The CSC’s Leaders in Sustainable Development programme aims to equip Commonwealth Scholars with the knowledge and skills to effect real development impact and become change-makers in their home countries.

Through online training, interactive workshops, and resources for personal study and reflection, the Leaders in Sustainable Development programme complements Scholars’ academic work and provides a unique opportunity gain critical development skills and an understanding of how to make a difference post-scholarship.

Beginning the development journey

The Leaders in Sustainable Development programme starts before Scholars even commence their scholarship with an online training course, ‘Understanding Development Impact’, hosted on FutureLearn. This training introduces many of the key concepts in development today and provides Scholars with the tools and contextual knowledge to begin their development impact journey.

The ‘Understanding Development Impact’ training brings Scholars together in a virtual space to discuss the successes and challenges facing the development sector. Engaging head-on with difficult questions such as ‘what gives a change-maker the right to intervene?’ is a key part of the course, but the training also provides supported learning for Scholars through guided tasks, peer review activities, and forums for discussion at each course stage.

Over the past year, more than 680 Scholars have participated in the ‘Understanding Development Impact’ training and shared over 7,900 comments in the discussion forums, which highlights the power of social learning in building momentum for sustainable development impact.

Building development knowledge and professional experience

The knowledge and skills that Scholars gain in the ‘Understanding Development Impact’ training feeds into the CSC’s Leaders in Sustainable Development programme of workshops. This programme of workshops features a blend of virtual and in-person sessions that run throughout the academic year and cover a broad range of topics, from public engagement and networking skills through to understanding cultural intelligence and planning for social impact.

The Leaders in Sustainable Development workshops are designed to prepare Scholars for the projects and careers they will undertake after their scholarship with skills training for professional settings as well as bespoke, development-focused masterclasses. Our workshops actively support Scholars in their academic studies by providing an evidence-based approach to learning and tailored sessions on research impact and applying for research grants.

This year, there will be 23 workshops as part of the Leaders in Sustainable Development programme including regional, in-person sessions from January 2022*. The regional workshops will give Scholars a chance to learn and collaborate with peers studying in the same region as them as well as benefitting from in-person networking opportunities.

Learning, Recording, and Reflecting

The Leaders in Sustainable Development programme is underpinned by the work Scholars do to record and reflect on their learning at each stage of the programme. With learning resources provided by the CSC and workshop facilitators, Scholars can consolidate their skills and knowledge as they progress through the training and workshops and reflect on the impact they can have as change-makers and leaders in sustainable development after their scholarship ends.

How to get involved

Applications for the Leaders in Sustainable Development programme of workshops are now open. All eligible Scholars should have received information about the programme and how to apply from the CSC Engagement Team.

The deadline for applications is 10:00 (BST) on Monday 18 October 2021.

If you have any questions about the Leaders in Sustainable Development programme, please contact for more information.

*Please note, all CSC in-person events may be subject to change in line with public health and safety guidance.