The Mawazo PhD Scholars Programme

The Mawazo PhD Scholars programme offers Kenyan 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 leaders in government and the private sector to learn from their work.  We accept cohorts of 5 - 10 talented and driven Scholars annually. 

The application period for the 2018 Scholars cohort will begin in late 2017.  We are currently assessing whether to do an open call for applications, or accept applications by invitation only.  Please sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date about the application process.


  • The programme is open to women of any nationality who are pursuing PhD study in Kenya.
  • Applicants should be based in Nairobi, or willing to travel to Nairobi several times per month for trainings and events.
  • Applicants must be conducting research in any discipline related to energy or climate change.

Programme Components

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

  • Research funding. Applicants to the Mawazo PhD Scholars programme will submit a proposal for an independent research project. We will work with accepted Scholars to ensure that their budgets are comprehensive and attainable before disbursing grants. We anticipate that the average project will cost approximately KSh 5,000,000 (US$5,000).  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.

  • Conference funding. Academic conferences offer excellent opportunities for Scholars 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 Scholars per year).

  • Training in research practices and communication. Mawazo PhD Scholars 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 Scholars discuss thorny research questions, edit grant applications, and prepare manuscripts for publication.

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

Application process

The Scholars 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. 

The application will include:

  • A detailed research proposal
  • A budget spreadsheet and narrative
  • A personal statement
  • A CV
  • A recommendation from the applicant's PhD advisor