International Youth Fellowship 2024 for Canadians seeking hands-on experience in international development

International Youth Fellowship: Ends on Sat, Feb 3, 2024 6:00 AM

International Youth Fellowship 2024 for Canadians seeking hands-on experience in international development

Ends on Sat, Feb 3, 2024 6:00 AM


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Electronic Submission* please note the time frame is tentative and subject to change.

  • AKFC is using Submittable for collecting applications to the International Youth Fellowship Program
  • To submit an application, you will need to create a Submittable account. All you need is an email and password to create your account, it’s that simple. For further instructions, visit the following help center article How to submit.
  • Supported internet browsers include: Google Chrome, Apple Safari, & Mozilla Firefox.
  • If you have any technical issues, please contact Submittable through the following link: Submittable technical support

Notice Regarding Pandemic’s Impact on the Program:

Aga Khan Foundation Canada is currently anticipating that the next round of the International Youth Fellowship Program, commencing in June 2024, will involve travel and field placements in AKDN countries of operation in Africa and Asia. The decision on whether to send successful candidates overseas will be reviewed prior to commencement of the program, with a final decision to be made based on public health guidelines in Canada and in the countries of placement.

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About the Program:

Founded in 1989, the AKFC International Youth Fellowship program is a 9-month professional development program for Canadians seeking hands-on experience in international development. The Fellowship includes three unique streams: International Development Management (IDM), International Microfinance and Microenterprise (IMM), and Young Professionals in Media (YPM). Fellows are placed with field partners in over 10 different countries.


  • Launch of Online Application – November 1, 2023
  • Applications Close – February 1, 2024
  • Application Review – February
  • Interview Period – March
  • Offers to Candidates – Late March
  • Management Seminar – May 22 – June 15, 2024*
  • Fellows Depart for Field Placements – July 1, 2024
  • End of Placement – February 28, 2025

Management Seminar* please note the time frame is tentative and subject to change.

The 3-week-long pre-departure Management Seminar provides a unique forum for intellectual engagement and workshops to develop knowledge and skills related to the overseas placement. The practitioner-oriented seminar is intended to prepare Fellows for their placements and equip them with skills and perspectives that will benefit them in a career in international development. Workshops are taught by some of Canada’s foremost international cooperation practitioners.

Overseas Placement

The eight-month overseas portion of the Fellowship takes place in a host country in Africa or Asia. The host countries change each year, but could include: India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. 

Mentorship Program

AKFC has recently introduced a new component to the Fellowship program. Mentors are past Fellows that have been individually selected and paired with outgoing Fellows based on several criteria, including geography, sectorial expertise, placement type, etc. Mentors are alumni with at least three years of post-Fellowship work experience. The Mentors will connect with Fellows throughout their placements to discuss development topics, provide feedback and advice.

1. What is the difference between IDM, IMM, and YPM?

  • International Development Management (IDM) encompasses a broad range of development sectors and specialisations. These include positions in research, communications, monitoring and evaluation, and administration in the sectors of health, education, environment, gender, rural development, and civil society strengthening. Fellows are often placed with AKAH, AKES, AKF, AKHS, AKU, UCA, and other agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network.
  • International Microfinance and Microenterprise (IMM) is for applicants with backgrounds in finance and business. IMM fellows gain hands-on experience in fostering entrepreneurship, developing businesses, and providing financial services and products. Potential host organisations may include microfinance institutions and market development units. In the past Fellows have been placed with AP, FMCC, FMFB, PAMF, and TPS.
  • Young Professionals in Media (YPM) is for applicants with backgrounds in journalism and media. Fellows work as  journalists for Nation Media Group, a leading media outlet in East  Africa and operating in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. With opportunities to report in print, broadcast, and digital  media, Fellows gain the skills to work effectively in today’s global  media environment.

2. How long is the Fellowship?

The Fellowship program is nine months in duration, and consists of:

  • a 3-week management training seminar in Ottawa (May 22 – June 15, 2024)
  • an 8-month overseas placement (July to February)

3. How many Fellows are selected to participate?

Each year AKFC selects between 10 and 15 Fellows to participate in the Fellowship. The number of candidates selected varies based on available funding and finding the suitable candidates for the available placements.

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4. How much does the Fellowship cost?

AKFC covers most of the costs associated with living and working overseas including; travel, accommodation, vaccinations, health insurance, and a modest stipend to cover the cost of living. Successful candidates are required to make a one-time contribution of $1,000.00 towards the costs of the Fellowship.

5. Who is eligible?

All Fellows must meet the following application criteria:

  • Hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution by April 30, 2024, with a record of strong academic performance
  • Will not be enrolled in any educational program for the duration of the Fellowship program (May 2024 – February 2025)
  • Demonstrated a commitment to international development through related volunteer, professional or academic experience
  • Be 30 years of age or under on or before February 1, 2024
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Be fluent in English
  • Present all appropriate documentation (CVs, degrees, transcripts, references, etc.)

There is no flexibility on the eligibility criteria, and any applications not meeting the requirements will automatically be disqualified.

6. What qualities is AKFC looking for in a Fellow?

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria listed above, successful candidates have demonstrated leadership potential and excellence in their academic and professional lives. Fellows also complement a strong interest in international development with volunteer and extracurricular activities that demonstrate their willingness to support the growth of communities both at home and abroad.

While overseas, Fellows are expected to live simply, often in rural communities or large urban centres. As such, individuals with the flexibility and maturity to adapt to new contexts and communities are ideal as Fellows.

Candidates will be expected to communicate realistic and mature expectations of the Fellowship experience and a sophisticated understanding of general development concepts and issues. Additionally, candidates should be able to discuss their own experiences relating to intercultural sensitivity, initiative, flexibility and adaptability, teamwork, and maturity.

