Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Peace and Security Fellowship for African Women 2011 – 2012 Academic Year

Call for Applications: Peace and Security Fellowship for African Women
The African Leadership Centre (ALC) was established in Kenya in June 2010 as a joint initiative of King’s College London and the University of Nairobi. The ALC is pleased to announce a call for applications for the Peace and Security Fellowship for African Women for 2011/2012. This Fellowship is an intellectual and financial award to those who have demonstrated obvious or potential capacity to make a change in their field. Please note that the Fellowship does not lead to an academic qualification, rather it is a postgraduate non-degree programme.

From October 2011, the Peace and Security Fellowships for African Women will be delivered by the ALC, Conflict Security and Development Group (CSDG), King’s College London and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi. The ALC aims to build a new community of leaders generating cutting edge knowledge on peace, security and development. To this end, the ALC undertakes to do the following:
  1. Create an enabling environment for ideas that are grounded in African realities;
  2. Provide space for interaction with role models;
  3. Build capacity for independent thinking;
  4. Expand the knowledge base to develop transformational ideas that can be developed to create visions of change;
  5. Create opportunities to transfer knowledge to achieve multiplier effects for communities;
  6. Connect with processes nationally, regionally and globally, especially in the field of peace and security; and
  7. Build lasting partnerships that will maintain an African-led vision of change.
The Fellowships bring together African women in the early stages of their careers to undertake a carefully designed training programme in conflict, security and development. This training is followed by an attachment to an African Regional Organisation or a Centre of Excellence to acquire practical experience in the field of peace and security. It is intended that this project will train African women to develop a better understanding of African peace and security issues, in order to increase their participation in conflict management processes and other areas of security concerns for Africans.

Purpose: The Peace and Security Fellowship Programme for African Women is designed to expose young professional African women to the complexities of conflict, security and development. The exposure is to equip them for careers in this field by developing their expertise to generate African-led ideas and processes of change for addressing challenges on the African continent. The Fellowships especially aim to ground this expertise on peace and security in the pursuit of excellence and integrity.

The Fellowship is conceived against a number of background factors:
  1. First is the comparatively low number of African women exposed to rigorous academic writing and policy analysis in the field of peace and security especially as compared with those involved in human rights and development issues.
  2. Second is the need to assist African women to meet the demands of the Beijing process and the subsequent UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that calls for the inclusion of women at all decision making levels in “all national regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts”.
This Fellowship is aimed at challenging the existing tendency that seems to reinforce the male dominant discourse on conflict and security related matters. The Fellowship is designed to develop the network of African women scholars working in the field whilst linking them with the peace and security mechanisms of relevant institutions.

  1. Candidates must be female citizens from African countries.
  2. Successful candidates must hold valid travel documents prior to acceptance.
  3. Candidates must have knowledge of, or experience of women’s rights, gender and development issues.
  4. Candidates must be able to demonstrate a commitment to contribute to work on peace and security in Africa
  5. Candidates must demonstrate commitment to the core values of the programme and the ALC : Independent thinking; Integrity; Pursuit of Excellence; and a Value for all forms of Diversity
  6. Candidates must have a relevant institutional base and be endorsed by an organisation with which they have been involved for at least two years. Exceptional candidates without such organisational ties will be given special consideration
  7. Candidates must have a demonstrable plan for how to utilise knowledge gained in the Fellowship upon return to their countries and organisations
  8. Candidates must hold a Master’s or Bachelors degree with an equivalent level of professional experience.
  9. Candidates must be fluent in spoken and written English
Programme Delivery: This is a one-year Fellowship, divided into two 6-month phases. The first phase will be delivered at the ALC, Nairobi and King’s College London. Particular aspects of the programme will be delivered at King’s College London in London. These include orientation, institutional visits and simulation seminars. The core of the training will be delivered at the ALC in Nairobi and will be led by CSDG, IDS and ALC Senior Fellows and designated mentors for the programme consisting of renowned international experts in the field of peace, security and development.

During the training, the Fellows will be encouraged to engage critically with the discourse on conflict, security and development in Africa. They will also visit and study institutions working in the field of peace and security in Africa and Europe. This phase will end with a simulation seminar series during which mock conflict management situations will be practiced. In the second phase, Fellows will be attached to an African regional organisation or Centre of Excellence to undertake practical work in the field of peace and security including peace and conflict management processes.

