Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowships – information for prospective Fellows


Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowships are for mid-career professionals from low and middle income Commonwealth countries to spend a period of time at a UK host organisation working in their sector for a programme of professional development.

Purpose: To provide professionals with the opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills in their given sector, and to have catalytic effects on their workplaces.

Intended beneficiaries: Mid-career professionals (with five years’ relevant work experience) working in development-related organisations in low and middle income Commonwealth countries.

How to apply

Gender and Sexuality Fellowships in 2024

Applications for Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowships in the 2023/24 academic year are now closed.

In 2024/25, the CSC is running a Fellowship programme aimed at professionals whose work supports the rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion of communities who are discriminated again because of gender identity or sexuality.

All Fellowships in this round will be tenable for three months from Wednesday 21 February 2024.

Host organisation programmes

University of Kent

The Kent fellowship will provide a three-month programme of interdisciplinary investigation and professional development for three mid-career professionals working in equality, inclusivity, and diversity policy, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality.

During the programme, each Fellow will work with a University of Kent mentor and will be able to interact and explore different areas of the university’s response and policy associated with gender and sexuality, with the opportunity to give particular focus to their respective areas of interest and lived experience. Fellowship activities will be structured span issues which explore the realisation of EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) policy at Kent through the specific lens of gender and sexuality. The activities will involve identifying opportunities for local enhancement of policy implementation for community support at Kent. The Fellowship will also allow participants to consider good practice in gender and sexuality policy development and enactment which can be transferred to their own home working contexts.

Lifegate Outreach Centre

The Lifegate Outreach fellowship programme will be a continuous professional development programme for work. This will expose participating Fellows to various activities that enable best practices and opportunities to transfer knowledge, skills, and experience.

The programme will ensure Fellows’ project portfolios achieve the objective of promoting gender and sexuality ideation and practices. The approach for the transfer of knowledge, skills, and experience will encompass desk-based research, tailored training, practical hands-on training/workshop (where applicable), conference participation, presentation of work progress, mentoring, knowledge exchange project plan development and secondment (i.e., practitioner-to-practitioner shadowing at relevant organisations).

Through this programme, Fellows are expected to develop the capacity to promote gender and sexuality initiatives in their various spheres of influence through engagement with rural and urban communities, households, small/medium enterprises, regional/environmental-consciousness, non-governmental organisations, and local and national policymakers upon return to their home countries.

University College London (UCL)

The UCL fellowship programme will be based in the Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health and the Division of Psychiatry.

This programme will support healthcare professionals in eligible Commonwealth countries to augment the rights, freedoms, dignity, and inclusion within healthcare of communities who are discriminated against because of their gender identity or sexuality.

The programme offers bespoke training in ‘LGBT+ Health and Wellbeing’, and ‘Methodological Issues in Research with Populations Marginalised by Sexuality and/or Gender’. Fellows will receive supervision, mentorship, and knowledge exchange with experts in LGBT+ health and rights in the UK and internationally.

Fellows will develop detailed, evidence-based, context-sensitive plans for LGBT+ sensitive health service delivery and healthcare staff training to improve the mental and physical health of LGBT+ people in home countries. Fellows will also design evaluations to assess implementation. Professional networks will offer ongoing learning, support, and capacity building.

Fellow eligibility

To be eligible for these Fellowships, prospective Fellows must:

  • Be a citizen of, or have been granted refugee status by, an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected Person
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Have at least five years’ full-time, or equivalent part-time, relevant work experience, in a profession related to the subject of the fellowship programme, by the proposed start of the fellowship – voluntary work experience will not be counted towards this minimum
  • Be in employment at the time of application at an organisation that they will return to upon completion of the fellowship
  • Provide at least two references, one of which must be from their current employer. Any applications for which references are not received by the reference closing date will be considered ineligible.
  • Not have undertaken a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship within the last five years (at the time of taking up the award)
  • Not be seeking to undertake an academic programme of research or study. Academics are eligible to apply for the scheme, but only to undertake programmes of academic management, not research or courses relevant to their research subject
  •  Be available to undertake their fellowship within the full duration of the prescribed dates

In addition to the above, prospective fellows must ensure they meet any eligibility criteria set out by each individual host organisation.

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to fellows with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

Please note: Your personal information will be used to conduct necessary due diligence checks to CSC’s satisfaction, before CSC proceeds with any type of formal agreement or contractual relationship. In most cases, the due diligence checks will be straightforward, however further information may be requested, so we ask for your full co-operation to speed up the process.   

If you do not agree to your personal data being used for the purpose of conducting due diligence, unfortunately CSC will not be able to proceed further with the application process.  

