United States. The association’s scholarly journal, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, is the leading peer-reviewed journal in the field. In addition, its annual conference hosts around 700 scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to present over 400 research papers. ARNOVA’s website address is www.arnova.org.


The Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) seeks to create a platform for meaningful engagement of scholars and researchers, practitioners in civil society, business and policy makers, and other stakeholders, with the goal of knowledge generation and dissemination on civil society by African scholars and practitioners, reflecting global excellence standards and propelling development on the continent.

AROCSA was founded in September 2015 in Accra, Ghana, under the auspices of the Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and with support from Ford Foundation, to promote and advance a community of excellence in research and practice on civil society in the service of African development.

There are multiple, stand-alone efforts to encourage research and knowledge-sharing on the ‘third sector’ globally, and this is evident in the existence of various organizations, conferences, academic journals etc. in various parts of the world. In Africa, the contemporary complexities of governance and relationships between sectors – public, private, non-profit, and academia — has led to the rise in the relevance of civil society and the citizen sector in general. It is therefore crucial to have a continent-wide organization that will serve as the bedrock of advancing knowledge and practice in the area of civil societies in Africa. This is why AROCSA was set up.

AROCSA expects to operate in the five areas listed below:

  • The creation of a fund to support research and scholarship on civil society in Africa An annual conference bringing together scholars and practitioners for networking, learning, and skills-building
  • A regional academic journal focused on African civil society
  • Fellowships for doctoral students and civil society professionals
  • Training for scholars and civil society organization (CSO) staff on applied research methods and evidence-based work.


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