PRB Policy Communication Fellows Program for Students from Developing Countries


The African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) are seeking applications for their Policy Communication Fellows Program, which will run from 2021 to 2022. The United States contributes to the program’s funding. International Development Agency (USAID). Individuals from qualifying developing nations who are currently enrolled in academic institutions pursuing doctoral programs and are in their third to fifth year of studies are eligible to apply. Applicants may be from any academic discipline, but their research must focus on one or more of the following:

  • Family planning and/or reproductive health (FP/RH).
  • Contraceptive use/behavior.
  • Maternal and child health (MCH), specifically family planning/MCH integration.
  • Population growth.
  • Adolescent reproductive health.
  • Poverty, health equity, and connections with reproductive health.
  • Gender issues, specifically gender-based violence (GBV), early marriage, and male engagement in family planning.
  • Population, health, and environment interrelations.

Application deadline: December 20, 2021



Benefits of the PRB Policy Communication Fellows Program

The goals of the Policy Fellows program are to:

  1. Understand the process by which research informs the policy environment.
  2. Learn how to communicate research to policy audiences in a way that encourages action.
  3. Improve participants’ communication skills using a variety of formats and platforms.

The Policy Fellows program, initiated in the 1980s, has close to 400 alumni. Policy Communication Alumni Fellows are highly respected in the field and actively engaged in advocacy work. The program aims to bridge the gap between research findings and the policy development process. While research often has profound policy implications, it must be communicated effectively to a variety of non-technical audiences in order to have an impact.

The Policy Communication Fellows Program aims to develop the future generation of policymakers in their respective countries. To enhance South-South collaboration and information exchange, the fellowship is held in collaboration with AFIDEP research and advocacy experts. Local advocacy priorities and policy landscapes will be learned firsthand by fellows, as well as how to tailor their research messaging to relevant policy audiences. Throughout the program, fellows are tutored on how to effectively communicate their findings to non-technical audiences. The program is dedicated to providing participants with an enriching, cutting-edge experience that reflects the broad and ever-changing world of policy and communications.

The fellowship program engages participants through a blended learning approach. Fellows are required to attend a week-long training workshop, complete instructional curricula online, and submit assignments throughout the fellowship.

The program has three components:

Online Coursework: Throughout the fellowship, participants will be required to attend short online lectures and complete associated assignments to supplement the in-person training. Fellows are expected to join one orientation webinar prior to the training workshop, as well as attend post-institute online lectures.

Online training workshop: Participants will attend a weeklong policy and communication workshop focused on the role of research in the policy process and on techniques for effective communication of research findings to decision-makers. At the summer institute, the participants will interact with PRB and AFIDEP staff and local experts active in policy research and communication. During the training, participants are asked to work with their own research data to identify the policy relevance of their findings; Fellows will learn how to draw implications of those findings and how to communicate them effectively to policy audiences through a variety of platforms.

Policy Communication Assignments: Between January and March 2022, Fellows will apply the skills learned at the workshop to prepare written assignments and an oral presentation for policy audiences, based on their dissertation research. Throughout the assignments, Fellows will receive individual feedback from policy communication experts on their work.

Eligibility Criteria for Students

All participants must be citizens of developing nations that receive funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for population and health. The list of countries that are qualified can be found on the internet.

Participants must also be in their third or fifth year of studies and enrolled in PhD programs at respectable academic institutions. PRB provides preference to applicants whose dissertation research is focused on the above-mentioned issue areas and who are in their early career stages. The program’s language of teaching is English, and applicants must demonstrate in their application papers that they can effectively convey their research in English.

How to Apply

The deadline for applying is 10th December, 2021. The Fellowship awards will be announced by 20th December, 2021.

Applicants must submit the following to PRB and AFIDEP:

  • A cover letter stating why you wish to participate in this program.
  • An application form. Application-Form-2021-22.pdf
  • An updated resume with a full list of educational and other professional activities.
  • A two- or three-page summary of the applicant’s dissertation research.
  • Two letters of reference sent directly from the person writing the reference (via e-mail).

Application forms, program information, and answers to common Frequently Asked Questions about the program can be found on AFIDEP and PRB’s website.

Completed applications, letters of reference, or questions about the program should be sent via e-mail to: [email protected].


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