You have read everything and still have a lot of questions…No worries! Here you will find responses by the fellowship team on some frequently asked questions by India Fellow aspirants.
Do realize that while it is natural to have a lot of doubts and questions (which we will always be ready to answer), the fun is in the surprises as well, especially for a journey like this. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer for what an intense experience like this will do for you as each one will have a different journey and distinct challenges. But we have tried to answer some of the basic questions here.
Q. What is the goal of India Fellow Program?
- We want to give a chance to young people interested in exploring the development space, to be able to work in a way different from the life you have been leading until now, to discover who you are and what is your purpose, while you work at grassroots.
- We hope to create, in the end, socially conscious leaders who empathize and understand the diversity of challenges in the development space and in doing so, attempt to create holistic solutions.
Q. My family is concerned about my safety with regards to this 13 month journey and the idea of not knowing the assignment field location is getting difficult to explain. Can I know which organization I will be placed at before hand?
It is very crucial that we all get into the fellowship with the clear understanding that the main motive is to completely immerse into the 13 month experiential journey – into our selves and the heartland of India – allowing all the learning and work experience to seep in.
The fellowship consciously wants to distance itself from creating a very per-informed setup since that hinders with the kind of learning we wish to promote. While we have been interacting with you during the assessment process; a better understanding can be arrived at only after the first few days into the induction training. Hence to pre-decide which fellow gets mapped to which assignment will not be truly effective and fair.
Having said that, we also wish to re-assure that all host organizations have been selected after thorough credibility assessment and the values of the fellowship being acceptable to them. Your security may not be a legal commitment of ours, but we have a far bigger moral obligation and at all point, both the fellowship and host organizations take care of this. However, like in all adult relationships, each one of us are responsible for our personal safety. We will request you to take this opportunity and have a candid dialogue with your folks explaining all this and the true purpose of both the fellowship and your commitment to undergo it.
Q. Can I pick the geographical region and/or thematic area I want to have my work assignment in?
The India Fellow ecosystem thrives on the faith which each stakeholder brings into it by participating whole-heartedly and taking up opportunities with great openness and commitment.
A fellow will not be able to hand-pick the assignment they get to do. It is the same case with the host organisations that we partner with. The fellowship decides on this match during the induction training after spending time with the fellows and knowledge of the work assignments.
Q. I am not sure of the stipend component. What is the amount? What will it cover? What about accommodation and related costs?
- For the duration when the fellow works with the host organization, the organization pays them a stipend. To keep parity, this amount is as follows:-
- If an organization provides for an accommodation (some organizations have their field offices and/or guest house where you can stay), the stipend is INR 13,000 per month.
- If an organization does not provide for an accommodation, then the stipend is INR 16,000 per month.
- For metropolitan areas of Mumbai and Delhi, the stipend is INR 13,000 and 20,000 respectively for with and without accommodation
- The fellow is expected to use the stipend for living expenses like accommodation, food and local commute. Please remember that this is not a salary but a stipend. For work related long distance travel, the organization reimburses the amount. Any other personal travel is to be borne by the fellow
- In terms of monetary contribution, through the year, fellows collectively fund raise at INR 60,000 per person, which is mandatory. This also entails a lot of learning on how collectives work and how funds are raised. All travel cost, to and from the training is to be borne by the fellow
- All costs and arrangements during the training (accommodation, food, resource persons, material costs etc.) is borne by the fellowship
- While the organizations are not mandated to provide accommodation to fellows, their team will be supportive and will help you make suitable arrangements on arrival at the assigned field areas.