The Mawazo Fellows Programme

The Mawazo Fellows programme offers East African women access to research funding, training, mentorship, and assistance with publication, as well as connections to global research networks.  The goal is to help women do high quality research, and get decision-makers in government and the private sector to learn from their work.  We accept cohorts of 10 - 15 talented and driven Fellows annually.  At present we're only working in Kenya, but eventually plan to expand throughout the East African Community.

The online application for the 2018 Fellows cohort will be available from 1 September - 1 November 2017.  Please sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date about the application process.


  • The programme is open to women who are living in Kenya.
  • Applicants must be conducting research in one of our four priority sectors of energy, climate change, improved governance, and economic policy.
  • Women under the age of 45 who are currently pursuing a PhD at a Kenyan university can apply for the Junior Fellows programme.
  • Women of any age who are currently teaching at a Kenyan university or doing research at a think tank or NGO in Kenya can apply for the Senior Fellows programme.

Program Components

The Mawazo Fellows programme is a non-residential fellowship which will last for one year.  It has four main components:

  • Research funding. Applicants to the Mawazo Fellows programme will submit a proposal for an independent research project. We will work with accepted Fellows to ensure that their budgets are comprehensive and attainable before disbursing grants. We anticipate that the average project will cost approximately KSh 1,000,000 (US$10,000). The minimum grant size for a single project is KSh 250,000 (US$2,500), and the maximum is KSh 2,500,000 (US$25,000). The funding can be used to cover any expenses directly related to a research project, such as hiring surveyors for a public opinion poll, or buying equipment used to measure electricity output. It is not a stipend for the researcher and cannot be used to pay their salary.  Both Junior and Senior Fellows will have access to this funding.

  • Conference funding. Academic conferences offer excellent opportunities for Fellows to learn from other experts in their fields and build their professional networks. Funding will be available to cover the costs of registration and travel for regional and international conferences (limited to one conference per Fellow per year).  Both Junior and Senior Fellows will have access to this funding.

  • Training in research practices and communication. Mawazo Fellows will benefit from an annual series of workshops on the core competencies of academic research. These include picking compelling and answerable research questions; applying for external grants; research logistics; writing for academic and non- academic audiences; navigating the publication process; and public speaking. Mawazo staff will also be available to help Fellows discuss thorny research questions, edit grant applications, and prepare manuscripts for publication.  Junior Fellows are required to participate in all training workshops throughout the year, while Senior Fellows may choose the workshops which are most relevant to them.

  • Mentorship. It’s vitally important for women in male-dominated institutions to be able to connect with each other and support each other. Each Junior Mawazo Fellow will be paired with a mentor in her field – either a Senior Mawazo Fellow, or a woman at another academic institution in Kenya. The Fellows will hold regular meetings or calls with their mentors throughout the year. In addition, the entire cohort will be brought together once per year for the Mawazo Fellows Conference. At this annual meeting, each Fellow will have the opportunity to present their research and connect with other dynamic female policy experts. Finally, all Fellows will have access to the Mawazo Alumni network, comprising a database of past Fellows and a mailing list, in order to allow Fellows to continue supporting each other beyond the duration of their fellowship.

Application process

The Fellows will be selected through a rigorous application process, in which the quality of their research proposals will be a deciding factor.  We will also strongly consider the candidate’s academic and research track record, demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in research or a related field, and leadership potential, among other criteria.  Applications will be peer-reviewed by Mawazo staff and a team of external reviewers from leading Kenyan universities and think tanks.

The application will include:

  • A detailed research proposal
  • A budget spreadsheet and narrative
  • A personal statement
  • A CV
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors or senior colleagues