The Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship Program

The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) was created in 1969 by the United States Congress to fund the self-help initiatives of the organized poor in Latin America and the Caribbean and the groups that directly support them. To complement its work, the IAF has reinstated its Fellowships for candidates for Ph.D. degrees from United States universities as they conduct their dissertation research. IAF's Fellowships are intended to increase awareness of grassroots development efforts while building a community of professionals and scholars knowledgeable in the subject. Fellows examine the efforts of the rural and urban poor to improve their lives, their methods of organization and production, and the policies and programs designed to alleviate their poverty. The IAF disseminates research findings of its Fellows to a broad audience concerned with development.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) has partnered with the IAF to administer its Grassroots Development Fellowship Program. The Web pages on this site provide essential information on all aspects of the IAF Fellowship Program. Interested individuals should carefully review the entire site. The IAF will not respond to inquiries. All inquiries should be directed to The Institute of International Education at iaffellowships@iie.org.

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Fellowships are available to currently registered students who will have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. (or other doctoral program) in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields and other disciplines - as related to their relationship with grassroots development issues - by their proposed start date (between June 1 and March 31 of the application year). Applications for clinical research in the health field will NOT be considered.

Applicants and university fellowship/grant advisers are encouraged to attend one of the informational webinars offered.  The schedule is usually announced in September along with the application deadline.

Awards are based on both development and scholarly criteria. Proposals should offer a practical orientation to field-based research. In exceptional cases the IAF will support research reflecting a primary interest in macro questions of politics and economics but only as related to the environment of the poor. The Fellowship Program complements IAF’s support for grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and preference is for those applicants whose careers or research projects are related to topics of greatest interest to the IAF. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Organizations undertaking grassroots development with disadvantaged people;
  • The financial sustainability and independence of development organizations, and the mobilization of community assets;
  • The inclusion in development processes of historically excluded groups, such as African descendants, indigenous peoples, women, people with disabilities, young people and LGBTI groups;
  • Transnational development;
  • The role of corporate social responsibility in grassroots development;
  • The impact of globalization on grassroots development;
  • The impact on the quality of life of the poor of grassroots development activities in such areas as sustainable agriculture and natural resource management, housing, health care, education, urban development, technology transfer, jobs creation, and marketing and small-enterprise development.

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