Eligible countries

The Gambia
Papua New Guinea
St Helena
St Lucia
St Vincent and The Grenadines
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka

Completing Fellow application form

Applications for Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowships in the 2023/24 academic year are now closed.

In the application form, prospective Fellows are asked to:

  • List all undergraduate and postgraduate university qualifications obtained (where applicable)
  • List up to 10 publications and prizes (if applicable)
  • Provide details of your employment history and explain how each job is relevant to the programme you wish to undertake in the UK (up to 100 words per employment)
  • Provide a statement on the relevance of your previous work experience to the proposed fellowship (up to 300 words)
  • List names and positions of up to three referees who are qualified to comment on both your capacity to benefit from your proposed fellowship in the UK and your ability to deliver development impact afterwards. One of your referees must be your current employer

Provide a development impact statement in 4 parts.

  • Part 1: (up to 200 words) Explain how participation on your selected fellowship relates to:
    • UN principle to leave no one behind as it related to supporting the rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion of communities who are discriminated against because of their gender identity or sexuality.
    • development issues at the global, national and local level
    • development issues connected to the theme of human rights of people and communities who are discriminated against, or criminalised because of their gender identity or sexuality and the wider sector
  • Part 2 (up to 100 words) Explain how you intend to apply your new skills once your Fellowship ends.
  • Part 3 (up to 250 words) Outline what you expect will change in development terms following your fellowship including:
    • the outcomes that you aim to achieve
    • the timeframe for their implementation
    • who the beneficiaries will be
  • Part 4: (up to 100 words) Write about how the impact of your work could be best measured.
  • Confirm what your award objectives are and how each of them will be met by the fellowship programme
  • Confirm what your objectives are for the next two years and how each of them will be met by the fellowship programme
  • Confirm what your objectives are in the longer term and how each of them will be met by the fellowship programme
  • Provide a personal statement to summarise the ways in which your personal background has encouraged you to want to make an impact in your home country. You should indicate areas in which you have already contributed, such as having overcome any personal or community barriers to your chosen career (up to 500 words)
  • Summarise the ways in which you have engaged in voluntary activities and the opportunities you have had to demonstrate leadership (up to 500 words)
  • Provide a scan of your passport or national identity card

Financial assistance

Each Fellowship provides:

  • Approved return airfare from the Fellow’s home country to the UK
  • Reimbursement of the standard visa application fee
  • Stipend (living allowance) payable monthly (or pro rata) for the duration of the award at the rate of £1,944 per month, or £2,397 per month for those at organisations in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2021/22 levels)
  • If a Fellow declares a disability, a full assessment of needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered by the CSC. See the CSC disability support statement for more information
  • Arrival allowance of up to £1,061.10 (rates quoted at 2021/22 levels), including an element for warm clothing
  • For the Gender and Sexuality programme a £1,000 travel allowance per fellow to facilitate attendance at events (administered by host organisations)
  • A maximum of £3,000 per fellow can be agreed by host organisations for short courses/conferences as well as travel to visit other UK organisations where this forms an integral part of the programme. Host organisations should bear in mind the restrictions set out in our guidance on claimable costs.

General conditions

  • A Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowship covers a contribution to the host organisation costs, approved fares, and personal maintenance. Other fellowships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs may not be held concurrently.
  • In order for the CSC to administer a Fellow’s application effectively and efficiently after they have submitted, it will be necessary to create a record in their name. The details of Fellows who are nominated to the CSC will be kept on file. Basic anonymised demographic data for all applicants will be kept for analytical research. The CSC is committed to protecting personal information and to being transparent about the information we are collecting about individuals and what we do with it. To find out more, see our privacy notice.
  • Fellows must submit a health and disability form before a Confirmation of Award can be issued
  • Fellows will be asked to sign an undertaking which requires them to return to their home country and their previous place of employment at the time of being awarded the fellowship. Fellows must leave within five days of the end of their award
  • Fellows are expected to start and complete their award on the dates stated in their Notification of Award. The CSC is usually not able to agree any changes to these dates after the Notification of Award has been issued
  • Fellows require a Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visa to come to the UK for their award and must meet all relevant immigration regulations set by UK Visas and Immigration. These regulations are subject to change at any time. See immigration conditions for more information.
  • Fellows must reside in the UK throughout their award, and seek approval from the CSC in advance for any overseas travel, which will be granted in exceptional circumstances only
  • Fellows must not undertake paid employment during their award
  • The CSC cannot provide a letter of support for any fellow to remain in the UK after their award
  • An award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, attendance, or violation of visa conditions, or if the host organisation decides it is unable to proceed with the fellowship for any reason before or during the award
  • Applicants and selected Fellows must adhere to the CSC’s code of conduct for award holders and disciplinary policy and procedure which states:

As a Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow, you are an ambassador for both the CSC and your home country, and your actions and remarks will have an impact on the reputation of both. You are therefore expected to adhere to high standards of conduct and behaviour and to show respect to others and your surroundings at all times.

