Apply to the Emerging Leaders for Change East Africa Cohort

Apply to the Emerging Leaders for Change East Africa Cohort

The Women Deliver Emerging Leaders for Change Program is a two-year leadership program that supports passionate young activists with the resources, platforms, connections, and trainings necessary to amplify and achieve their advocacy goals. Women Deliver, with its strong commitment to both gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), has a strong history of equitable youth engagement and co-leadership.  

The Emerging Leaders Program is a focused, well-resourced, thematically-bound program that will co-create each Emerging Leader’s advocacy journey with them. It is the result of us:  

  • Taking stock of a decade’s worth of lessons learned 
  • Reflecting on our own transformation as an organization 
  • Conducting numerous consultations with youth and partners in the field 

Women Deliver will work with each Emerging Leader on developing their journey with flexible funding, support, trainings, and resources.

Who Is Eligible for the Program? 

Young people (aged 15-29) of any gender and sexual identity who: 

See more details on eligibility, including language proficiency requirements, here.


Applications close on 30 May 2024, at 11:59 pm (23:59) EAT 

Application Guide: We strongly recommend reading the application guide BEFORE starting your application. This will allow you to see the questions on the application in advance and provide more information regarding the application process and selection criteria. You can prepare your answers in advance offline, and you can also save the application in progress online and return to it later to complete and submit it. 

Program Offerings

Each Emerging Leader’s journey in the Emerging Leaders Program will be customized based on their advocacy goals, as well as their own goals for personal skills-building and growth as advocates. Opportunities available to Emerging Leaders on this journey include: 

Training, Mentorship, and Peer Learning: With the aim of equipping Emerging Leaders with essential advocacy skills and knowledge critical to excel at their role as advocates, the Emerging Leaders Program facilitates dynamic collaborative learning experiences. Based on customized, self-created learning journeys, Emerging Leaders will give and receive training, co-create and receive resources, benefit from relevant mentorship from Young Leader Alumni based in their region or country, and have access to peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing opportunities.

Flexible Funding: Emerging Leaders will be provided with 18-month, flexible, trust-based grants ranging from $5,000 – $50,000USD to support their advocacy and to strengthen their organizations, along with technical assistance and context-specific resources.

Convenings: Women Deliver is well known for its convening power, and this will extend to the Emerging Leaders Program. Each Emerging Leader will attend one fully-funded Opening Workshop and one fully-funded Closing Workshop, each designed to build relationships among Emerging Leaders and advance learning based on their customized learning goals. The workshops will be co-created and co-led by Emerging Leaders.

A Supportive Ecosystem of Partners: The Emerging Leaders program increases Emerging Leaders’ access to and collaboration with national, regional, or global advocacy coalitions or networks and to provide feminist collective care, support, and solidarity.

Political Engagement and Influencing in Regional and Global Advocacy Spaces: Political engagement and influencing opportunities allow Emerging Leaders to engage directly with decision-makers. These fully-funded opportunities could include joining a leadership or advisory body, speaking at relevant events, or participating in policy advocacy convenings and forums. Emerging Leaders will build their profiles as experts and leaders with the support of Women Deliver, who will use its own relationships to give advocates the ability to access decision-making roles and spaces. Additionally, Women Deliver will leverage its own influence in global spaces to push for equitable and meaningful engagement of young people in decision-making spaces. 


  • Location: The first region of the Emerging Leaders for Change Program will be East Africa, specifically the following countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
    • You do not need to be a citizen of these or originally from these countries — you just need to live and conduct your advoacy in these countries.  
    • Special Exception: If you do not live in one of these countries (but your advocacy work is still targeting one of these countries) because it is unsafe for your to reside there while conducting your advocacy work, you are eligible for this program. If this is the case, you will be given the opportunity to elaborate on your situation in the application. 
      • Example: You are an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights in one of the eligible countries, but live in South Africa since it had become unsafe for you to live in the eligible country while doing this work. 
  • Age: Those applying for this program must be between ages 15-29 as of 1 October 2024. If under age 18, you will need permission and consent from your parent/guardian to join this program.  
  • Sex / Gender: This program is open to all gender and sexual identities with a emphasis on those who identify as girls, women, or non-binary.  
  • Advocacy: Must be an advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and/or gender equality, particularly focusing on advocacy that affects adolescent girls within their communities. Preference will be given for those interested or experienced in our focus issue areas: universal health coverage, the climate crisis, and countering the anti-rights movement.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC): UHC means that quality health services are accessible to everyone without financial burden. While UHC encompasses a wide range of health services, it is crucial to prioritize girls and women’s health needs, particularly their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), to make UHC and health care for all a reality.

The Climate Crisis: The global climate crisis disproportionately affects those who have contributed to it the least: adolescent girls, women, and gender-diverse people. They have the least resources to cope and recover in the face of climate shocks and stresses, and they bear most of the burden from community and household coping strategies. 

