Community Solutions Program 2021

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS PROGRAM (CSP)

The Community Solutions Program (CSP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and implemented by IREX, provides community leaders from around the world with an intensive, professional development exchange program in the United States from August to December 2021. CSP fellows gain valuable experience in community work and strengthen their capacity for leadership and development in their home countries.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • Applicants must be between the ages of 25-38 as of January 1, 2021
  • Applicants must have at least two years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee or volunteer
  • Applicants must be living and working in their home country (individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration)
  • Applicants must have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

Four-month U.S.-based fellowship: CSP fellows are matched with non-profit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives related to issues they face in their own communities. Community Solutions leaders work in one of four technical areas: Environmental Issues, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution, Transparency and Accountability, and Women and Gender Issues. For example: A gender-rights activist from Vietnam focused on reducing human trafficking works with YWCA on human trafficking in Houston, Texas.

Community Leadership Institute: The Community Leadership Institute (CLI) is a leadership academy that provides customized learning and coaching to each CSP Leader. The CLI uses a blended-learning approach, where leaders participate in online sessions and in-person workshops, receive professional coaching, engage in experiential learning, and interact with other professionals in their field.

Community-based initiatives: CSP fellows develop innovative community action projects in collaboration with their U.S. host institutions and implement these projects after they return to their home countries to integrate their new skills and knowledge into their community work at home. Project summaries are made available online, allowing fellows to share their work with other community leaders around the world.

International network of community development professionals: CSP fellows continue to network and collaborate with like-minded leaders from around the world on global development issues through alumni activities and opportunities offered through the Community Leadership Institute online platform.

PROJECT IMPACT TO DATE

  • 347 U.S. organizations in 90 U.S. cities have hosted CSP fellows, making life-long international connections
  • 630 grassroots leaders from 83 countries have participated in CSP since 2011
  • CSP alumni have impacted over 274,600 individuals with their community development initiatives
  • 100% of CSP hosts provide in-kind contributions to the program, including staff time and expertise and office space and support that has resulted in over two million dollars since the program began

COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS PROGRAM EMBASSY ENGAGEMENT TIMELINE

  • Application deadline: October 28, 2020 COB.
  • Finalists and alternates identified in February 2021
  • Finalists go through a visa interview in April 2021
  • Participants have CSP Practicum in the U.S. during August – December 2021

September 16, 2020

Application opens

October 28, 2020 COB (close of business day)

CSP application deadline

Mid-December 2020

CSP semi-finalist interviews shared with interested embassies for selection feedback

End of January 2021 

CSP finalists and alternates identified 

February 2021 

High visa priority countries receive DS-2019s 

March – April 2021 

All other posts receive DS-2019 

March – April 2021 

CSP finalists and alternates take English language tests as needed 

June 2021 

CSP team facilitates an online Pre-Departure Orientation with all finalists 

August 2021 

CSP fellows travel to the U.S. 

August – December 2021 

CSP Practicum 

December 2021 

CSP staff provide post with participants’ follow-on project information so they can reconnect when they return to their home community 

January – June 2022 

CSP fellows complete their follow-on projects 

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS PROGRAM

For questions, email IREX at: csp@irex.org

For more information about the program and application details, see our website:

https://www.irex.org/program/community-solutions-program-application-information and https://oas.irex.org/csp/Logon?ReturnUrl=%2fcsp

For updates on program activities and alumni, follow us on social media:

Facebook: @CommunitySolutionsProgram and @ExchangeProgramsAtState

Twitter: @cspecairex and @ECAatState