Call for Applications: The AfYWL African Union Fellowship Programme

Call for Applications: The AfYWL African Union Fellowship Programme

UNDP is searching for 25 young African women to join the second cohort of the African Young Women Leaders (AfYWL) Fellowship Programme.

The AfYWL Fellowship Programme offers an exciting assignment with UNDP at its HQ in New York or in one of its regional or country offices. The fellow may also be assigned to the United Nations (UN) Secretariat or the African Union (AU) Commission. For the second cohort (2021-2022), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will work with the African Union Commission (AUC) and AU member states to enhance women's leadership and representation in public and private institutions through targeted leadership training and capacity development to promote the participation of young women in decision-making roles.

About the AfYWL Fellowship

The fellowship is a partnership between the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Established under the framework of the AUC Chairperson's 1 Million by 2021 Initiative, the fellowship aims to provide opportunities for African youth in the key areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement, and mainstream youth and women in crucial development spaces.

The 12-month fellowship rests on three pillars:

  1. Equipping outstanding young African women leaders with the leadership skills and experience required to advance the SDGs and Agenda 2063 and contribute effectively to decision-making in public, private and multilateral institutions at home and abroad.
  2. Creating a diverse pool of talent to enhance UNDP's organizational efficiency and contribute to more responsive and effective policies and programmes.
  3. Developing a network of African young women professionals that promotes innovative, sustainable and inclusive development through South-South development exchange.


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  • The programme will cover expenses related to travel and medical insurance.
  • Each fellow will receive a monthly stipend to cover accommodation and living costs at their respective duty station.
  • An earmarked learning budget will also be allocated for undertaking relevant learning and development activities.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, physical travel will depend on each recruiting office's recommended guidelines.

Application Procedure

You are required to submit your application in English and must include the following (to be scanned and uploaded as one document, maximum 10 MB):

  • A one-page motivation letter highlighting why you would be an outstanding candidate, your strengths and how your participation in the Fellowship Programme will contribute to your future career.
  • A short essay of 1,500 words (3 pages single-spaced) presenting an innovative solution to a complex development problem. Describe the nature of the problem, the underlying causes, who is responsible for addressing and solving this problem, your proposed innovative solution to the problem and how you would implement it.
  • Copies of your academic degrees (tertiary education).
  • Two professional and signed reference letters

Selection Process

  • Applications that do not meet the minimum requirements and include the complete package of the above documents will not be taken into further consideration and will be disqualified.
  •  Please note that only candidates under consideration will be contacted for further assessment. If you have not been contacted by mid-November 2021, your application has not been considered.
  •  Candidates under consideration will be invited to an online test to examine their competencies. Should you be considered following successful completion of the test and assessment of your submitted essay, you will be further shortlisted and invited to conduct a video interview.
  •  Successful candidates will be included in a final roster considered for the available AfYWL Fellowship assignments. Candidates under final consideration will be invited for a follow-up interview with the hosting UNDP Headquarters, regional or country office or AUC office.
  •  Offers to join the 2nd Cohort of African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme will be communicated to the 25 most successful candidates.
  •  All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.


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Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Female candidates accepted only.
  •  National of an African Union member state
  • National of an African Union member state. Priority will be given to nationals of AU member states not included in the first cohort of the Fellowship Programme.
  • Aged below 34 years at the date of application.
  • Master's degree or equivalent in Economics, Political Science, Business Administration, International Relations/Development, Law, Communications, Digitalization or other related development fields.
  • Maximum one year (postmaster) of relevant and paid working experience in research, analysis, programme/project development, implementation, and management.
  • Available in late 2021/early 2022 to participate in an induction workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Available in 2021/22 to dedicate 12 months to a fellowship assignment.
  • Willing to live and work outside their country of residence.
  • Understanding of, and interest in, poverty eradication, sustainable structural transformation, the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
  • Capacity to gather comprehensive information on complex problems or situations and evaluate and analyze data accurately to identify critical issues and solutions.


  • Innovation - Ability to make new and practical ideas work
  • Leadership - Ability to persuade others to follow
  • People Management - Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Communication - Ability to listen, adapt, influence and transform
  • Delivery - Ability to get things done

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is 14 September 2021.

How to Apply

Please visit the UNDP Career Opportunities page to apply.


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