Countering the Anti-Rights Movement: For decades, an increasingly powerful and well-financed coalition of anti-rights actors has relentlessly challenged and sought to erode girls’ and women’s bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). At least $1 billion USD has been channeled across the globe to support the anti-gender movement. Their growing influence is visibly manifested in various regressive policies at the national level. They have also strategically infiltrated forums at the global level to manipulate and weaponize human rights language and suppress pro-SRHR voices within civil society. 

  • Code of Conduct: To join this program, you must align and agree with our organization’s code of conduct. Additionally, all Emerging Leaders will be protected by and must agree to adhere to Women Deliver’s Child and Young Person Safeguarding Policy.  
  • Language: This program requires competency in the English language. Women Deliver is working to expand future iterations of the program to be multi-lingual. If you are under 18 or would like to share about this program with those in your family or community that do not speak English, we have translated the following documents into Kiswahili, French, Kinyarwanda, and Amharic: 
  • Internet Connectivity: Program activities will primarily take place online, however some activities, such as the opening and closing workshops, will be in-person. Women Deliver is happy to provide data stipends and/or a hardware stipend to support Emerging Leaders to access the internet for program activities.   
  • Active Engagement: To get the most value out of this program, Emerging Leaders should be dedicated and passionate advocates willing to actively engage in program offerings, and interested in dedicating significant time to their own advocacy projects. For more information on what this looks like for you, please see this participation guide

Questions about your eligibility? Email:  

Recruitment Timeline

  • 15 April 2024: The application for the 2024 Emerging Leaders Program: East Africa Edition will open at 12:00am East Africa Time (EAT).   
  • April – May 2024: Women Deliver will host two informational sessions on the Emerging Leaders Program. If you are interested in joining, you can register for them below. If you are unable to attend, you can still register for one of them and a recording will be sent to your email.  
    • 29 April at 4:00 – 6:00 pm EAT (Register here
    • 15 May at 4:00 – 6:00 pm EAT (Register here
  • 30 May 2024: The application for the Emerging Leaders for Change East Africa Cohort will close at 11:59 PM (23:59) EAT.   
  • June – July 2024: Applications are reviewed by a diverse selection committee made up of Women Deliver staff, Young Leader Alumni, and partner organizations with deep regional and issue-area expertise. Of all submitted applications, approximately 60 semi-finalists will be selected for the next round.  
  • End July 2024: All applicants will be notified if they have been selected as a semi-finalist or not. If you have been selected as a semi-finalist, you will be invited to schedule yourself for a group interview, the final stage of the application process.   
  • August 2024: Group interviews will be conducted with semi-finalists.  
  • End of August 2024: Final selections will be made, and all semi-finalists will be notified if they have been selected or not.  
  • September 2024: Onboarding of Emerging Leaders starts, including a welcome call. Emerging Leaders will be asked to share information to be used in the announcement of the new cohort of Emerging Leaders and to be added to the Women Deliver website.  
  • 1 October 2024: Official start of the Emerging Leaders for Change Program. 

About the Program

  • Goals of the Program  : 
    • Strengthened skills, built brand/profile, and enhanced resources of Emerging Leaders to develop and implement their own advocacy projects related to SRHR, particularly for adolescent girls in their contexts. 
    • Strengthened relationships between traditionally ignored voices, such as Emerging Leaders and decision-makers capable of influencing political and financial policies. 
    • Increased global convening opportunities to build bridges between and foster robust partnerships among unlikely partners, including Emerging Leaders and decision-makers. 
    • A catalyzed movement of Emerging Leaders, Young Leader Alumni, and youth advocates to advance SRHR within their local and national contexts and in global spaces
  • A Rolling Regional Model  : Women Deliver will focus on one region at a time, providing the Emerging Leaders from that region with curated, context-specific support and local expertise. Once the cohort is up and running, Women Deliver will initiate the recruitment for another region, and so forth. The purpose of focusing on regions concurrently, rather than all at the same time, is to create and foster a sense of community, interconnectedness, and coalition-building among the Emerging Leaders from that region.  
  • Curated Support  : In order to provide stronger individual support to each Emerging Leader, the cohort sizes for each region will vary from 30-50 individuals who will have the opportunity to work collaboratively. This will ensure each individual gets the support they need to effectively implement their advocacy. 
  • A Renewed Focus on Adolescent Girls  : The onset of adolescence for girls represents a divergence point in which their bodily autonomy begins to be restricted, questioned, and controlled. By targeting this divergence point – and the factors that contribute to it – Emerging Leaders will work on addressing the issue at this inflection point.  
  • Providing a Sharper Lens through Issue Areas  : Emerging Leaders work, while broadly focused on SRHR and Gender Equality, will be focused on the following issue areas: Universal Health Coverage, the Climate Crisis, and the Countering the Anti-Rights Movement.  
  • Mental Health, Wellbeing, and Safeguarding at the Center  : The work of advocates and activists never ends, and can come at a cost. Women Deliver will support the mental and emotional health of Emerging Leaders, ensuring that they are supported during every step of their journey. Read Women Deliver’s Safeguarding Policy here.  


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