Each year, the CSC offers Professional Fellowships for mid-career professionals from low- and middle-income countries to spend a period of time at a UK Host organisation for a programme of professional development. The Fellowships provide recipients with an opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills in their given sector, and to have catalytic effects on their workplaces and beneficiaries after their placement. 

This year, the CSC will be running a special Professional Fellowship programme promoting Girls’ Education as part of the UK government’s ambitious initiatives to get 40 million more girls into primary and secondary school in developing countries by 2025 and improve learning levels, so that girls can achieve their full potential.

An integral strand of the CSC’s current strategy to support the UK’s development priorities is our series of annual thematic Time Limited Programmes (TLPs). The latest TLP theme supports the CSC’s objective to ‘ensure that our programmes promote equity and inclusion, reward merit, and deliver widespread access, especially to those from disadvantaged backgrounds’. The TLP also aligns with FCDO’s priority to champion Girls’ Education, and directly contributes to delivering on SDGs 4, 5 and 17.

In addition to the Fellowship itself, a range of activities will be offered to support the Fellows and to underpin the importance of work in this area. These include a year-long engagement and communications strategy focused on promoting Girls’ Education; alumni events held across the Commonwealth; and additional support being provided to the CSC’s ‘Access, Inclusion and Opportunity’ online Knowledge Hub.

The 5 host partners have been selected, and a total of 29 Fellows have been provisionally selected.

Information on the selected host partners is available below. We are very much looking forward to working with them over the next few months while the Professional Fellows are confirmed on award and welcomed to the UK for their programme.

Host organisation programmes

Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project

Mission Statement of the Organisation:

Cardiff University’s vision is to be a world leading, research-excellent, educationally outstanding university, driven by creativity and curiosity, which fulfils its social, cultural and economic obligations to Cardiff, Wales, the UK and the world. By fulfilling our vision we expect to improve our standing as one of the top 100 universities in the world and the top 20 in the UK. Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project and Social Science Centres are part of that vision.

Fellowship summary:

Phoenix Educating Girls Namibia fellowships will be hosted within Cardiff University’s Social Science Research Park (SPARK). SPARK is a brand-new innovation campus drawing together a range of social science centres addressing complex social problems through cutting edge approaches.

Centres include foci on health and wellbeing (DECIPHer), education (WISERD), and social care CASCADE). Fellowships will primarily be located at Centre for Development, Evaluation, Complexity and Implementation in Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), prioritising development, adaptation and implementation of programmes and policies to improve health and wellbeing of children and young people. While addressing a range of health outcomes, it has a particular interest in sexual health, domestic violence and female empowerment. DECIPHer has four programmes, and fellowships will engage in cross-cutting learning across all: Healthy Public Policy; Healthy Settings; Healthy Social Relationships, Methodological Innovation. Full programme of Leadership and Reflective Learning will be provided.

Weblink for candidates: Cardiff Phoenix Project

Proposed activity:

These Fellowships offer a remarkable opportunity in this field with co-ordination by DECIPHer. DECIPHer has a broad range of studies highly relevant to girls education and empowerment. Fellows can contribute to and monitor these depending on their specialist areas of interest: mixed methods investigation of preparations for Wales-wide school reform and its impacts on health and well-being.

Choosing Active Role Models to Inspire Girls: feasibility study of a school-based, community-linked programme to increase physical activity levels in 9-11 year old girls.

Project Health Action in Schools for a Thriving Adolescent Generation: intervention development and feasibility study in Nepal and South Africa

School-based interventions to Prevent dating and relationship and gender-based violence: systematic review to understand characteristics, mechanisms, implementation and effectiveness.

Optimisation feasibility testing and pilot randomised trial: A sexual health and healthy relationships intervention for Further Education.

Family Recovery after Domestic Abuse: A feasibility trial and nested process evaluation of group-based intervention for children exposed to domestic violence and abuse.

Does local authority care make a differences to the lives of vulnerable children? Longitudinal Analysis of retrospective cohort

Mental Health and Wellbeing Interventions for Care-experienced Children and Young People (CHIMES): Systematic review of intervention theories, process, effect and equity.

There will be scope to be involved with DECIPHer’s key infrastructures and networks, notably the School Health Research Network.

