The International Fellowships Programme (IFP) of the Ford Foundation is a programme representing the largest single program ever supported by the Foundation. Through the IFP, Ford is investing over $350 million within a period of 15 years to provide support for up to three years of formal post-baccalaureate study for Fellows from countries in Africa, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia, where the Foundation maintains active overseas programs. The IFP will support approximately 4,000 Fellows within the period.
IFP’s goal is to enable exceptional individuals from many parts of the world who otherwise lack opportunities for advanced study to pursue post-graduate degree programmes.
FORD INTERNATIONAL FELLOWS, as the recipients of the Fellowships are called, will be expected to become leaders in fields that further the Foundation’s goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation, and advancing human achievement.
IFP’s New York-based secretariat collaborates closely with partner organizations in 22 countries from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt and Palestine.
Others are, Chili, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Russia, Vietnam, China, India, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. These organizations supervise all recruitment and selection activities, and help ensure that the program’s goals and implementation are grounded in local realities and reflect local needs.
In West Africa, the AAU coordinates IFP activities in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, the participating countries in collaboration with its partners [Pathfinder International, Nigeria and the West African Research Center (WARC) in Senegal.]
Major activities implemented in the project are:
- Coordination of various needs assessment/orientations, institutional testing/ pre academic trainings (PAT) programmes and cohort building/ leadership training programmes.
- Placement of Fellows-Elect in appropriate academic institutions in collaboration with IFP’s Placement Partners: The British Council, Institute of International Education (IIE), NUFFIC plus pre-departure preparations including visa processing and flight arrangements.
- Monitoring of fellows in collaboration with IIE, which consist of closely following their academic progress, ensuring their stipends and other contract funds are sent on time, timely renewal of contracts as well as their general welfare. Repatriation arrangements and re-entry issues.
- Post Fellowship activities include supporting the fellows after their academic programmes to resettle back at home to pursue their career goals. Ford Foundation recognizes the importance of supporting and motivating the fellows to come back to their homelands to promote issues of social justice. In view of this a proposal is under review for funds to support national and regional associations alumni as well as networks that will help them achieve the aims for which they were awarded this fellowship. AAU will be coordinating Alumni activities in West Africa.
- Outreach/Announcements of the fellowship, Screening/Short-listing, Interviews and Endorsement of candidates for the fellowship.
To date over 300 Fellows have been selected from the West African sub region and are studying in countries such as Britain, Canada, France, Switzerland, South Africa and the United States of America. Of these Fellows 200 have technically completed their studies and about 150 have already returned to the sub region as at September 2008.