USAID Democracy Fellows and Grants Program | About the Fellowship | FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria for a Democracy Fellowship?

What are the characteristics of a successful application?

Where are fellowships served?

How long are Democracy Fellowships?

What is the timeline for applying to the program?

If I specify a particular country, am I still eligible for fellowships in other locations?

Can you tell me about some of the current fellowships?

What are the benefits and salary for the fellowship?


Q: What are the eligibility criteria for a Fellowship?

A:

  • US citizenship or US Permanent Resident (provided there are no security restrictions). US citizenship is required for full-time Fellows. Short-term or part-time Fellowships that do not require a security clearance may be filled by US citizens or by US Permanent Residents.
  • Ability to receive a US national security clearance, as required.
  • PhD, JD, or Master's degree. A completed graduate degree is required.
  • Appropriate level of experience.
  • Applicants for full-time Fellowships must not have worked inside USAID as a technical professional (Direct-Hire, Non-Direct Hire, PSC) for more than five years, cumulatively.
  • Applicants must not have worked as a fellow on any fellowship program within USAID for a combined total of four years, cumulatively.

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Q: What are the characteristics of a successful application?

A: Applications must be complete and meet all eligibility criteria for the DFG Program. Those that pass this review are then reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Applicant has the specific skills, qualifications, and professional experience required by USAID for the advertised Fellowship.
  • Applicant demonstrates suitable language and cross-cultural skills.
  • Academics restricted from accepting full-time employment with another organization may be excellent candidates for part-time or short-term Democracy Fellowships. Part-time and short-term Fellows are hired as IIE consultants, rather than IIE employees.

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Q: Where are fellowships served?

A: Most Fellows work in, and as a part of, USAID units in Washington, DC or overseas Missions. USAID units will request that IIE begin recruitment for specific Fellowships, once USAID has determined the need for the position. Please sign up for our mailing list to receive regular updates on available Fellowships.

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Q: How long are Democracy Fellowships?

A: Full-time Democracy Fellowships are generally two years, with the second year contingent upon continuation of funding and the Fellow’s first-year performance. If funding is available, full-time Fellowships may be extended for up to four years. The duration of part-time or short-term Democracy Fellowships varies according to the needs of the sponsoring USAID unit, but short-term Fellowships are typically three to twelve months in duration.

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Q: What is the timeline for applying to the program?

    A:
  • Applications to the Applicant Pool are accepted and processed on a continuing basis. IIE will notify individuals that have been accepted into the DFG Applicant Pool within one month of receiving the completed application. Applications are considered active for approximately one calendar year from their date of receipt.
  • Acceptance into the DFG Applicant Pool does not guarantee the award of a Fellowship; it only indicates eligibility for future Fellowships.
  • Fellowships become available according to USAID’s needs and will be advertised on the DFG website. For any new Fellowship, IIE will consider the pre-qualified members of the DFG Applicant Pool and any individuals who apply specifically to the new position. All general applicants will receive e-mail updates when a new Fellowship is posted and can elect to submit an updated application to that specific Fellowship that highlights relevant experience.  Individuals interested in a Democracy Fellowship who have not applied to the DFG Applicant Pool also may apply to receive alerts when new Fellowships are posted.
  • Applicants will be contacted only if they are shortlisted to a specific Fellowship. Shortlisted applicants can expect at least two rounds of interviews with IIE and the sponsoring USAID unit before a final selection is made.
  • Selection is based on the needs of the sponsoring USAID unit. In most cases, proposed fellows must be granted a security clearance before their fellowship is awarded

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Q: If I specify a particular country, am I still eligible for fellowships in other locations?

A: Unless they request otherwise, applicants to the DFG Applicant Pool will be considered for all opportunities for which they qualify. Applicants may specify a particular country or region of special interest; however, they still will be considered for Fellowships in other regions, as long as the technical criteria for the Fellowship (e.g., language, experience, etc.) are met. Please note that members of the DFG Applicant Pool may be requested to update their applications in response to a specific Fellowship opportunity.

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Q: Can you tell me about some of the current fellowships?

A: Democracy Fellows currently work in areas such as campaign finance reform, survey development, Internet freedom, transitional justice, atrocity prevention, and counter-trafficking in persons. To learn about the current Democracy Fellows, see the "Current Fellows" section of this website.

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Q: What are the benefits and salary for the fellowship?

A: Salary is based on experience, education, and documented salary history and is subject to US Government restrictions. Full-time Fellows will be hired as IIE employees; they may elect medical, dental, life, and total disability coverage and are eligible for paid time off. Part-time and short-term Fellows will be engaged as IIE consultants and are not eligible for benefits or paid time off.

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