Global Advocate Program Frequently Asked Questions

ABOUT THE PROGRAM 

What is the Global Advocate Program?

The Global Advocate Program is a rigorous and immersive 9-month professional training program designed for results-oriented individuals with a passion for global impact. Global Advocates are carefully matched with CBOs and NGOs in one of nine countries, where they’ll support community-directed development initiatives. Advocates work on sustainable projects in the arenas of education, clean water, agriculture, micro-business and healthcare in communities across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Guatemala, Ecuador, India and the US.


What are the three phases of the program? What is the time commitment?

The time commitment for the program is 9 months, but only months 5-8 are spent living in your partner community.

  • Phase One (months 1-4): Fundraising, academic curriculum, project design, trip preparation (~20 hours per week)
  • Phase Two (months 5-8): In-country project execution, monitoring & evaluation (full-time position; 40+ hours per week)
  • Phase Three (month 9): Impact Reporting, mentorship, professional development (~5-10 hours per week)

How much time would I spend in the field?

Each Advocate spends between 3 and 4 months in the field, depending on how quickly they achieve their fundraising goal,the needs of the partner community, and the visa requirements of the host country.


Where are the placements and who decides where I will go?

Applicants may indicate which countries they are interested in working in, as well as their specific areas of interests on their application and in their interviews. Based on this information and a needs assessment done with Mama Hope’s CBO and NGO partners, Global Advocates are carefully matched with a community in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, India, Guatemala, Ecuador, or the US.

Take a look here for more information about our current placements.

How does MAMA HOPE find its partners?

Mama Hope finds our partners in a variety of ways. Many of our partnerships have been formed through word of mouth and referrals from our current partners. We conduct a sustainability assessment with each partnership opportunity in order to ensure the collaborative efforts are aligned in the principles of sustainability and Mama Hope’s values. All Global Advocate placement sites have been vetted by Mama Hope staff to ensure that the projects are locally led, safe, and that the presence of an Advocate will add value.


Can the organization I work for / volunteer for / founded be involved? How can my organization get involved?

Mama Hope firmly believes in the power of collaboration between like-minded organizations. Global Advocates are placed with partners that have already been established through Mama Hope’s partnership process. Please contact us to learn more about our new partnership assessment process and to start a conversation about how we might collaborate under the Global Advocate Program.

How does the curriculum work and what would I learn?

All training is done virtually from wherever a Global Advocate lives during the First and Third Phases of the program. The curriculum is structured around reading, reflection, and discussion.

Each week during the First Phase, Mama Hope staff send the cohort a reading and reflection assignment organized around topics ranging from the History of International Development to Servant Leadership or Asset-Based Community Development. The following week, the cohort and staff get on a group video call for discussion of the topic and readings.

In the Third Phase, Advocates are led through another virtual curriculum with a focus on reflecting on their experience and where they want to go next professionally or academically. Advocates revisit modules from the first phase as a way to synthesize their entire experience into an impact report.

How many other Global Advocates will be in my cohort? Will any of them have the same placement as me?

Due to Mama Hope’s holistic approach, there is not one set size for each cohort, but the average size is 8 people. We keep the cohorts small so we can maintain the quality of the program by offering our Advocates personalized one-on-one staff and alumni mentorship.

Just like cohort sizes, placements vary with each class. It is possible that Advocates will be placed within the same partner site or within the same geographical location. Class sizes and placements are determined by the priorities of each of our partners at the inception of each new class.

What happens after I finish the program?

The Mama Hope staff helps prepare Advocates to take the next steps in their professional development, whether that’s job searching, applying for graduate school or starting their own organization or company. Many advocates graduate to careers in public and nonprofit environments, where they continue to bring awareness to transformative approaches to social justice.

Upon completion of the Global Advocate Program, Advocates have access to the Global Advocate Alumni Network. This network is a community of graduated fellows that shares a wide range of professional resources and experiences with fellow alumni. Find out what some of our alumni have gone on to do after completing the program by clicking here.

