The Leadership & Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program
The 2024-2025 application is available here, LAWA Application 2024-2025 updated, and due on Friday, January 19, 2024.
Thank you for your interest in the LAWA Program!
The Leadership & Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program
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 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. Fellows are also welcome to apply for a specialized LL.M. or certificate program.
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 complete an internship, but not every Fellow finds an appropriate internship placement or is selected by an organization to intern.
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. $5,000 benefit) and for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the Georgetown University Law Center (a U.S. $78,422 benefit). On-campus housing is provided for the first three weeks of the summer program (a U.S. $1,400 benefit). Students are also provided $2,000 towards the cost of health insurance and will be reimbursed up to $300 for required textbooks for each of the two semesters.
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 U.S. $31,200. Please refer to this sample budget. These costs are significantly less for those that can reside with family in the Washington, DC area. Candidates still must show at least $8,000 for living expenses. For the summer internship portion following graduation, 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 $20,000. The application can be found here https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/current-opportunities/international/. This application is due November 15. 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.
- 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 preference is given to candidates who:
a. are currently living and working in Africa, and
b. do not already have a Masters’ Degree.
- The strongest applicants tend to be about five to ten years out of law school, but those with less or more experience will be considered. Candidates with no work experience who are applying directly from an LL.B. degree or other law school will not be considered.
- All people who are committed to women’s rights are strongly encouraged to apply, regardless of gender identity.
- 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.
- You must have strong English language skills, both written and oral. Language problems have been the primary barrier to success for LAWA Fellows.
- 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.
- Candidates must be prepared to enter a very demanding course of study. LAWA Fellows take one required course and several more elective courses over the course of the two academic semesters. Each class requires advance preparation of reading hundreds of pages. 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 focus, and very hard work. Please do not apply if you are not prepared to make this serious academic commitment.
Please submit *ALL* of the following to apply. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered:
- Complete the Application Form, including all three essay questions.
- Current Resume or CV, indicating:
- 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;
- 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;
- titles of any published materials (articles, books, reports, etc.) or significant research papers;
- any special honors, awards, scholarships, or fellowships; and
- any memberships in organizations or community activities in which you have been involved, including any leadership roles.
- 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 or your duration of employment. Letters of recommendation may be emailed directly from the recommender, or can be scanned and sent as e-mail attachments along with the rest of your application materials.
- Transcript from the institution granting your law degree:
Please immediately arrange to have a hard copy your official, sealed law school transcript(s) sent to:
Jill C. Morrison
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue NW, Hotung 5000K
Washington, DC 20001
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 above. 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 have your transcript sent as soon as you are offered an interview.
If you applied in previous years, you do not need to re-send your transcript, but you must resubmit your revised application form, your updated resume, and updated recommendations.
Send your completed application via e-mail to [email protected] by Friday, January 19, 2024. There is no need to apply separately to Georgetown. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions. If you are unable to find the answers on our website, please email [email protected]. You must check your email regularly beginning February 1st, 2024, to see if you have been selected for an interview! If you are on travel, you MUST have someone check for you. If you do not respond, we will select another candidate to interview and you will relinquish this opportunity.