- Is the Fellowship available for individuals with no prior work experience?
We strongly suggest recent-graduates to gain at least 2-3 years’ of full time work experience in the social/education sector before setting up their own NGOs, as it will help them in building personal capacities, forging networks as well as clarifying their long-term interest. However, if someone with limited formal work experience but a degree in Education, is part of a team that consists of much more experienced co-founders, such applications may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Is the Fellowship available only for individuals with degrees in Education?
No- while a degree in Education is helpful, we don’t think it is essential for someone to have a formal degree in Education to be an effective (co-) founder of an educational organization. Sustained interest and commitment, however, are crucial; and applicants with education background in other domains must have at least 2-3 years of prior engagement/experience in the education space.
- Do all founders have to be from the same background i.e. say from the same University or Fellowship?
A balanced team is critical for the growth and sustenance of any organization; however the backgrounds of the founders need not necessarily be the same. As an example – a team of 3 founders could comprise a person who worked with IT companies for 3 years and has just completed a 2 year fellowship with TFI; a person who has a Masters in Social Work from TISS and was then a PMRDF with a special interest /initiative in school education; and another person who has a Masters from Azim Premji University in Education and has taught in an alternate school for 3 years. However, in such cases, it will be important to explain / highlight what has brought and keeps the team together.
- What is the deadline for applying to the Seeding Programme?
Please look at the ‘Select’ section in the About page. It has the details of the selection process as well as the time-lines for different stages.
- Would reapplying be allowed?
Yes – provided you have made significant changes in your plans. If you are re-applying, you would be required to submit an additional document detailing out what you have learned, experienced or achieved in the interim and how your application and plan is different from what you had submitted the last time.
- Can the Seeding Fellowship be extended beyond 3 years?
The fellows supported through the seeding programme are expected to have set up a relatively stable organization by the end of 3 the years of Fellowship period, which could attract organizational or project based funding from other sources. Hence, we would generally not support Seeding Fellowship beyond 3 years except in rare cased with very strong justifications. If the organization has become stable, however, you could apply for project or organization-level grants to Wipro (as well as other organizations).
- Can I continue to get the stipend if I have stopped working for my seeded organization or work for it only part time?
The stipend is for working full-time and in a dedicated manner to set up and develop your organization. If you decide not to work for it in the above-said manner, you must inform Wipro immediately so that your case is reviewed and an appropriate decision taken based on the specifics of the case. Failure to do so would be treated as a breach of trust and may attract penalty.
- I co-founded an organization a year back but that initiative doesn’t seem to be working out. Can I found another organization alone or with other co-founders?
Setting up a stable organization entails facing serious upheavals – many of which prove to be temporary in the long run; and we thus expect you to have the resilience to achieve what you had set out to do, despite them. However, if you are determined that you wish to stop working for the organization that you had agreed to set-up during the selection stage; you must inform us immediately about your decision. If we feel your interest/request is sufficiently justified, in exceptional cases we may continue the Fellowship and support you in setting up another organization based on your interest.
- Can I temporarily halt my Fellowship and stipend if I am temporarily unable to work for my seeded organization?
This may be allowed in rare cases when the work is halted for a short period of time (not exceeding few months) and the co-founders are reasonably sure of the Fellow resuming his previous role after the short gap. You are required to inform us well in advance so that we can have a detailed discussion with you and come to an appropriate decision.
- Are work hours specified under the Seeding Fellowship?
As a thumb-rule the Fellows would be expected to put in not less than 40 hours/week on average for the seeded organization’s work. And not take annual leave from work for more than 22 working-days and sick-leave for more than 5 days, in a year. We however trust the Fellows to have the commitment to work in the best interest of the organization and the people it wishes to serve, and hence do not mandate strict work-timings etc.
- Will I continued to be paid the Fellowship Stipend if I can’t work for medical reasons?
If you plan to take more than 30 days off in a year from your work on setting up the organization; you should inform us and discuss it with us immediately.
- Can I supplement my fellowship through personal income from other sources?
The fellowship is meant to provide you with personal financial flexibility, to enable you to work full-time and in a dedicated & focused manner, to the cause and task of setting up an effective civil society organization. We thus expect you to be ‘immersed’ in this task for the 3 years. For a (co) founder to expect to do this effectively in a part time manner, we feel, is unrealistic. Accepting finances from other sources for personal remuneration would generally mean taking out time and effort for something which may not align with the best interest of the organization you are setting up and hence will not generally be allowed. Do note however that we encourage you to raise funds for the organization.
So, in sum, while you are free to raise funds for the organization you have set up, to help it meet its objectives and plans; you must not take up any paid job which may reduce your attention and effort from the primary task of setting and developing your organization as an independent entity contributing meaningfully to systemic issues in school education.
- Can I raise funds for my organization from other sources?
Yes, you are encouraged to raise funds from other sources for your organization, provided such funding does not significantly change your original plans that you have shared with us. If you are in doubt, please contact us.
- Is the fellowship amount taxable?
Yes, all appropriate govt. taxes will apply.
- What if I or my organization does not meet the targets?
We understand the difficulties in improving school education at the systemic level and the periodic reviews will take this into account fully. If however, we notice a lack of sincere commitment and effort, we may terminate the support of all kinds.
- How will my and the organization’s work be reviewed?
We have informal reviews once every quarter – this could be through a visit, phone calls or other means. There will be a detailed formal review once every year.