What is the fundraising requirement?

Each Global Advocate is required to individually raise $20,000 for a community-identified, sustainable project. 100% of the money raised will go directly to the community.

Do you provide Global Advocates with fundraising support?

The Global Advocate Program kicks off with a 5-day, in-person orientation. The majority of this orientation is spent training Advocates in fundraising and getting them ready to launch their fundraising campaigns. Following orientation, Advocates will have a fundraising call each week throughout Phase 1 of the program. Calls alternate between one-on-one mentoring calls and group fundraising calls with the rest of your cohort. Each call will focus on different fundraising strategies (ie. corporate sponsorships, crowdfunding, grant-writing, event planning, marketing & communications, etc.).

Additionally, Global Advocates are paired with an Advocate that recently completed the program. Mentors serve as another resource to assist Global Advocates with fundraising and preparing for their trip.

What happens if I don’t raise the $20,000 fundraising commitment?

Our fundraising curriculum and program structure is designed to ensure that all of our Advocates hit their fundraising goals. Global Advocates commit to raising at least $15,000 of their $20,000 goal in the first 4 months of the program, before leaving for their field placements. This ensures that they are able to make the most of their time in country, and makes it easier to wrap up the final $5,000 of fundraising via online crowdfunding and grant writing. If an Advocate is not on track to hit these goals, Mama Hope staff will evaluate the Advocate’s participation within the program and work with their community partner to determine if the Advocate should still be sent to their field placement, and if so, for how long.

 

COSTS

What are the costs involved with enrolling in the Global Advocate Program?

Phase 1 & 3
Advocates are responsible for covering their travel expenses getting to/from the 5-day orientation training that kicks off the program (this is typically in the United States and will be listed on our website here). Mama Hope pays for all food and lodging during that time. During Phases 1 and 3,  Advocates have to cover their own living expenses and are responsible for covering the cost of immunizations and travel insurance. There are no costs associated with completing curriculum in Phase 1 or Phase 3.

Phase 2
Because 100% of all Advocate fundraising goes directly into our partner’s projects on the ground, Mama Hope covers Advocate’s airfare, accommodations, and visas to their host country during Phase 2.

Will I receive a stipend?

Yes, you will receive a restricted stipend during Phase 2 when you are working and living in your partner community. This stipend goes towards living and working expenses. Advocates are responsible for all personal travel, souvenirs, gifts, and other non-work or living related costs.

 

FELLOWSHIP ELIGIBILITY

Can I work or attend school during the program?

Yes you can work! A majority of our past Advocates have held full or part-time jobs during the training portion of the fellowship. While this does require excellent time management, it is totally possible to do both. The Mama Hope staff is sensitive to the fact that everyone has different financial and professional obligations, so we work with Advocates to make sure they are able to fulfill all of their responsibilities.

We look at school commitments on a case by case basis to determine if the Advocate will have enough time and energy for both school and the program. We do require that undergraduate students graduate before starting the program.

Do I have to have a bachelor’s degree?

Nope! However, to become a Global Advocate, we ask that you have at least a Bachelor’s degree or proven equivalent experience. We value the knowledge and insight that comes from both “real world” experiences in the workplace and the more theoretical university education. We welcome people of all abilities and backgrounds and believe everyone has something unique to contribute to building a more abundant future.

Do I need to speak a second language?

With the exception of our placements in Guatemala, Nicaragua & Ecuador, where we require Global Advocates to be fluent in Spanish, there are no language requirements to enroll in the Global Advocate Program. We do require that Advocates working in Kenya or Tanzania participate in beginners level Kiswahili lessons before they depart for their field placements. We also connect Advocates to language tutors during their in country field experience and fund their lessons.

What is the demographic of Global Advocate(s) / fellows?

Past and current Global Advocates have ranged in age from 21-40 and have come from all over the world. While some participants have just completed their undergraduate degrees, others have completed higher degrees, or are in a professional transition period.

Take a look at our website to meet some of our current Global Advocates.