Fellows will also have opportunities to progress their methodological development.

This will be facilitated through the research projects and infrastructure above. It will also be supported through engagement with the methodological innovation programme. As part of the fellowship, we will run bi-weekly methods seminars for fellows that map to DECIPHer’s intervention development, adaptation and evaluation short courses. Stakeholder engagement, particularly policy and practice engagement is a central principle of DECIPHer’s work. Fellows will be encouraged to engage with key stakeholder partners across projects and infrastructures detailed above.

These include, but aren’t limited to: Welsh Government; Public Health Wales and the Welsh Network of Healthy Schools Schemes (SHRN); Cardiff Women’s Aid (FReDA); The Fostering Network (CHIMES); and The Association for Young People’s Health (STOP-DRV-GBV).

In terms of day-to-day programmes for fellows, they will be welcome to engage with project team planning meetings and stakeholder engagement sessions. They will be encouraged to contribute to data collection, analysis and dissemination activities where appropriate. There will be methodological training. Furthermore, they will benefit from DECIPHer, SPARK and the broader School of Social Science regular lecture series, forums (e.g. Survey Data User Group) and academic working groups (e.g. The Gender and Sexualities Research Group) and DECIPHer’s specialist knowledge exchange staff.

Leadership training will be provided by Transformation Partners

Reflection workshops provided Chris Glynn

They are very experienced in providing training for Namibians as part of Phoenix Project activities.

Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

Mission Statement of the Organisation: The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is the Commonwealth agency mandated in the field of telecommunications and ICTs. Fellowship summary: Today access to ICTs is considered a basis right of every human being in view of the central role ICTs play in socio-economic development. Impact of ICTs is being felt in all spheres of life, society and governance. Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 recognise the central role of ICTs in socio-economic development. Thus all the programmes developed by the CTO under this Fellowship would relate to the priority theme of technology. Indeed, the work programmes developed by the CTO under this Fellowship will focus on specific areas which are critical for leveraging the potentials of ICTs. All these programmes relate to the goals of the CTO’s Strategic Plan, not only enabling the outcomes of the Fellowship to be utilised for the benefit of the home countries of the Fellows but also having a catalytic effect on the entire CTO membership across the Commonwealth.

Weblink for candidates: Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation


Proposed activity:

  1. Inclusion of Girls in ICT – Closing the gender digital divide

Month 1

  • Perform a review of home country policies.
  • Identify specific training needs.
  • Identify Stakeholders from home Country.

Month 2

  • Issue project status report
  • Participate in identified Training courses.
  • Data collection and analysis from home and selected Commonwealth Countries.
  • Formulate a strategy for inclusion of girls in ICT based on the data.

Month 3

  • Consult with home Country stakeholders on the formulated strategy.
  • Develop an implementation framework for successful execution of the Strategy.
  • Plan and present project to stakeholders
  • Issue final report


  1. Gender Digital Divide and E-Commerce

Month 1

  • Review of home country E-commerce ecosystem.
  • Formulate and administer questionnaire on girls in E-commerce.
  • Collect and analyse data and document findings.

Month 2

  • Issue project status report
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Design appropriate learning courses for girl empowerment in home Country.

Month 3

  • Devise a marketing strategy to promote the course.
  • Identify sponsors for the course in home country.
  • Project presentation
  • Issue final report


  1. Develop an Online Portal for life skills for girls

Month 1

  • Research gender-based abuse in home country.
  • Identify stakeholders involved in combatting abuse.
  • Identify specific training need.
  • Create the site layout, content, design and functionalities.

Month 2

  • Issue project status report
  • Test and debug
  • Attend training course
  • Execute web optimization.

Month 3

  • Devise a marketing strategy to promote the portal in home Country.
  • Launch the portal.
  • Make a presentation to solicit sponsorship
  • Present projects to stakeholders
  • Issue final report


  1. Promoting Girls Education through the Universal Service Fund

Month 1

  • Review the current USF scheme in the home country.
  • Identify specific training needs.
  • Review the home country education programmes in underserved areas.
  • Identify gaps in access to Education in underserved areas especially by the marginalised groups.

