Would you like to learn more about social, economic and political issues in Africa and how to help alleviate them? Do you have a specific organization in Africa you would like to volunteer with? The African Service Fellowship offers up to $5,500 to support travel and living expenses during the summer for students working with a specific organization in Africa.

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African Service Fellowship

Background and Purpose

Since 1984, the Haas Center for Public Service has been encouraging students to explore public service through its fellowship opportunities in the US and abroad. Fellowships specifically focused on community development work in Cape Town, South Africa, became available to undergraduates in 1998 through the Amy Biehl Fellowship, funded for a period by gifts made by several donors in the wake of Biehl's murder in 1993.

The opportunity arose in 2003 for the Haas Center to join forces with the Center for African Studies through a significant gift from Kelly Moylan '77, which established the African Service Fellowship. Also in 2003, a fellowship in an African NGO was made possible by gifts from David B. Abernethy, Professor Emeritus of Political Science. In 2005, Tom Lockhard '79 and his wife, Alix Marduel MD, established a fellowship modeled on Moylan's.

Program Description

African Service Fellows will have the opportunity to learn about and help alleviate social and economic problems in Africa.

  • Applicants must propose their own placements with organizations with which they have corresponded before the application deadline.
  • A faculty member or advanced graduate student from the Center for African Studies will serve as an academic mentor to students who are awarded this fellowship.
  • Fellows meet with their mentors to determine academic and other options that assist with preparation for and follow-up on the summer learning experience.

Each African Service Fellow receives a base stipend of $5,500 to support travel and living expenses during the summer. Financial aid and supplemental funding is available to students who qualify. African Service Fellows are also asked to submit a stipend budget as part of the application process.

The African Service Fellowship is a Haas Center for Public Service and Center for African Studies Joint Program.


Currently enrolled undergraduate students including graduating students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. At least one fellowship is awarded in the area of public health and one to a student working with a nongovernmental organization (NGO).

  • All applicants should exhibit a demonstrated interest in Africa that relates to a particular field of study.
  • Applicants may vary in academic interests, community service involvement, and experience.
  • Graduating seniors may apply with the understanding that preference is given to competitive continuing undergraduate applicants.


The Haas Center, in consultation with faculty, donors, alumni, students, and community members, has developed a list of potential placements that offers students a starting point in terms of identifying potential partner organizations. It is the responsibility of the student applicants to research the organization and make contact with a representative.

Students may also identify and research their own placements, however, those students must effectively demonstrate that their intended partner organization is a well-run organization, where they will receive adequate guidance and supervision.

Program Requirements

African Service fellows are required to work at least 35 hours/week for nine consecutive weeks at their placements. Please review the entire Haas FAQs section for program policies. Other commitments include the following:

Spring Quarter

  • Attend a program orientation in April.
  • Attend IPREP workshop.
  • Meet with academic mentor at least once.
  • Design a personal learning plan for the summer.


  • Share learning plan with site supervisor and update accordingly.
  • Submit a brief preliminary report.
  • Submit a final report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with fellowship donor(s) as requested by fellowships program staff.

Autumn Quarter

  • Meet with academic mentor at least once.
  • Attend the Africa Mini-Retreat for the purpose of reflecting upon and evaluating summer experiences with other students who spent time in Africa over the summer.
  • Participate in outreach activity to share your experiences and help publicize the program.

Selection Process

We strongly encourage students to discuss placements with fellowships program staff at the Haas Center well before the application deadline. Developing a suitable summer placement takes time, so start the application process early and consult with professors, advisors and community partners regularly. Please note that international fellowships take considerably more preparation and advising than domestic fellowships, and selection committees expect applications of a higher caliber.

This fellowship is intended for individuals whose application, references and interview demonstrate:

  1. integration of the fellowship experience with applicant’s academic, personal and/or career goals
  2. prior interest (or involvement) in the subject area, including related coursework
  3. a compelling match between applicant’s skills and interests and an organization’s work and needs
  4. interpersonal skills and cross-cultural adaptability (language ability preferred, not required)
  5. high-quality recommendations from people familiar with the applicant’s work and interests

Complete applications are screened, finalists interviewed, and fellows selected by a committee with the intention to award fellowships prior to spring break. Committee decisions are final.

The safety of travel to any international destination is reviewed up until time of departure. The Haas Center must adhere to the Provost’s International Travel Policy, which states that Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips that involve sending undergraduates to countries where a State Department Travel Warning has been issued is prohibited. University funds cannot be used to support travel to these locations. The U.S. Department of State posts advisories.


Apply here

Deadline: February

A complete African Service Fellowship application will include the following components:

  • Applicant information
  • Résumé
  • Personal statement
  • Detailed budget
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Transcript
  • Statement of academic commitment
  • Placement/Community Partner Section