Leadership & Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program 2019/2020 -USA


The Leadership & Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program was founded in 1993 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, in order to train women’s human rights lawyers from Africa who are committed to returning home to their countries to advance the status of women and girls throughout their careers.

The entire LAWA Fellowship Program is approximately 14 months long – from July of the first year through late August of the following year. The LAWA Program starts in early July, when the Fellows attend the Georgetown Law Center’s Foundations of American Law and U.S. Legal English courses. From August through May, the LAWA Fellows earn a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at Georgetown with an emphasis on international women’s human rights and complete a major graduate thesis on a women’s rights issue. Fellows also participate in professional development seminars and networking events with recent U.S. law school graduates who are working in the field of women’s rights.

After graduation, the LAWA Fellows have the option to engage in challenging work assignments for several months at various public interest organizations to learn about different advocacy strategies to advance women’s human rights, before returning to their important women’s rights work in their home countries.

The LAWA Program helps defray the costs for candidates who would not otherwise be able to afford an LL.M. degree and additional professional development training. The LAWA Fellowship provides the tuition for the mandatory Foundations of American Law and Legal Education course held from mid-July to mid-August (a U.S. $2,000 benefit) and for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the Georgetown University Law Center (a U.S. $61,000 benefit).


Candidates who are awarded a LAWA Fellowship must be prepared to cover the costs of all additional expenses (such as visas, travel, housing, utilities, food, clothing, and health insurance, etc.).  Candidates must be able to demonstrate to the U.S. Embassy for visa purposes that they have the full amount of funds available to cover these expenses at the time of their visa application. This totals over U.S. $28,000. Please refer to this sample budget from the previous academic year. These costs are significantly less if you can affirm that you will reside with family in the Washington, DC area. Candidates still must show that you have at least $8,000 for living expenses, and cannot presume that they will be able to work during the academic year to cover these expenses. For the summer internship portion, students need to show $2,232 per month, for the 2 to 3 month internship period.

Candidates are encouraged to apply for individual funding, or seek support from their employers. The LAWA Program does not have the capacity to assist with these efforts. There is a fellowship available from AAUW in the amount of $18,000. The application can be found here http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/international-fellowships/if-application/. You are strongly encouraged to carefully read and comply with every requirement of the application, as incomplete or incorrect applications will not be considered. Please also note that AAUW requires you to submit a TOEFEL score.

1.You must be a women’s human rights lawyer from Africa in order to be considered. You must hold an LL.B. or other law degree. A very strong preference is given to candidates who:

  • are currently living and working in Africa, and
  • do not already have a Masters’ Degree.
  • The strongest applicants tend to be about five to ten years out of law school. Others with less or more experience may be considered and accepted into the LAWA Program. Candidates with no work experience who are applying directly from an LL.B. degree or other law school will not be considered.

2.Men and women who are committed to women’s rights are strongly encouraged to apply.

3.As a requirement of participation in the LAWA Program, all applicants must commit to return home to their own countries upon completion of the Fellowship, and to use their best professional efforts to advance women’s human rights throughout their careers.

4.You must have strong English language skills, both written and oral. Language problems have been the primary barrier to success for LAWA Fellows.

5.The LAWA Program requires candidates to become proficient in using computers for drafting papers and conducting research. Candidates are strongly encouraged to learn basic computer skills before arrival in order to make this transition easier. At the very minimum, candidates should work to improve their typing speed before starting the program.

Candidates must be prepared to enter a very demanding course of study. LAWA Fellows take four required courses and several more elective courses over the course of the two academic semesters. Fellows are required to produce a Masters’ Thesis totaling no fewer than 40 pages, including several drafts with intense research, writing and editing. Successful completion of the program requires exceptional commitment, focus, and very hard work

How to apply

1.Complete the Application Form, including all three essay questions.

2.Current Resume or CV, indicating:

  1. your employment history, including both paid and volunteer positions, including the name of your employer, location of your employment (city, country), dates of your employment (start and end dates), and description of your work for each position you have held;
  2. your education from high school to the present, including the name and location (city, country) of the institution, dates attended (including date of graduation), degree awarded, grade point average or your class rank and number of students, and your participation in any extracurricular activities;
  3. titles of any published materials (articles, books, reports, etc.) or significant research papers;
  4. any special honors, awards, scholarships, or fellowships; and
  5. any memberships in organizations or community activities in which you have been involved, including any leadership roles.

3.Two Letters of Recommendation (letters of reference) from persons who are well acquainted with you, your commitment to advancing women’s human rights in your country, your legal abilities, and your work. At least one reference should be a person who is willing to assist you in a professional manner upon your return to your country. Recommendations should make specific reference to your skills and knowledge. Please do not submit references that just attest to your good character.

4.Official Transcript from the institution granting your law degree: You will not be offered an interview if we do not receive your official law school transcript(s) at the time applications are review. Photocopies or emails directly from your institution are not sufficient. An original of your transcript must be mailed directly from your institution to the address below. We understand that this requires you to incur some expense, but it cannot be avoided. Please include an explanation of the grading and ranking system. Transcripts will not be returned to you. Each year well-qualified candidates are denied a place in the program because we have not received their official transcripts. Please make sure that you comply with this requirement and begin the process of having your transcript sent immediately. If you applied last year, you do not need to re-send your transcript, but you must resubmit your completed application form with your responses to questions 1-20, your updated resume, and updated recommendations.

Send your completed application via e-mail to morrisjc@georgetown.edu by Friday, January 18, 2019. Letters of recommendation may be scanned and sent as e-mail attachments (preferred), or may be mailed separately. Please use only one method – do not send multiple copies.

Jill Morrison

Georgetown University Law Center

600 New Jersey Ave, NW, Gewirz 315

Washington, DC 20001

E-mail:  morrisjc@georgetown.edu

There is no need to apply separately to Georgetown. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions.

You must check your email regularly beginning February 1st, 2019, to see if you have been selected for an interview! If you are on travel, you MUST have someone checking for you. If you do not respond, we will select another candidate to interview and you will relinquish this opportunity

For more information,please visit https://www.law.georgetown.edu/wlppfp/lawa-fellowship-program/


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