Month 2

  • Issue project status report
  • Identify model USF policies, projects and best practices in other Commonwealth Countries with successful programmes on extending access to education using ICTs.
  • Attend training course
  • Stakeholder engagement in home Country.

Month 3

  • Propose appropriate policy framework for using USF to extend broadband for education to unserved and marginalised communities
  • Present projects to stakeholders
  • Issue final report


  1. Show and Tell What Girls Can Do

Month 1

  • Identify specific training needs for executing the assignment
  • Perform an environmental review of barriers to girls in ICT and research school clubs in home country.
  • Develop criteria for participating schools hosting Girls’ ICT Clubs

Month 2

  • Issue project status report
  • Develop a curriculum for training
  • Develop a Request for Proposal document for engaging an appropriate trainer
  • Participate in training courses
  • Devise an innovative marketing strategy for promoting the clubs.
  • Prepare templates for invitation letters, a sponsorship prospectus and a personal safety charter for the girls’ club.

Month 3

  • Conceptualise national activities to highlight and celebrate the work of the Girls’ Club
  • Formulate a detailed programme for demonstrating what girls can do to a national audience.
  • Present project to stakeholders
  • Issue a final project report and provide output documents

Knowledge For Change

Mission Statement of the Organisation:

Our charitable objectives are to improve the standard of healthcare and education provision for the poorest members of society in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). For over 10 years, we have been working across multiple hospitals and health centres in Uganda to sustainably improve the health system and achieve better standards of care for patients. Our work includes the placement of professional volunteers, infrastructural developments, the provision and repair of medical equipment, staff training and capacity building, working with local educational institutions to develop new and improved undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, organising staff exchange programmes and running elective placements.

Fellowship summary:

The Knowledge For Change (K4C) Fellowships will focus on developing skills in community mobilisation to identify girls who are not currently accessing education (in the pre-COVID context) and generate a suite of interventions/activities to improve educational engagement. Fellows will be exposed to multi-disciplinary approaches in the UK designed to access hard-to-reach children, with an emphasis on the relationship between youth/community work and education. Fellows will join students on a BA Youth and Community Work program at the University of Bolton in formal and informal learning. They will be provided with opportunities to undertake placements with organisations in the public and not-for-profit sectors. They will work as a team to develop a program of activities to improve girls’ exposure to educational opportunity in Kabarole District, Uganda. Whilst recognising the importance of attending schools they will identify a range of options linking schools with communities and encouraging enterprising ‘learning through doing’.

Weblink for candidates: Knowledge For Change


Proposed activity:

During the first two weeks of the Fellowship K4C will undertake an intense induction to life in the UK (food, travel, culture etc., links with Ugandan diaspora groups and churches) and any initial teething problems with their fellowship/accommodation/finances.

This will include detailed assessment of Fellows’ learning needs. In the past this has required an intense focus on IT, including the purchase of laptops/phones and mentoring to ensure they can use them effectively and provide access to on-line training and learning resources. As with previous fellowships, and given K4C’s strong relationship with Salford University, we will set them up on the Salford University system as Associate Staff and provide access to all basic skills training including basic writing and numeracy skills and accessing on-line resources. K4C will provide on-going mentoring throughout the entire Fellowship and take full responsibility for administration and pastoral care. In parallel to this K4C will kick-start a policy review/development process to identify key weaknesses in the current Ugandan system and iteratively apply their learning to a review of that and identification of opportunities for policy change. This will culminate in the presentation of detailed Action-Proposals for a multi-disciplinary ‘Girls into Education’ Program in Kabarole District in Week 12.

Week 3 represents the start of Semester 2 programs at the University of Bolton. Fellows will be given the opportunity to join students in workshops on the Community Development and Youth Work degree and actively contribute to teaching and learning experiences. We will work with Fellows to identify the most relevant sessions on the following modules; Contemporary Issues in Youth Work; Community Development; Global Youth Work and Sustainable Communities; Management Governance and Organisational Development; Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice; Ethics, Values and Reflective Practice.

Each Fellow will have a dedicated placement organised with key agencies in the North West region to expose them to the educational/community work context in the UK. This will include placements in Local Authorities (Bolton or Salford Council Youth Services); Educational Institutions (such as Pupil Referral Units at Bolton Impact Trust) and Third Sector Organisations (including Greater Manchester Youth Network, Bolton-at-Home; Back-up-North West, Bolton Youth Zone and Participation Works, NW Burnley Youth Theatre amongst others).