AKFC looks for Fellows who demonstrate humility and a commitment to change. Individuals who are self-starters and show a commitment to development and learning are highly valued.

7. How do I apply for the Fellowship?

You will use Submittable to apply for the program. You will need to create a Submittable account in order to apply.

8. I previously applied for, was offered, or completed an AKFC Fellowship. Can I apply again?

Applicants who have previously completed an AKFC Fellowship are not eligible to participate again in the program.
    Candidates who have previously applied but were not selected, or who were unable to accept a past offer of a Fellowship position, are welcome to re-submit their application once per recruitment cycle.

9. Am I still eligible to apply to the Fellowship program if I have already completed an IYIP position?

Former GAC International Youth Internship Program participants are indeed eligible to participate in AKFC’s International Youth Fellowship Program. If you are an AKFC Fellowship Alumni, you are no longer eligible for the program as we only allow one placement per person.

10. What is the selection process for the Fellowship Program?

Applicants must submit a complete application, along with recommendations (academic, professional, and personal), by February 1, 2024. AKFC assesses all applications received based on skills, experience and personal suitability for a potential placement. Due to a high volume of applications, only successful applicants will be invited for an interview, which will begin in March. Following the interview stage, successful candidates receive an offer of placement outlining their Fellowship Program.

Please note, AKFC does not offer feedback on applications or interviews.

11. What kind of sessions are offered in the Management Seminar?

The Management Seminar covers several topics including: Microfinance and Microenterprise, Monitoring and Evaluation, Results Based Management, Personal Well-Being and Resilience, Personal Safety and Security, Gender and Development, Health and Development, etc. Sessions can change year to year depending on their relevance to placements offered.

12. If I am chosen as a Fellow, will I officially work for AKFC or for the host organization?

While overseas, host organizations will set the day-to-day tasks and professional protocol for Fellows. Fellows will take direction from supervisors in their host organization and abide by the holidays and working hours of the host organization.
    However, the relationship between AKFC and the Fellows is one of mutual obligation where AKFC provides support in a variety of areas. AKFC maintains constant communication with the Fellows during the placement.

13. If I am selected for a Fellowship, will I be placed in a management position?

Fellows are not intended to be “managers” but rather placed to build the skills and knowledge that will be valuable in their long-term careers as development managers and practitioners. Please see the list of sample placements for a better idea of roles and responsibilities of Fellows.

14. Can you apply for more than one stream?

No, please apply for one stream only. Upon review of your application, we may find that your skills and experience are better suited for a different stream. If you have indicated on your application that you are open to other streams, AKFC will consider you for alternative placements. Please note that deliberate submissions of multiple applications will result in the removal of all applications from consideration.

15. Can I still apply if I don’t have an academic or professional reference?

We encourage all candidates to provide one academic, one professional and one personal recommender. If for any reason you cannot provide either an academic or professional recommender you may still apply with two recommenders (one must be personal). However, you will be deducted marks on your application score for the missing recommendation. We discourage this type of activity as it may result in elimination of your application if a decision must be made between an application with equal skills and knowledge base.

16. What qualifies as a Personal, Professional or Academic reference?

  • Personal: Someone who has known you for longer than 1 year and is not related to you. An example of a good personal reference would be a community leader, a religious leader or someone else who you have not worked with but can still give us a good idea of your character.
  • Professional: Direct supervisor from a job. Someone who can speak to your capacity to work in a professional environment.
  • Academic: Professor from a class you took. Someone who can speak to your academic performance.

17. Can I change a recommender after I submit my application?

You can only change a recommender if they have not submitted a recommendation or before you submit your application.

To change your recommender, simply login to your account and click the “Delete” button next to the recommender of your choice. You will be prompted twice to verify your choice to delete this recommender. If you are certain you wish to delete and change recommenders click “OK” and the system will take you back out to the main page where you can click on the specific recommender and input their new information.

18. Can recommendations be submitted in languages other than English?

Yes, AKFC has the capability to receive and review recommendations in French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

19. Can I still apply to the program if I am a foreign national or over the age of 30 on or before February 1, 2024?

We appreciate your interest in the AKFC International Youth Fellowship Program. However, due to the nature of our funding, the Fellowship Program is only open to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents between the ages of 18 and 30.

If you are interested in other opportunities with the AKDN, please refer to the following websites:

20. What happens if I am out of country during interviews?

Should you be shortlisted for an interview while out of country, AKFC will arrange for you to complete the interview over the phone or via Microsoft Teams. We strongly recommend that you activate an automated message reply on your email during the time period you will be away for and if possible, have someone check your email for you. If we are aware you are out of country or unable to check your email during callback’s we will be more amenable to accommodating your schedule.

21. What format/layout should I upload my CV?

There are a number of options for organizing a resume, and in this case we are interested in details and relevance rather than length. As per the instructions, we would like candidates to specify the exact duration of their work/academic/professional experiences. For example, if you volunteered for a local hospital in 2007, your resume will indicate the exact dates: e.g. Volunteer, Edgemont Hospital, January 2007 to July 2007.

Furthermore, relevance is important, and candidates should highlight past experiences where skills and knowledge useful in an IDM/IMM/YPM Fellowship were acquired and developed.

Regarding resume length, a strong resume will be 1-2 pages, perhaps longer if you have extensive relevant experience. We strongly recommend visiting the Career Services centre at your university as these centres often provide feedback and pointers for strengthening your resume. They can also make suggestions for concise and clear formatting of your resume, so you can showcase your experience in the best possible way.

If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to contact our Fellowship Team at



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