Asia & Africa Advocacy Fellowship Program on Drug Policy Reform

The Global Drug Policy Program and Release are proud to invite applications to the 2016 Asia & Africa Advocacy Fellowship Program on Drug Policy Reform. Fellows will be hosted by and at Release in London, the UK’s center of expertise on drugs and drugs law. This program supports those working in sectors related to drug policy in order to increase their understanding of international drug policy reform issues, improve their advocacy skills, and enhance their capacity in working with the media on drug policy. The fellowship seeks to increase the capacity of emerging and new leaders in drug policy reform, including people not necessarily working full-time on drug-related issues. 

The objectives of the fellowship include the following:

  • increase their knowledge of global drug policy reform issues on a region-by-region approach
  • increase their understanding of the international drug control system and conflicts with other United Nations priorities
  • have a greater awareness of the drug policy reform landscape and key figures within that movement
  • establish links with those working in drug policy, particularly in the UK
  • build and develop their communications skills, including for media interviews, press releases, press databases, public speaking
  • have an understanding of the tools for debate, so that they can confidently challenge anti-reform positions
  • improve their confidence as drug policy advocates both through participation in the program and through ongoing support from the host organization
Eligibility Criteria

Successful candidates will have a track-record of public engagement in the issues of drug policy reform or another relevant field (e.g., public health) at the local, national, or international levels.

Applications are welcome from those working across numerous fields related to drug policy. Previous fellows have worked in drug policy NGOs, at law enforcement agencies, in national governments, in health care facilities, and at universities, among other organizations. Please note that before receiving the fellowship, finalists will be asked to present a letter from their employer agreeing to their two-week participation in the course.

The purpose of this program is to promote the capacities of both new advocates and individuals who are emerging leaders in drug policy reform. Starting in 2016, employees of organizations currently receiving support from the Open Society Foundations are eligible to apply for the fellowship.

Asia Program Eligible Countries

Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia

East Asia: Japan

Dates: June 19–July 1, 2016

Africa Program Eligible Countries

West Africa: Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria

East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

South Africa

Dates: September 25–October 7, 2016

Purpose and Priorities

The two-week program includes the following topics:

  • global overview of drug policy reform
  • overarching issues relevant to drug policy reform
  • international drug control system
  • overview of international human rights in the context of drug policy
  • drug policy developments in Africa
  • effective campaigning
  • media and public engagement

There will also be an opportunity to meet key drug policy organizations, experts, and leading policy advocates based in the UK.


To be considered for the program, applicants should submit the following documents in English as .doc or .pdf attachments, together in one email by April 25, 2016, to: [email protected].

  1. Application: Download and complete the application form. Note that the applicant is asked to address all prompts, including providing short-answer responses to four questions.
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV): The CV should specify the applicant’s academic and professional background, including a detailed description of previous employment, a list of academic and policy projects in which the applicant has been involved, public engagement record, and honors (including scholarships and fellowships).
  3. Writing sample (optional): The sample must be in English and should demonstrate the candidate’s expertise in a field related to drug policy. The writing sample should not exceed two pages.