U-CAN Fellowship


The objective of the U-CAN Fellowship is to enable a sustained new pool of problem solvers to engage with urban stakeholders in driving solutions to urban challenges towards creating last-mile impact within communities. 

Only women candidates are encouraged to apply this year.

fellowship Key offerings


Access to mentorship, training workshops, and knowledge resources to enhance skills and understanding of issues in urban development, entrepreneurship, and community leadership.


Membership in a vibrant community of organisations, and urban experts, fostering collaboration, learning, and networking opportunities.


A committed one-year funding in the form of competitive stipend.

Archetypes of Fellows 

Civic Leader

Civic leaders are actively involved in their communities, participating in initiatives aimed at improving the lives of residents and promoting a more equitable and inclusive society. Civic leaders can assume a multitude of roles, from grassroots organisers, and educators, to nonprofit leaders. Effective civic leaders possess a combination of qualities including strong leadership qualities, a deep commitment to public service, and a passion for addressing community needs.

Mid-career Professional

A mid-career professional refers to an individual who has gained substantial experience ranging from 7 to 10 years in any sector. The professional will demonstrate an understanding of urban issues and community dynamics with their extensive experience.

Social Entrepreneur

Social entrepreneurs create value or generate a positive impact on society by offering solutions (services or products) to social challenges. Social entrepreneurs can bring about positive change in the larger community directly through their activities but also by involving marginalized individuals in their operations. Social entrepreneurs are important actors in social transformation, catalysing inclusive growth, empowering women, and creating social change.

Becoming a Fellow


1. Civic Leaders: The eligibility criteria for a civic leader include the following:

  • Proven leadership and track record in spearheading urban projects or community initiatives, showcasing tangible results.
  • Effective communication skills and the ability to engage and mobilize diverse stakeholders towards common urban goals.
  • Collaborative approach, with a history of successful partnerships and teamwork in urban development endeavors.
  • Strong problem-solving abilities, evidenced by the successful resolution of urban challenges.
  • Openness to learning and adopting new strategies for urban development.
  • Must not currently represent or engage in activities associated with any political party or ideologies promoting violence, totalitarianism, or discrimination.

2. Mid-Career Professionals: The eligibility criteria for a mid-career professional  include the following:

  • 7 to 10 years of experience in any field with an understanding of urban challenges and opportunities.
  • Proven track record of leading successful projects or initiatives that have made a tangible impact on communities.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills evidenced by the ability to effectively engage with diverse stakeholders, from community members to policymakers.
  • Genuine passion for urban development and civic engagement, with a vision for contributing to positive change in urban environments.
  • Willingness to collaborate with others and learn from different perspectives, fostering a culture of teamwork and cooperation.
  • Must not currently represent or engage in activities associated with any political party or ideologies promoting violence, totalitarianism, or discrimination.

3. Social Entrepreneurs: The eligibility criteria for a social entrepreneur include the following:

  • Founder or co-founder of a social enterprise directly tackling urban issues
  • The social enterprise can be at any stages of social innovation. Towards the completion of the fellowship, the enterprise to reach market adoption. 
  • Innovative solutions or business models specifically designed to address urban challenges, demonstrating feasibility and scalability.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and manage a social enterprise, including strategic planning, resource mobilization, and team management.
  • Clear plans and strategies for scaling the social enterprise to amplify its impact within urban contexts.
  • History of successful collaboration with stakeholders such as local governments, NGOs, or community groups to address urban issues collaboratively.
  • Strong commitment to community engagement and empowerment, with a focus on sustainable, inclusive urban development.
  • Must not currently represent or engage in activities associated with any political party or ideologies promoting violence, totalitarianism, or discrimination.

12 Months

1. Civic Leader (Full-Time)

  • Host organisation assigns a specific ongoing project/programmatic intervention or new initiative to the civic leader based on their expertise and the needs of the host organisation.
  • The civic leader collaborates with the host organisation to develop clear and measurable impact indicators for their project. These indicators reflect the intended outcomes and objectives of the project.

2. Mid-career Professional (Full-Time)

  • The mid-career professional is assigned to work on a specific programmatic intervention or strategic project led by the host organisation.
  • In addition to their assigned project, the mid-career professional actively contributes to the growth and development of the host organisation. This may include providing strategic input, sharing best practices, or supporting capacity-building efforts within the organisation.
  • The mid-career professional works with the host organisation to develop a comprehensive impact measurement framework for their programmatic intervention. This framework includes specific indicators to assess the program’s effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability.