Terms of the Fellowship: Successful Fellows will have the status of full time students on the post-graduate non-degree programme at King’s College London and the Africa Leadership Centre, Nairobi and Visiting Students at the IDS, University of Nairobi.
  1. Student Visitor’s Visas: The offer of the Fellowship is subject to successful candidates obtaining visas to cover the 6-month duration of the first phase of the Fellowship in the UK and Kenya. Failure to obtain a visa to enter the UK and Kenya automatically invalidates the offer of Fellowship with no consequences to the Fellowship Programme. The immigration rules for the UK can be accessed on the King’s College London web page for obtaining student visas: Please contact the Kenyan Embassy/High Commission in your home country for the relevant procedures to obtain a Kenyan student visa for the entire Fellowship period of one year. Please, note that any deviation from the Fellowship, except as may be authorised by the African Leadership Centre, shall affect the Fellow’s immigraton status in the UK/Kenya. Please consult the British Embassy/High Commission and Kenyan Embassy/High Commission in your home country for more information.
  2. Expectant/Nursing mothers: Given the intense nature of the programme including its short phases in different locations as well as necessary extensive travel, successful applicants that are expectant or nursing mothers will be advised to defer their admission to the programme.
  3. Medical Exam: Successful applicants will be required to undergo medical examinations at recommended venues prior to taking up their positions.
  4. Programme completion/Return to base: The programme will last a total of 12 months, and Fellows will be expected to make full time commitment to the programme for its duration. It is a condition of the programme that successful candidates should return to their base or home countries at the end of the programme.
Termination: The African Leadership Centre jointly with the University of Nairobi and King’s College London has the right to terminate the conferral of a Fellowship, in the event of a breach in the Terms and Conditions of the programme.

Funding: This is a fully-funded* opportunity, and funds will be made available to the Fellows to cover tuition, subsistence in the U.K. and Africa, and all travel expenses related to the programme in both phases.1 While funding will be made available to pay for accommodation, successful applicants are expected to find their own accommodation both in the U.K. and Africa. Fellows are strongly advised to make all necessary accommodation arrangements prior to taking up their positions on the Fellowship Programme.

Please note that the funds are intended for individual Fellows only. It does not cover dependants and it is not intended to support family members. Successful candidates will need to make alternative arrangements to cover the costs of dependents before arrival in Kenya/UK. For both countries, prospective applicants must satisfy the Immigration Authorities that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents before arrival (taking into account the stipend to be provided by the Mentoring Programme).

To be considered for the Fellowship please e-mail or post the following documents to Eka Ikpe at or Eka Ikpe, Conflict, Security and Development Group, King’s College, London, Strand Bridge House, 138-142 Strand, London, WC2R 1HH, UK by 17:00 hrs, Thursday 31 March, 2011:
  1. A letter of application detailing your relevant experience and qualifications
  2. A supporting statement detailing why you think that this Fellowship is important and future plans for engagement with peace and security issues (not longer than 2,000 words)
  3. 2 letters of recommendation(To be received directly from the Referees by the deadline of 17:00 hrs, Thursday 31 March, 2011)
  4. A recent Curriculum Vitae
  5. Two samples of your written work (maximum 5,000 words) with a one page abstract
Please ensure all documents are sent in as MS Word attachments in a single email message (separate emails for the same application will not be accepted) or as a single post package and that your name is indicated at the top right hand corner of every page of all documents submitted.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blaming Women for men's Abuse of Power

I was at a 2 -day voters education workshop. Organized by Centre for Human Development (CHD) to especially sensitize the grassroots women to their voting rights and to encourage them to register and vote for many of the credible women vying for one post or the other. Among the funders of this event was the UNDP with their belief in the National Gender Policy and affirmative action of 35% political posts at all levels of governance for women.

In many of the discussions at this workshop, I could still see why many efforts of women's organizations and activities do not have very effective and positive results. The main killer of these numerous efforts are the perceptions and mindsets of the people. What struck me as very backward and unbelievable is the belief among some men and some women at the event that 'women are responsible for men's corruption and abuse of power because ones they touch the men's heads during fun time, they are able to convince them', seriously? Very soon, women will be responsible fully (since that is the case in many quarters anyways) for being raped, for domestic violence, for patriarchy, for all the chaos and violence and for the failures of many leaders especially in Africa to transfer power.

I wonder why anyone would fail to see the intoxication of absolute power in action. The lack of proper structure and system that will be diffcult to abuse in place. Many developed countries are able to put corruption under check and they have women in their countries who have fun with their men. So, why are women now the culprit in a system where it is clear to the glaring eyes that women are victims of? Many women are so poor they can't afford to go to school or send their children to one, many cannot afford good medical care and yet many cannot afford three square meals not to talk of having any decent shelter. What on earth is wrong with us? Why do we always let go of men when they have to face up to their failure and take responsibilities for their actions? Many of these men believe in God yet they are plundering their countries, oppressing and cheating their people, yet we are still giving them excuses by blaming others for their errors!

If this is our foremost thinking in this 21st century, then, women's rights are far from being recognised and many of our failed leaders like Gbagbo would still be able to do more harms than good and many people will still be taking wrong approaches to wrong issues. As I was pondering on how we can effectively correct wrong mindsets in our society, one of the participants received a call. Her sister, who is a political aspirant was murdered right in front of their mother in their home in Edo state. Then, I wondered, where is the hope that things will change for the better?
My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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