Applications for 2022 LINC Grants Now Open

2016 Alumni Dopgima Stella Guelleu of Cameroon and Mutaru Mumuni of Ghana pose with participants during a two-day peacebuilding workshop in 2021.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX are excited to announce the launch of the 2022 Leveraging Innovations in New Communities (LINC) Grant program, an exclusive opportunity for Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

LINC Grants provide small awards for Fellowship Alumni to pursue professional collaborations within the Fellowship’s Alumni Network.  Grants will support Alumni to travel to each other’s countries or to collaborate virtually on joint projects or learning opportunities.  Grants may also assist with the implementation costs of these collaborations. Examples of LINC collaborations include joint service projects or training, job shadowing or mentoring arrangements, or joint research or teaching.

In light of the global public health crisis, Alumni have the option to conduct their LINC collaborations in in-person, virtual, or hybrid formats.  Fellowship Alumni from all cohort years are eligible to apply for LINC grants of up to $4,000 for in-person collaborations in one partner’s home country or up to $2,700 for virtual or hybrid collaborations.  Applicants and collaboration activities must be based in Sub-Saharan Africa.  LINC-funded collaborations may not exceed four weeks.

2022 LINC Grant proposals must address one or more of the following themes:
  • Cultivating Economic Prosperity through Women’s Entrepreneurship  
  • Fostering International Trade through Business Partnerships 
  • Advancing Peace through Conflict Prevention and Reconciliation 
  • Promoting Access to Quality Education 
  • Innovating in Science & Technology 
  • Promoting Inclusion through Disability Rights Advocacy

Applications will be evaluated on their relevance to the selected theme; clarity and feasibility of their goals and planned activities; justification for the need to travel (for in-person collaborations); relevance of Alumni’s experience to the proposed collaboration activity; and benefit to the Alumni’s communities, organizations, service initiatives, professional or leadership development, or to the broader Fellowship Network.

Some examples of successful LINC collaborations include:
  • 2017 and 2018 Alumni from Cameroon lead workshops to teach women farmers new hydroponic farming techniques.
  • 2019 Gambian Alumna and 2016 Nigerian Alumnus organized a hybrid workshop to teach deaf women skills to promote financial self-reliance.
  • 2017 and 2016 Alumni from Burkina Faso facilitated community trainings on peace and conflict resolution.

Learn more about previous LINC Grant collaborations, including hybrid and virtual collaborations in 2021.

Please review the Application Guidelines for more information on eligibility and selection criteria.

Application Information

Application and Selection Timeline

  • Application Launch | January 19, 2022
  • Application Deadline | February 16, 2022
  • Notification of Award | April – May 2022
  • Grant Period | June 1 – November 30, 2022

To apply, Alumni are required to:

  1. Complete LINC Grant Eligibility Quiz (included in the LINC Grant Application Form) to confirm that your collaboration qualifies for a LINC Grant.
  2. Explore the Fellowship Directory to identify possible collaborators.
  3. Complete and submit the online application by 11:59 PM EST on February 16, 2022.

Application Materials

LINC Grant applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the Fellowship’s online platforms to identify and connect with prospective collaboration partners. More information and resources for finding LINC partners are available on the Fellowship Portal.

Questions? Email us at