3. Social Entrepreneur (Part-Time)

  • The social entrepreneur pursues their own social enterprise project aimed at addressing specific urban challenges.
  • While working on their project, the social entrepreneur receives support and mentorship from the host organisation and other stakeholders. They have regular touchpoints to discuss progress, challenges, and growth opportunities.
  • The social entrepreneur dedicates a minimum of 8 hours per week to their fellowship project, balancing their commitments with other responsibilities.
  • The social entrepreneur works with mentors and advisors to develop a set of impact metrics tailored to their social entrepreneurship project.

1. Civic Leader

Step 1: Nomination/Endorsement

  • Civic leaders are nominated or endorsed by host organizations based on their leadership experience and demonstrated impact.

Step 2: Application Submission

  • Nominees submit supporting materials demonstrating their work in the past 5 years, barriers faced, and successes achieved.

Step 3: Interview

  • Shortlisted candidates are invited for interviews with the Screening Committee.
  • Interviews focus on assessing the candidate’s leadership qualities, problem-solving abilities, and alignment with U-CAN principles of inclusivity, equity and citizen centricity. 

Step 4: Selection

  • Based on nominations, applications, and interviews, the Screening Committee selects civic leaders who demonstrate the greatest potential for creating last-mile impact in urban communities.

2. Mid-career Professional

Step 1: Online Application

  • Professionals with 7 to 10 years of experience submit applications through the U-CAN website.
  • Applicants upload a statement of purpose (300-500 words) detailing their motivation for applying to the fellowship.
  • Applicants also submit a response to one problem statement by the host organisation that they can identify with, and their approach to engaging with the problem statement.

Step 2: Supporting Documents:

  • Applicants are asked to provide supporting documents that demonstrate their qualifications and accomplishments that include the following: 
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV) detailing educational background, work experience, and professional achievements.
  • Letters of recommendation from colleagues, supervisors, or community partners who can attest to the applicant’s skills, character, and contributions (optional).
  • Certificates, awards, or other recognition received for exemplary work in the field (optional).
  • Any additional documents requested by the fellowship program, such as writing samples, project proposals, or proof of eligibility.

Step 3: Screening

  • The Screening Committee reviews applications, assessing the articulation of the problem, approach, and alignment with U-CAN’s Charter.

Step 4: Interview

  • Shortlisted candidates participate in interviews to discuss their experiences and their approach to the selected problem statement. 
  • Interviews aim to gauge the candidate’s passion, skills, and potential for making a meaningful impact.

Step 5: Notification of Results

  • Successful applicants receive detailed information about the next steps in the fellowship process, including onboarding, orientation, and expectations for participation.

3. Social Entrepreneur

Step 1: Online Application

  • Social entrepreneurs submit online applications detailing their social enterprise projects and outcomes achieved so far.
  • Applicants outline their proposed proof of concept project aimed at addressing a specific urban challenge.

Step 2: Review

  • The Screening Committee evaluates applications, focusing on the feasibility and impact potential of the proposed project.
  • Emphasis is placed on clear plans for scaling and demonstrated collaboration with stakeholders.

Step 3: Interview

  • Shortlisted candidates participate in interviews to discuss their projects, strategies, and potential for impact.
  • Interviews assess the applicant’s commitment, vision, and alignment with fellowship objectives.

Step 4: Selection

  • Successful social entrepreneurs are notified of their selection and receive mentorship support to develop their projects.

Stipend: Upto 1.20 lakh INR per month.

Mentorship and Support:

  1. Peer-to-peer mentorship opportunities within the cohort, U-CAN member organisations, U-CAN CEO, and alumni networks.
  2. Access to potential funding opportunities, grants, or investment networks by dint of the U-CAN Network.

Workshops and Training:

  1. Participation in workshops tailored to address specific skill gaps or areas of interest identified during the fellowship.
  2. Access to practical training sessions led by sector experts.

Professional Growth:

  1. Career advancements or job opportunities resulting from the enhanced skills, networks, and recognition gained through the fellowship.
  2. Potential roles within organisations depending on the discretion of the host organisations. 

Alumni Connections:

  1. Regular alumni meet-ups or networking events, facilitating virtual / face-to-face connections and collaboration opportunities.
  2. Access to an online repository or database that enables knowledge sharing.
  3. Mentorship program pairing recent fellows with experienced alumni mentors, providing personalised guidance and support in post-fellowship endeavours.

Citizen Engagement Fellowship

Apply now to
U-CAN Fellowship.

Application Closing Date
August 6, 2024

Apply now



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