An official website of the United States government

The Fellowship Application Insider
September 6, 2018

The Fellowship Application Insider is a guide for applying to the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

At the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, the YALI Network interviewed 22 Fellows – many of whom had applied for the Fellowship several times – to find out what their most important tips were for YALI Network members who will be applying for the Fellowship in the future.

The tips we heard the most were simple:

  • Ensure that you meet all of the selection criteria listed in the application instructions
  • Make sure to get your application in on time.

In addition to the above, there were three main themes about how applicants can improve their applications for the Mandela Washington Fellowship:

  • Write About your Impact: Make yourself stand out as a leader
  • Expand your Network: Positive relationships can help you improve
  • Be Yourself: Honestly and effectively representing yourself is important

In this guide, you will find quotes from three 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows about the above themes. Additionally, each page contains two links to YALI Network tools to help you improve your application in the ways recommended by the Fellows.


Write About your Impact
Make yourself stand out as a leader

A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public management, business, or civic engagement is among the criteria the Mandela Washington Fellowship selection panels consider when choosing Fellows. Leadership can be hard to prove, so the YALI Network spoke to 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow Wedadu Sayibu to find out how she made herself stand out in the application process.

Wedadu Sayibu

Country: Ghana
Fellowship track: Civic Engagement
Applied for the Fellowship 3 times before being accepted

Wedadu is the executive director of the Women Support and Activists Group (WOSAG), where she is responsible for supervising and leading program design and implementation to advance the sexual and reproductive health rights of rural women and girls, improving their livelihoods.

“The first time I applied I thought I had enough experience, but unfortunately I wasn’t accepted. I thought, what will I do to stand out as a leader? Because this whole application is about establishing your [proven track of] leadership.”

“[Getting selected] is about telling whoever is reading your application: this is what I am doing. This is my contribution to society, to brighten my corner [of Africa] I come from, to solve the social problems that I face.”

“Telling the story is the difficult part. It is about packaging your story. You know yourself and the kind of work that you do, but there is somebody who is expected to read your story and get connected to it. So it’s about telling your story in a way that is compelling and relatable enough to get the attention of the [person reviewing it].”

Click here to read the full Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Insider Guide [PDF]

Start your application here: www.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org/apply/