Frequently Asked Questions

AKFC is searching for individuals who can demonstrate a commitment to international development, are driven by the desire to make a meaningful change in the world, and are ready to apply their skills and experience to a challenging overseas internship.

About the Program

The International Youth Fellowship is one of AKFC’s wide range of opportunities for people from Canada to exercise and express their global citizenship. Founded in 1989, the Fellowship program is a nine-month professional development program for Canadians seeking hands-on experience in international development while supporting strong, effective, local institutions in Africa and Asia.

Participants can apply for placements within the International Development Management (IDM), International Microfinance and Microenterprise (IMM), and Young Professionals in Media (YPM) streams that best match their backgrounds and interests, such as:

  • Fields: Agriculture & Food Security, Civil Society, Climate Resilience, Early Childhood Development, Education, Gender Equality, Health & Nutrition, Work & Enterprise
  • Placements: Communications, Marketing, Media, Monitoring & Evaluation, Operations, Partnerships, Project Management, Research


Task Timeframe
Launch of Online Application November 1, 2023
Applications Close February 1, 2024
Application Review February
Interview Period March
Offers to Candidates Late March
Management Seminar May 22 – June 15, 2024*
Fellows Depart for Field Placements  July 1, 2024
End of Placement February 28, 2025

Management Seminar

*Please note the timeframe of the Management Seminar is tentative and subject to change.

The three-week pre-departure Management Seminar provides a unique forum for intellectual engagement and workshops to develop knowledge and skills related to the overseas placement. The practitioner-oriented seminar is intended to prepare Fellows for their placements and equip them with skills and perspectives that will benefit them in a career in international development. Workshops are taught by some of Canada’s foremost international cooperation practitioners.

Overseas Placement

The eight-month overseas portion of the Fellowship takes place in a host country in Africa or Asia. The host countries change each year but could include India, Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

See some sample placements.


Fellows are paired with mentors for the duration of their placements, based on several criteria, including geography, sectorial expertise, and placement type.

Mentors are alumni with at least three years of post-Fellowship work experience. The mentors will connect with Fellows throughout their placements to discuss development topics and provide feedback and advice.

Applicants select a stream as part of their application but can indicate in their application whether they are willing to be considered for other streams as part of the review process.

International Development Management (IDM) encompasses a broad range of development sectors and specializations. These include positions in research, communications, monitoring and evaluation, and administration in sectors such as health, education, environment, gender, and civil society strengthening. Fellows are often placed with Aga Khan Education Services, Aga Khan Foundation, Aga Khan Health Services, Aga Khan University, University of Central Asia, and other agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network.

International Microfinance and Microenterprise (IMM) is for applicants with backgrounds in finance and business. IMM fellows gain hands-on experience with fostering entrepreneurship, developing businesses, and providing financial services and products. Potential host organizations may include microfinance institutions and market development units. In the past Fellows have been placed with the First Microcredit Company, the First MicroFinance Bank, the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, and the AKDN’s Tourism Promotion Services.

Young Professionals in Media (YPM) is for applicants with backgrounds in journalism and media. Fellows work as journalists for Nation Media Group, a leading media outlet in East Africa, operating in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. With opportunities to report in print, broadcast, and digital media, Fellows gain the skills to work effectively in today’s global media environment.

The Fellowship program is nine months in duration, and consists of:

  • a three-week management training seminar in Ottawa (May 22 – June 15, 2024)
  • an eight-month overseas placement (July 2024 to February 2025)

Each year, AKFC selects between 10 and 25 Fellows to participate in the Fellowship. The number of candidates selected varies based on available funding and matching candidates to the available placements.

AKFC covers most of the costs associated with living and working overseas including travel, accommodation, vaccinations, health insurance, and a modest stipend to cover the cost of living. Successful candidates are required to make a one-time contribution of CAD $1,000 towards the costs of the Fellowship.

All Fellows must meet the following application criteria:

  • Hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution by April 30, 2024, with a record of strong academic performance
  • Will not be enrolled in any educational program for the duration of the Fellowship program (June 2024 – February 2025)
  • Demonstrated a commitment to international development through related volunteer, professional, or academic experience
  • Be 30 years of age or under on or before February 1, 2024
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Be fluent in English
  • Present all required documentation (CVs, degrees, transcripts, references, etc.)

There is no flexibility on the eligibility criteria, and any applications not meeting the requirements will automatically be disqualified.

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria listed above, successful candidates have demonstrated leadership potential and excellence in their academic and professional lives. Fellows also complement a strong interest in international development with volunteer and extracurricular activities that demonstrate their willingness to support the inclusive growth of communities both at home and abroad.

While overseas, Fellows are expected to live simply, often in rural communities or large urban centres. As such, individuals with the flexibility and maturity to adapt to new contexts and communities are ideal Fellows.