 

HEALTH, SECURITY, & LOGISTICS

Where will I live while enrolled in the fellowship?

During the First and Third Phases, you will live wherever is most convenient for you, as long as there is a reliable internet connection. During these Phases, we encourage Global Advocates to live where they have a supportive community and network, both for fundraising and emotional support. It can be quite hard to throw fundraising events or use connections in a town that you just moved to!

During the Second Phase, you will live and work with the partner community we have placed you with. The living situations vary from homestays to communal apartments, based on the community, but all are comfortable and welcoming.

I have concerns about my security/health while traveling abroad. How will Mama Hope help?

Global Advocate safety is Mama Hope’s top priority. In collaboration with our partners on the ground, Mama Hope has created comprehensive Emergency Action Plans for each placement. These include all relevant emergency contact information and detailed procedures for any medical, political, or environmental emergencies that may arise. We require that all Advocates purchase travel insurance and have up to date vaccinations. At many of our placements, we also require that Advocate’s take antimalarial medication. Details regarding medical facilities at your placement are included in the Emergency Action Plan.

If you have any dietary restrictions, we ask that you inform Mama Hope staff as soon as possible, so that we can ensure that our partners will be able to accommodate you.

Does Mama Hope sponsor visas?

Global Advocates can participate in the program from anywhere in the world, so US visa sponsorship is not required for individuals from outside the country. Global Advocates are required to attend the 5-day, US-based orientation at the beginning of the program. Advocates that come from a country not covered under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are responsible for covering any visa costs required to attend the orientation. However, Mama Hope does cover the visa costs associated with the in-country phase of the program.

Will I qualify for loan deferment or forbearance while participating in the Global Advocate Program?

At this time, Mama Hope does not have the capacity to support loan deferment or forbearance. However, the flexibility of the Global Advocate Program allows participants to hold full-time or part-time positions while completing Phase 1 and Phase 3 of the program. During Phase 2 of the program, Global Advocates receive a restricted stipend to cover all living and working expenses.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

What is the application process?

Due to the demands of the program, we highly encourage interested individuals to read through all program and recruiting information thoroughly to see if the Global Advocate Program is a right fit before applying to the program. We also encourage applicants to attend one of our regularly scheduled webinars for a deeper look into the program. Email kyla@mamahope.org for more information.

Before the application opens, Mama Hope works closely with our partners on the ground to determine which projects priorities could best be filled by a Global Advocate. Applications are then opened for 6-weeks before the deadline. Applications can be submitted at anytime during that window and will be reviewed as soon as all documents are submitted (application, resume, transcripts and letter of recommendation).

Once applications are reviewed, applicants will be offered two interviews. The Mama Hope staff will then direct all applications, resumes and interview notes to our partners on the ground to ensure the Advocate will be a great fit for their organization. Decisions will not be made without completed reference checks. Applicants are informed of their status at least two weeks prior to the start of the program. We ask that all accepted applicants confirm their acceptance into the program within 5 days of Mama Hope’s decision so we can plan the next steps accordingly.

Once your acceptance is confirmed, you will be required to complete and pass a background check. We require this in order to protect the vulnerable populations you may be working with as a Global Advocate.

How can I contact current or recently returned Global Advocates to ask them about their experiences?

To learn more about the Global Advocate Program from a current or recently returned Advocate, email kyla@mamahope.org. She will put you in touch with someone who lives in your area or who has similar areas of interests within the program.

Do I need references?

Yes! We require that applicants list two references and submit a letter of recommendation from an academic, volunteer, or professional contact with their application. Please remind your references that a Mama Hope staff member will follow-up for more information following your final interview.

When do I find out if I’m selected?

Applicants are informed of their status at least two weeks prior to the start of the program. The Mama Hope staff move the decision along as quickly as possible with the help of our partners on the ground and the applicant’s references.

More Questions?

Please contact Global Advocate Program Coordinator Kyla Rathjen at kyla@mamahope.org.