Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices launch WomenLead India Fellowship to nurture women leaders in social sector

Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices launch WomenLead India Fellowship to nurture women leaders in social sector

Mumbai, August 26, 2022

Applications opened today for the WomenLead India Fellowships which are aimed at supporting women leaders in India who are taking on the world's greatest challenges.

WomenLead India is a 10-month long fellowship programme powered by Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices Global Partnership to strengthen the leadership capacity of female catalysts of social change in any of the following sectors:

• Rural Transformation: Developing holistic, sustainable solutions to address the main development concerns of rural communities, such as economic empowerment, nutrition security, water security, ecology, governance capacity of local organisations, and women’s empowerment.    

• Education: Addressing inequalities in access to Early Childhood Care and Education, primary, secondary, and higher education across income, gender, social group and geography; improving quality of educational services imparted across all levels; and developing or strengthening educational institutions.   

• Sports for Development: Building character and leadership skills among the youth in India by using sports as a medium to encourage lifelong learning and by also expanding access to sports in rural and marginalised communities.    

• Arts, Culture & Heritage: Preserving and promoting India’s art, culture, and heritage; advancing the knowledge of Indian arts, culture, and heritage domestically and globally; sustaining and making art and culture relevant to the younger generation. 

A press release from the Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices said the fellowship would provide tailored leadership capacity building and skills development to 50 women leaders who will be selected to participate in the inaugural cohort. Selected fellows will also benefit from mentoring support and peer-to-peer engagement.

“We believe in the collective and creative power of women to empower not just themselves, but also their families and communities. When women lean on women and rise together, they build a network and system of leadership that can help transform the world around them. It is our mission to drive and support this leadership amongst women. The WomenLead India Fellowship powered by Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices is an important step in nurturing inspirational women leaders who will be at the forefront of driving social change in India,” said Nita M Ambani, Founder-Chairperson, Reliance Foundation.

“Every problem solver needs a support network and we aim to be that for these women leaders by making a long-term investment in both the woman and the important work that she is doing to advance and empower the people of India and beyond,” said Alyse Nelson, Co-Founder, President, & CEO, Vital Voices. “We are thrilled to partner with Reliance Foundation to make this investment in India’s next generation of women leaders.”

The release said Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices are looking for innovative and collaborative women leaders who have a minimum of three years of work experience in enacting social change in their communities in one or more of the sectors outlined above; women who are driven by a clear sense of mission and who are committed to advancing the status of women and girls and women who are committed to transparency and good governance.

The WomenLead India fellows will be mentored in one of the following tracks based on their prior experience: Economic Empowerment  and Entrepreneurs; Social Sector Leaders; and Changemakers.

The 10-month fully funded programme serves as just the start of a relationship between the Fellows and the vast network of women leaders and global influencers who make up the Vital Voices and Reliance Foundation networks, the release said.

Applications close by 3 October 2022. More information about the programme is available here.

Reliance Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited.

Now celebrating 25 years since its founding, Vital Voices Global Partnership has directly invested in more than 20,000 changemakers across 184 countries and territories since its inception in 1997. It has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, Prime Ministers, awardwinning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman, Malala Yousafzai, and more.

In an effort to advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership —a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action — all in the pursuit of tackling the world’s greatest challenges.


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