Candidates will be expected to communicate realistic and mature expectations of the Fellowship experience and a sophisticated understanding of general development concepts and issues. Additionally, candidates should be able to discuss their own experiences relating to intercultural sensitivity, initiative, flexibility and adaptability, teamwork, and maturity.

AKFC looks for Fellows who demonstrate humility and a commitment to change. Individuals who are self-starters and show a commitment to development and learning are highly valued.

Create an account through our application portal, and complete the application form before the deadline of February 1, 2024.

Applicants who have previously completed an AKFC Fellowship are not eligible to participate again in the program.

Candidates who have previously applied but were not selected, or who were unable to accept a past offer of a Fellowship position, are welcome to re-submit their application once per recruitment cycle.

Former CIDA International Youth Internship Program participants are eligible to participate in AKFC’s International Youth Fellowship Program. If you are AKFC Fellowship alumni, you are no longer eligible for the program as we only allow one placement per person.

Applicants must submit a complete application, along with recommendations (academic, professional, and personal), by February 1, 2024. AKFC assesses all applications received based on skills, experience, and personal suitability for potential placement. Due to a high volume of applications, only successful applicants will be invited for an interview.

Interviews begin in March.

Following the interview stage, successful candidates receive an offer outlining their Fellowship placement.

Please note, AKFC does not offer feedback on applications or interviews.

The Management Seminar covers several topics including Communications, Gender Equality, Microfinance and Microenterprise, Monitoring and Evaluation, Results Based Management, Personal Well-Being and Resilience, and Personal Safety and Security.

Sessions can change year to year depending on their relevance to placements offered.

While overseas, host organizations will set the day-to-day tasks and professional protocol for Fellows. Fellows will take direction from supervisors in their host organization and abide by the holidays and working hours of the host organization.

However, the relationship between AKFC and the Fellows is one of mutual obligation where AKFC provides support in a variety of areas. AKFC maintains regular communication with the Fellows during the placement.

Fellows are not intended to be “managers” but rather placed to build the skills and knowledge that will be valuable in their long-term careers as development managers and practitioners. Please see the list of sample placements for a better idea of the roles and responsibilities of Fellows.

No, please apply for one stream only.

Upon review of your application, we may find that your skills and experience are better suited for a different stream. If you have indicated on your application that you are open to other streams, AKFC will consider you for alternative placements. Please note that deliberate submissions of multiple applications will result in the removal of all applications from consideration.

We encourage all candidates to provide one academic, one professional, and one personal reference.

If for any reason you cannot provide either an academic or professional recommender, you may still submit an application with two recommenders (one must be personal). However, you will be deducted marks on your application score for the missing recommendation. We discourage this type of activity as it may result in elimination of your application if a decision must be made between an application with equal skills and knowledge base.

Personal: Someone who has known you for longer than one year and is not related to you. An example of a good personal reference would be a community leader, a religious leader, or someone else who you have not worked with but can still give us a good idea of your character.

Professional: Direct supervisor from a job. Someone who can speak to your capacity to work in a professional environment.

Academic: Professor from a class you took. Someone who can speak to your academic performance.

You can only change a recommender if they have not submitted a recommendation or before you submit your application.

To change your recommender, simply login to your account and click the “Delete” button next to the recommender of your choice. You will be prompted twice to verify your choice to delete this recommender. If you are certain that you wish to delete and change recommenders, click “OK” and the system will take you back out to the main page where you can click on the specific recommender and input their new information.

Yes, AKFC has the capability to receive and review recommendations in French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

We appreciate your interest in the AKFC International Fellowship Program. However, due to the nature of our funding, the Fellowship Program is only open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents between the ages of 18 and 30.

If you are interested in other opportunities with AKFC or the AKDN, please refer to the following websites:

Should you be shortlisted for an interview while out of country, AKFC will arrange for you to complete the interview over the phone or via Microsoft Teams.

If you will not have internet access, we strongly recommend that you activate an automated message reply on your email during the period you will be away and if possible, have someone check your email for you. If we are aware that you are out of country or unable to check your email, we will be more amenable to accommodating your schedule.

There are a number of options for organizing a resume, and in this case, we are interested in details and relevance rather than length. As per the instructions, we would like candidates to specify the exact duration of their academic and professional experiences. For example, if you volunteered for a local hospital in 2007, your resume should indicate the exact dates: e.g., Volunteer, Edgemont Hospital, January 2007 to July 2007.

Furthermore, relevance is important, and candidates should highlight past experiences where skills and knowledge useful for a Fellowship placement were acquired and developed.

Regarding resume length, a strong resume will be 1 to 2 pages, perhaps longer if you have extensive relevant experience. If possible, we strongly recommend visiting the Career Services centre at your university as these centres often provide feedback and pointers for strengthening your resume. They can also make suggestions for concise and clear formatting of your resume, so you can showcase your experience in the best possible way.

If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to contact our Fellowship team at [email protected].