Acumen West Africa Fellowship
The West Africa Acumen 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 West 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 ventures to create meaningful change in West 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.
West Africa is at a crossroad - socio political issues such as conflict, insecurity, corruption, bad-governance and the economic fallout of COVID-19, have deepened poverty within the region. Disrupting the status quo requires a new kind of leadership committed to building sustainable and resilient systems. Acumen Academy in West Africa is bridging the region’s leadership gap by equipping and enabling a generation of leaders that can navigate the unknown, listen deeply, build trust, and bring together the views and priorities of multiple stakeholders in service of our shared prosperity.
Who are we looking for?
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.
Applicants must reside in West Africa and the impact of their work should be focused on West Africa particularly our focus countries which are: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gambia
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 which persist well beyond the program, and Fellows build peer relationships that prove invaluable on their journey toward creating greater impact.
Fellowship curriculum highlights below:
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.
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.
Develop the capacity to tell meaningful stories that speak across lines of difference and move others to action.
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 Fellows 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 to practice new leadership methods that create different outcomes in their teams and organizations
Societal: The program enables a deeper understanding of how to extend the influence directly or through the organizational work across their broader communities and ecosystems
At its core, the Fellowship is focused on translating this impact into three interconnect :
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 engage with systemic problems of poverty.