East and West African Advocacy Fellowship Program on Drug Policy Reform

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:  12 May 2017

 

ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP

Release, the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs and drug law, is calling for applications to the 2017 East and West African Advocacy Fellowship Program on Drug Policy Reform. This program supports those working in sectors related to drug policy in order to increase their understanding of international drug policy reform issues, to improve their advocacy skills, and to enhance their capacity in working with the media on drug policy. The fellowship seeks to increase the capacity of emerging and new leaders in drug policy reform in the regions of East and West Africa, including people not necessarily working full-time on drug-related issues. 

 

FELLOWSHIP OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the fellowship are for the participants to:

  • increase their knowledge of global drug policy reform issues on a region by region approach;
  • increase their understanding of the international drug control system and conflicts with other United Nations priorities;
  • have a greater awareness of the drug policy reform landscape and key figures within that movement;
  • establish links with those working in drug policy, particularly in the UK;
  • build and develop their communications skills, including for media interviews, press releases, press databases, public speaking;
  • have an understanding of the tools for debate, so that they can confidently challenge anti-reform positions;
  • improve their confidence as drug policy advocates both through participation in the program and through ongoing support from the host organization. 

 

FELLOWSHIP AGENDA

This two-week program will be based with the drug policy organization Release in London, United Kingdom. Release is the UK center of expertise on drugs and drugs law – providing free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals. Release also aims to raise awareness of how UK and international drug policy affects those who use drugs in our society. Release has had significant success in both service delivery and campaign work. In particular, the organization has been very effective in engaging traditional and social media as a forum to promote drug policy reform within the UK and further afield.

The program includes the following topics:

  • Global overview of drug policy reform
  • Overarching issues relevant to drug policy reform
  • The international drug control system
  • Overview of international human rights in the context of drug policy
  • Drug policy developments in Africa
  • Effective campaigning
  • Media and public engagement

There will also be an opportunity to meet key drug policy organizations, experts, and leading policy advocates based in the UK.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Successful candidates will have a track-record of public engagement in human rights, law, or relevant government experience. Ideally their work should intersect with the issue of drug policy and/or human rights. Priority will be given to these applicants. However, we also welcome applications from those working in drug policy reform or another relevant field (e.g., public health) at the local, national or international levels.

Previous fellows have worked in drug policy NGOs, at law enforcement agencies, in national governments, in health care facilities, and at universities, among other organizations. Please note that before receiving the fellowship, finalists will be asked to present a letter from their employer agreeing to their two-week participation in the course.

Applicants must have a strong command of the English language to participate in the course.

 

HOW TO APPLY?

To be considered for the program, applicants should submit the following documents in English as .doc or .pdf attachments, together to one email by 12 May 2017 to fellowship@release.org.uk

  1. Application – Please see the application form attached. Note that the applicant is asked to address all prompts, including providing short-answer responses to four questions.
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV) – The CV should specify the applicant’s academic and professional background, including a detailed description of previous employment, a list of academic and policy projects in which the applicant has been involved, public engagement record, and honors (including scholarships and fellowships).
  3. Writing sample (optional) – The sample must be in English and should demonstrate the candidate’s expertise in a field related to drug policy. The writing sample should not exceed two pages.

 

FELLOWSHIP TERMS

The Advocacy Fellowship program provides funding to a maximum of four people to attend the two-week training program on drug policy reform at Release in London. The placement decision will be made by the program selection committee comprised of regional experts and representatives from Release.

Participation in the fellowship is contingent upon acquiring a letter of support from the finalist’s employer and proper immigration and travel authorizations.

The Fellowship is designed to expose participants to international networks of global drug policy and to connect them with various advocates at the host organization, in their home country or region, and globally. Participants are expected to take skills gained during the fellowship back to their home country, further promoting drug policy reform through various projects and initiatives in their home contexts. The program is designed so that the connections and international networks will serve as a resource and support for the fellow both during and following their fellowship experience.

 

TIMELINE

Applications open: 06 April 2017

Application due date: 12 May 2017

Selection: Successful applicants will receive a response by 25 May 2017

Course: Two-week program in London will take place between 15 October 2017 and 27 October 2017

 

Release

Release is the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs and drug laws, providing free and confidential legal and drug services to people who use drugs and/or those caught up in the criminal justice system. The organisation campaigns for evidence-based drugs policies and for reform of the UK’s current drug policy, with a specific call for the end of criminal sanctions for possession offences. Release has Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

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