Call for Applications | Africa Early Childhood Research Fellowship Program

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Deadline: Monday 30th August 2020 at 11:59 GMT

About the Fellowship

The Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN) is a registered Kenya-based, non-profit professional network established in 2015 to serve as a platform for championing and promoting excellence and collaboration in ensuring positive early childhood outcomes in Africa. AfECN achieves this mission by advocating for protection of children’s rights, influencing policy and practice, strengthening partnerships, and sharing experiences and knowledge in Early Childhood Development (ECD) on the African continent. AfECN has identified five areas needing improvement to make progress towards large-scale equitable access to early child development programmes in sub-Saharan Africa: advocacy, networking, knowledge generation and dissemination, practice, and leadership.

In 2017, AfECN began implementing a mentorship programme to strengthen ECD research capacity in Africa by supporting early-to-mid-career African scholars (Research Fellows) who can work at the intersection of research, practice and policy to advance early childhood development in the region. Specifically, the aim is to develop capacity in the region for culturally and contextually relevant research to support the level of program implementation necessary to produce high-quality early childhood outcomes. At the same time, AfECN Research Fellows participate in disseminating their work through policy briefs, peer-reviewed articles as well as presentations at conferences, seminars and workshops.

AfECN is currently in the process of recruiting the 3rd Cohort which is planned to have four (4) junior research fellows.

Eligibility criteria for 3rd Cohort of AfECN Research Fellows

Applicants to this cohort should be doctoral degree holders who completed their PhDs within the last five years and are not older than 40 years. Additionally, they should be citizens or established residents in an SSA country, be affiliated to African Universities or research institutes and be in the early stages of their research careers in ECD-related areas. Recommended disciplines include Early Childhood Studies, Social Sciences, Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics, Health Sciences, Communication & Media Studies, and Law.

The four Research Fellows will be selected from among applicants with excellent research ideas which propose innovative approaches to addressing the development of young children.

Priority Countries

Priority shall be given to students from the following countries: Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Cote de Ivoire, Gambia, Cabo Verde, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea,  and Sao Tome and Principe.

Thematic Research Areas

The research problems should be formulated around the following thematic areas in early childhood education and development.

  • Early learning quality improvement
  • Health system strengthening to support child development outcomes
  • Implementation of ECD Policies and legislation
  • Safety and protection of young children in difficult circumstances
  • Quality of Childcare Services for children under 3 years.
  • Parent education and empowerment focus on fatherhood

Benefits of AfECN Fellowship

As a Research Fellow, you shall receive the following benefits:

  1. Participation in one fully funded face-to-face meeting of research fellows and mentors.
  2. Placement(s) with partner agencies in a position to support and benefit from the work of Research Fellow in the areas research interest.
  3. Seed grants of US$ 4,500 guided by the fellow’s research plan.
  4. Guidance from mentors and mentorship groups who will engage with Research Fellows throughout the program including at face-to-face meetings and bi-monthly telephone conferences.
  5. Support to attend a conference and to facilitate dissemination of research findings.
  6. Linkages and connection to research funding opportunities and ECD networks
  7. Award of certificate of completion

Tenure of the Fellowship

The Africa Early Childhood Research Fellowship shall last for a period of 18 months.

Documents Required:

  1. A letter of intent giving an overview of the project on the attached form (a form-attached to this document as appendix 1).
  2. Curriculum Vitae of the applicant (2 pages).
  3. A letter of motivation (250 words) describing the fellow’s research interests and how this research fellowship opportunity fits into the candidate’s career trajectory.
  4. A letter of commitment from applicant’s institution to support the research and endorsed by the head of the institution.
  5. A letter of mentorship support from a senior ECD scholar from the fellow’s institution.
  6. A letter of commitment from a host organization (an organization implementing ECD services or programmes) where the fellow will conduct their research work.
  7. One reference on the suitability of the candidate to participate in this programme from researchers, academics, or practitioners familiar with the candidates work.
  8. All the documents should be combined into one pdf document.

Only applicants fulfilling all the requirements and who submit full applications within the stipulated deadlines shall be considered. AfECN is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of applications and only successful applicants will be contacted. As part of the selection process, applicants may be invited for virtual interviews.

How to Apply:

Qualified and interested applicants are invited to complete and send in their application by Monday August 30th, 2020 (11:59 GMT). The applications and any inquiries should be submitted to the following address:

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 319 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: