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Inviting future leaders

ICICI Foundation is inviting applications for a leadership programme for youth from the ages of 21 to 28, called ICICI Fellows programme. Launched in 2009, the programme allows socially minded youth to spend spend two years working on grassroots development projects with NGOs in rural India.

And yes, you get *paid* to do this.

Anupama Pain is a Mumbaikar – a B.E. in Computers from RAIT, to be precise. Last year this time, she was working as an ERP Consultant with a well known IT company. As an ICICI Fellow, she is now employed with Pune-based NGO Chaitanya, designing resource manuals, researching micro-finance products and documenting success stories of rural women.

Aakhir kyun? Theek hai, ek stipend milta hai. But it’s not for money, it’s for the experience of the ‘real India’ outside malls, multiplexes and a/c offices. And the way to look at is long-term.

“We are cultivating the next generation of leaders for all industries,” Says Subrata Mukherji, Co-President, ICICI Foundation. “We believe that the next fifty years of India’s development will be driven by growth and dynamism in rural India… our future leaders will be well served by first-hand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities found there.”

Great – so how do I apply!

There is a multi-stage selection process. After completing the online application you need to appear for an aptitude test. Those who clear that are invited for a one day assessment which tests leadership skills, commitment to the programme, ability to undergo the intensive modules and inclination towards nation-building.

Phew. Last year, 50 high achievers were selected from among 2000 applicants. So competition is stiff. The ICICI Fellows class of 2011-2013 will be announced in May 20

Their fellowship experience will begin in July 2011 with an intensive month-long training course. This residential training is designed to provide a comprehensive orientation focused on understanding rural contexts, technical skills, management skills, personality development and an exposure to industry leaders.

Following the training, the 50 ICICI Fellows designate will be placed with NGOs across the country, where they will work closely with experienced teams of senior professionals. This will be interspersed with formal management and leadership training.

And yes, Fellows designate will receive a monthly stipend and medical insurance over the course of the fellowship period. As well as costs for travelling. Post-fellowship support including career counselling, professional networking and tie-ups with organisations seeking leadership talent will also be provided.

The 18 individuals selected last year are currently working nationwide with host NGOs across India. These include Aajeevika Bureau (Rajasthan), Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (Gujarat), Gram Vikas (Orissa) and Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services (Tamil Nadu), among others.

The programme is being implemented by iVolunteer, a not-for-profit organisation (www.ivolunteer.in)

More details including the application, schedule of college visits and brief profiles of the individuals selected as last year’s fellows can be found at: http://www.icicifoundation.org/icicifellows

You can also email your queries to prerana.langa@icicifoundation.org

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