We will also include meetings in local primary schools in some of the more disadvantaged areas to highlight the level of population diversity experienced in the UK (which may come as an absolute surprise) and some of the challenges these areas face, including support for excluded children, sexual health education and work on teenage pregnancies.

One day of every week will be set aside for a debriefing with K4C mentors and to discuss their learning and the application of that to the ‘Girls into Education’ Program. Special attention will be given to the impact that COVID-19 lockdown has had on access to education and its impact on girls specifically.

K4C has direct links with UNICEF teams supporting access to education globally and will provide a specific workshop on this.

Lifegate Outreach Centre

Mission Statement of the Organisation:

Lifegate Outreach Centre is a UK Registered Charity (No. 1154307) established with the purpose of spreading Abundant Life through outreach and high impact activities. Lifegate Outreach Centre has a strong passion for impacting lives positively mostly via her community outreach programs in the UK and abroad; skill empowerment; leadership and vocational programs for youth and women. This is achieved effectively networking with various learning centres, Faith-Based Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations to build capacity for the deployment of positive social values that can help promote peace, honesty, justice and equality.

Fellowship summary:

The nature of the Fellowship will be a continuous professional development programme of work. This will expose participating Fellows to a range of activities that will ensure the best opportunity for the transfer of knowledge, skills and experience. The programme will ensure that their individual project portfolios achieve the objective of promoting the girl child’s education theme. The approach for 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). It is expected that through this program, Fellows will develop capacity to promote girls’ education in their various spheres of influence through engagement with communities, school governance and local and national policymaker upon return to their home countries.

Weblink for candidates: Lifegate Outreach Centre


Proposed activity:

We plan to host talented and motivated Fellows to undertake focused training for three months. The Fellows will attend the training programmes together to develop the appropriate knowledge, improve their professional skills and specialisations through a blended learning approach. They will also work on individual portfolios of personal reflections and develop workplace/societal development project plans and transferable project ideas for future implementation in their home countries to be presented at a final seminar of the Fellowship.

JANUARY – Starting 17th of January 2022

  • 17th – 19th; Arrival/ Welcome/ Orientation – (Duration: 3 days)
  • 20th – 21st ; Communication and Interpersonal Skills – (Duration: 1 day training) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 24th : UK Educational Framework and Transnational Educational Opportunities – (Duration: 1 day) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 25th – 26th; Gender Based Analysis (Duration: 2 days) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 28th – 31st: Social Visits, End of the month reflection and Seminar (Duration: 3 days)

FEBRUARY – Starting 1st of February 2022

  • 1st – 4th; Training the Trainer on gender responsive pedagogical training – Taught + self-pace study (UNICEF toolkit) – (Duration: 4 days) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 7th- 9th; Educating Girls: Teaching Approaches to Helping Girls Thrive – (Duration: 3 days) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 10th: Visits to/ Special Q&A Sessions YMCA, Base 25, Nissi Homes.
  • 11th; Self Directed Learning, Reflections and Reports.
  • 14th – 18th; Entrepreneurship Development Skills – (Duration: 5 days) [TP: West Midlands Open College]
  • 21st – 23rd: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Girl Child Education Nexus: Prospects and Impact (Duration: 3 days) [TP: WaterAid]
  • 24th – 25th: Girls’ education development in global south – (Duration: 2 days training) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 28th: Reflections and Seminar (Duration: 1 day)

MARCH – Starting 1st of March 2022

  • 1st – 4th; Using Technology to Solving Inequality in Education – Taught + self- pace study (FREE) – (Duration: 4 days) – [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 7th – 8th; Visits to Mercian Trust Schools in Walsall.
  • 9th – 10th: Charity Funding, Funding proposals, etc (Duration: 2 days training) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 11th; Self Directed Learning, Reflections and Reports.
  • 14th – 16th; The Right to Education: Breaking Down the Barriers – (Duration: 3 days) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 17th – 18th; Digital Skill/ Innovation for Girl Education Development + Visit to Walsall Studio School – (Duration: 2 days training) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 21st – 23rd: School-Related Gender-Based Violence – (Duration: 3 days training) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 24th – 25th: Safeguarding in Education – (Duration: 2 days training) [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 28th – 29th: Visits to BAME Business Leaders in the West Midlands
  • 30th – 31st: Social Visits/hosting other Fellows, month-end reflection and Seminar (Duration: 2 days)

