Community Solutions Program (CSP)

About the Community Solutions Program (CSP)

The Community Solutions Program (CSP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and implemented by IREX, provides community leaders from around the world with an intensive professional development exchange program in the United States from August to December 2022. CSP fellows gain valuable experience in community work and strengthen their capacity for leadership and development in their home countries.

Applications for the 2022 cycle are open from September 15, 2021, to October 28, 2021.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must fulfill all the following requirements:
  • Be a Guatemalan citizen living and working in Guatemala. (Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration.)
  • Be between the ages of 25 and 38 as of January 1, 2021.
  • Have at least two (2) years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee, or as a volunteer.
  • Have a high level of proficiency in both spoken and written English. This will be tested:  Semifinalists will be required to take or submit recent TOEFL scores.
  • Be available to travel for four (4) months to the United States from August to December 2022.
  • Be eligible for a J-1 visa.

Please Note:  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Current Mission and IREX employees are ineligible.

How to Apply

All candidates who meet the eligibility criteria may submit their applications at this link: https://www.irex.org/program/community-solutions-program-application-information. 

Program activities

Four-month U.S.-based fellowship: CSP fellows are matched with non-profit organizations, private entities, or government offices across the United States, where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives relevant to issues they face in their own communities. CSP leaders work in one of four technical areas: Environmental Issues, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution, Transparency and Accountability, and Women and Gender Issues. For example: A gender-rights activist from Vietnam focused on reducing human trafficking works with YWCA on human trafficking in Houston, Texas.

Community Leadership Institute: The Community Leadership Institute (CLI) is a leadership academy that provides customized learning and coaching to each CSP leader. The CLI uses a blended-learning approach, where leaders participate in online sessions and in-person workshops, receive professional coaching, engage in experiential learning, and interact with other professionals in their field.

Community-based initiatives: CSP fellows develop innovative community action projects in collaboration with their U.S. host institutions and implement these projects after they return to their home countries in order to integrate their new skills and knowledge into their community work at home. Project summaries are made available online, allowing fellows to share their work with other community leaders around the world.

International network of community development professionals: CSP fellows continue to network and collaborate with likeminded leaders from around the world on global development issues through alumni activities and opportunities offered through the Community Leadership Institute online platform.

Timeline

  • September 15, 2021 – October 27, 2021: Call for Applications is open.
  • Early November 2021: Interviews take place virtually. Note: Applicants who have not received an email with an invitation to an interview by December 1, 2021, will no longer continue in the application process.
  • February 2022: Finalists and alternates are confirmed.
  • April 2022: Fellows take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
  • August 2022*: Fellows travel to the United States.
  • December 2022*: Fellows return to Guatemala.

*Dates subject to change

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I don’t have a visa.  Can I apply?

Yes. Having a visa is not required to apply. Candidates should be eligible for a J-1 visa.

What expenses do scholarships cover?
A CSP scholarship covers the following:

  • Cost of the TOEFL exam.
  • Cost of the visa application fee.
  • One (1) round-trip ticket from Guatemala to the United States.
  • A monthly allowance for food, transportation, and housing expenses.
    *Fellows are responsible for seeking their own housing.
  • Coverage of enrollment in the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE).

For more information about the program and application details, visit: www.irex.org/csp

Can a relative travel or stay with the CSP fellow?

No. Relatives of participants cannot travel or stay with the participants during the program.