The CSC aims to enable a free exchange of ideas during all its activities in order to achieve the maximum potential impact for all participants. Recognising the diversity of backgrounds among our award holders – in terms of race, religion, gender, sexuality and cultural values – you are reminded to always be respectful to others.

The CSC is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, and to protecting all those with whom the CSC comes into contact. The CSC requires Commissioners, Secretariat staff, Scholars and Fellows to fulfil their role and responsibilities in a manner consistent with requirements for safeguarding.

  • In line with the UK Bribery Act 2010, any applicant convicted of bribery will be banned from reapplying for a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship for a period of up to five years
  • The CSC is committed to administering and managing its Scholarships and Fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and procedure and the FCDO guidance on reporting fraud.
  • All terms and conditions of award are subject to UK local law and practices and are subject to change by the CSC.

For more information, see the handbook for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows. Please note that the conditions outlined in the handbook are subject to change.

Immigration conditions

Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellows require a Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visa to come to the UK for their award and must meet all relevant immigration requirements. All UK immigration regulations are set by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and are subject to change at any time. The CSC has no control over these regulations.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), which provides the CSC Secretariat, acts as the Temporary Work visa sponsor on behalf of the CSC. In accordance with immigration regulations, sponsorship duties relating to record keeping, monitoring, and reporting of Fellows must be completed. While the ACU (on behalf of the CSC Secretariat) is responsible for assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) and submitting reports to UK Visas and Immigration, host organisations are required to assist in these activities as per the host organisations’ obligations which can be accessed on the information for prospective hosts page. Failure on the part of the host organisation to provide the ACU with the required documentation and to report relevant details may result in the loss of the ACU’s Temporary Work visa licence and ability to sponsor Fellows’ visas.

Fellows’ obligations

Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellows must provide the following documents before the ACU (acting on behalf of the CSC Secretariat) will assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS):

  • Visa information form
  • Award acceptance form (signed)
  • Copy of passport personal details page

The CSC Secretariat will send the details of the assigned CoS to the Fellow by email, to enable them to make their visa application, and will keep a copy on file.

After a CoS has been assigned, fellows must provide copies of the following documents to the CSC Secretariat:

  • UK visa, before they travel to the UK
  • Passport entry stamp and/or a used boarding pass and checked baggage receipt, at the end of their fellowship and every time they travel outside the UK during their fellowship

Reporting to UK Visas and Immigration

Once a Fellow has been issued with a CoS and while they are in the UK, the ACU is required to report to UKVI within ten working days if:

  • The fellow does not start the programme within 28 days on their expected start date, or valid from date on their visa (whichever is later). This includes if the fellow misses a flight and will be arriving at a later date agreed by the host organisation.
  • The Fellow is absent from their work location. The ACU requires details of all absences; however, only unauthorised absences of ten working days or more will be reported to UKVI.
  • The fellowship finishes before the end date stated on the CoS (e.g. if the Fellow withdraws, has their fellowship withdrawn, or finishes their programme early).
  • The Fellow defers their fellowship.
  • The Fellow no longer requires sponsorship under Temporary Work visa (e.g. if they switch to a different visa type).
  • There are any significant changes to the Fellow’s circumstances (e.g. a change of work location, passport details, etc).
  • There is any information which suggests that the Fellow is in breach of the conditions of their visa (including engaging in criminal activity).

Travel outside the UK during the fellowship

Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowships are tenable in the UK only, and Fellows must seek permission from their CSC Programme Officer and host organisation if they wish to travel outside the UK for any reason.

Further information

This information is subject to changes in UKVI policy guidance and the immigration rules which is available on the UKVI website. UKVI may make changes to the terms and conditions of visas at any point.

Further information can be obtained from the CSC’s Senior Welfare and Immigration Officer, please email:


If you have any queries about Commonwealth Gender and Sexuality Fellowships, please email

General enquiries about applying for Commonwealth Scholarships or Fellowships sent to this email address will not be answered; please use the contact us form instead.

To see a list of our previous Fellowship hosts please visit our Professional Fellowship Host Organisation page and to learn more about previous Time Limited programmes please visit our TLP page.