Dear friends of GHC,
I’m writing to share that following careful consideration of a range of safety and security factors and relevant COVID-19 data, our team has reached the difficult decision not to place American fellows in our 2021-2022 cohort. As we did for our 2020-2021 cohort, we will instead seek to select and place a full cohort of ~44 African nationals within our existing placement organizations.
When we began our partner selection process for this cohort in August 2020, we opted to proceed with recruiting American fellows given data indicating low levels of infection in Sub-Saharan Africaand faster-than-expected progress on vaccine development. With a second, more deadly wave, the emergence of new, more contagious variants, and a slower and less equitable global vaccineroll-out than hoped, we’ve had to reassess.
Ultimately, even if incoming American fellows are able to get the vaccine prior to the start of the fellowship and can travel safely to their placement countries, the high likelihood of ongoing lockdowns and physical distancing protocol pose serious challenges to our program’s value proposition. Being immersed in local culture and building in-person relationships is a key component of international GHC fellows’ efficacy at work and a catalyst for leadership growth overall.
While we’re disappointed that we will not be able to proceed with hosting American fellows this year, we’re proud to be able to continue our investments in developing local leaders in Africa, especially given how the pandemic has illuminated the urgent need to embrace a more community-based, people-centered approach to global development. …