The Community Solutions Program is a yearlong professional development program that supports engaged civil society leaders, ages 26-39, to enhance their leadership and technical expertise to address economic, environmental, political, and social challenges in their local communities.
Through a tailored four-month fellowship with a U.S. nonprofit organization or local government agency, an integrated leadership curriculum, and individualized coaching, visionary leaders strengthen their ability to lead collaboratively, address complex community challenges, and build more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful communities in over 100 countries around the world.
The Community Solutions Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.
The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is a year-long professional leadership development program for people who are working to improve their communities by addressing issues related to the environment, peace and conflict resolution, transparency and accountability, and women and gender. 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 experience
- Community Leadership Institute: Community Solutions fellows participate in the Community Leadership Institute, a leadership training program 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 put these projects into action in their home communities
Applications for the 2024 Community Solutions Program will be accepted beginning Thursday, October 5, 2023. Applications must be submitted online at https://csp.irex.org by Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT to be considered. Applications that are mailed, faxed, or emailed to IREX will not be accepted. Please direct any questions after reading this document to [email protected].
When completing the application, please note:
- Use one email address throughout the entire CSP application and selection process
- Applications must be completed online; applications that are mailed, faxed or emailed to IREX will not be accepted.
- Questions that are marked with a red asterisk must be answered. If a required question does not apply to you, enter N/A (not applicable).
- Do not translate the spelling of names or locations into English, only into the English alphabet.
- Other than names and locations, write all answers in English. Applications that are not completed in English will be disqualified.
- Applications must be completed solely by the applicant.
- Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. to be considered.
- Individuals may only submit one application. If an applicant submits two applications using different email addresses, then the individual will be disqualified.
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, Brazil, 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
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