APRIL – Starting 1st of April 2022

  • 1st: Meeting Women Teachers/Professionals at Lifegate Centre.
  • 4th – 8th; Gender transformative educational approaches – (Duration: 5 days) – [TP: Lifegate Communities]
  • 11th – 12th; Gender in technical and vocational education and training – (Duration: 2 days) [TP Lifegate Communities]
  • 12th – 13th: Closing Strategy Seminars/Workshop Presentations

Windle Trust International

Mission Statement of the Organisation:

WTI challenges poverty and inequality by expanding access to, and improving the quality of, education and training for communities affected by conflict, displacement, neglect or discrimination in Eastern and Horn of Africa.

Occupational category: Programme Management – Education

Fellowship summary:

The Commonwealth Professional Fellowships hosted by Windle Trust International will help to prepare the next generation of Programme Managers for non-governmental organisations working in development contexts in Africa.

Throughout the programme, fellows will work on the real-word problem of increasing access to education for females in East Africa. They will develop and share knowledge and insights into the broad issues faced, whilst also building the necessary skillsets to effectively manage education and scholarship programmes on their return home.

Working with experienced professionals, fellows will practice the broad range of skills needed by modern programme managers: from developing programme strategies, policies, and frameworks, to understanding budgeting and finance concerns from a Programme Manager’s perspective, as well as managing media, marketing and fundraising campaigns. Through this, fellows will gain breadth of experience to take home and put into immediate practice in their home organisations.

Weblink for candidates: Windle Trust International

Proposed activity:

Throughout their time at WTI, fellows will explore the question: How do we increase access to quality education for females in East Africa? They will be primarily attached to the WTI Programme Manager.

The fellowship will be organised into 2 distinct stages:

Stage 1: Research, Understanding and Skills Development (8 weeks, Monday January 17th to Friday 11th March)

Stage 2: Programme Design and Planning (4 weeks, Monday 14th March – Friday 8th April)

Stage 1:

Stage 1 focuses on the challenges of girls’ education, whilst also building skills that can be implemented at Stage 2 and on return to the Fellows’ home countries.

Research project – understanding the issues in girls’ education – Throughout Stage 1, approximately 2 days per week will be spent on planning and conducting a research project. Alongside literature research, this includes: Sessions and interviews with girls’ education specialists to share their knowledge and understanding.

Skills Development – Throughout Stage 1, approximately 3 days per week will be spent with mentors on Skills Development. Skills Development sessions include:

  • Programme Strategy and Policy – Designing programmes to meet whole-organisation strategies and understanding the importance of policies such as Safeguarding, Privacy, Fraud and Corruption, Conflict of Interest amongst others – conducted by a member of the Windle Trust International Senior Management Team.
  • Finance for non-finance professionals – preparing budgets and understanding project pipelines and cashflow forecasts – conducted by an experienced Windle Finance Manager.
  • Communications – purpose, audience, message and medium including practical experience of writing articles and social media campaigns – conducted by the Windle International Global Communications and Advocacy Officer.
  • Fundraising – Creating and maintaining relationships with donors through a wide range of fundraising sources: individuals, corporates, foundations and institutions – conducted by the Windle International Fundraising Manager. Where available, fellows will meet WTI funders and donors to understand what from a donor perspective what they are looking for and what makes a project stand out.

Stage 2:

Stage 2 of the Fellowship is where the knowledge and skills learnt are put into real-world use. Fellows will design a programme for implementation. The programme will specifically target increasing school enrolment for females at the secondary level.

This will include all programme elements of Stage 1:

  • Designing a programme to best meets the educational needs of girls in East Africa.
  • Creating the programme strategies and policies.
  • Outlining budget needs and cashflow forecasts.
  • Designing a fundraising strategy
  • Establishing a communications strategy both for applicant recruitment and wider engagement