IDFP FAQs

Catholic Relief Services’ International Development Fellows Program prepares dedicated global citizens to pursue a career in international relief & development work. CRS empowers Fellows to hone their skills and gain practical field experience while contributing to impactful work. Each Fellow works alongside experienced CRS staff to address critical issues facing developing countries today.

Please review the IDFP FAQ for more information. Click [+] to display each answer.

Application and Selection Process

The IDFP application will open in the Fall of 2022.

The cover letter is a required piece of the IDFP application. In your cover letter, please respond to the prompt below:

Share an example(s) of a time when you supported or promoted greater diversity, equity and/or inclusion in a previous job, volunteer position or academic setting.

You may include other information in your cover letter if desired, but it is not required. Your response should be no longer than 500 words. You may address the cover letter to the “IDFP Selection Committee.”

The number of Fellows hired varies from year to year, as it is subject to agency needs. Typically, CRS hires 12-15 Fellows a year.

The selection process is comprised of several steps and runs from November to February each year. The online application closes on November 1st. In November and December, strong candidates advance through the different steps of the selection process. This begins with a video interview and a foreign language test. In January, the top 2o candidates are invited to a live virtual interview. All steps in the selection process are completed virtually. CRS typically extends fellowship offers to successful candidates in February.

Yes. CRS covers the cost of language testing.

Yes. Individuals from all countries are eligible for this opportunity. Candidates do not need U.S. citizenship or work authorization. However, all successful candidates must be fluent in English (with strong oral and written communication skills) and proficient in any other language.

We accept graduate degrees in all fields that are relevant to international relief and development (e.g. international development, non-profit management, public health, agriculture, foreign service, social work). Degrees must be Master level or higher. We accept degrees from universities worldwide. Candidates may apply while they are completing their graduate degree, if the degree will be conferred by July of 2022.

Overseas Assignments and Travel

The CRS country programs that host Fellows change from year to year. We prioritize country programs that offer the best learning opportunities for the Fellows (strong supervision, work assignments that align with fellowship learning objectives, etc). We place Fellows in all regions where we work, with the greatest number of positions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many countries that have hosted Fellows in recent years are highlighted on the map shown under Engage in Impactful Work.

CRS’ top priority is staff safety. Fellows are not placed in high-security locations. CRS continuously monitors safety and has a standard protocol for heightened security levels. Fellows will be relocated to another country if the security level changes in their original location.

Yes. If desired, Fellows can travel to higher-level security settings to complete temporary duty assignments (TDYs) during the Fellowship. All CRS staff, including Fellows, must complete rigorous training on personal safety and security before travelling to higher-level security locations. Fellows often complete 3-6 week TDYs in emergency settings. These opportunities are not guaranteed or required, but highly recommended.

All Fellows travel to project sites in their country of assignment. These trips may range from a few days to a week or more in the field. The length and frequency of travel depend on the nature of the Fellow’s work. As a Fellow, you will spend most of your time working from the CRS office (usually located in the capital or another large city/town). Most Fellows complete one temporary duty assignment (TDY) during their Fellowship. TDYs are usually around 3-6 weeks and take place in another country. TDYs are determined based on agency need and the skills/interests of the Fellow.

While consideration is given to Fellow’s language skills and interests, CRS determines overseas assignments by matching Fellows with country programs that offer the best learning opportunity (strong supervision, work assignments that align with fellowship learning objectives, etc). Willingness to work in various regions and developing countries around the world is a requirement for the fellowship. If regional placement is of critical importance to you, we encourage you to consider other openings with CRS where the location is known.

CRS sees the fellowship as an opportunity to recruit individuals who can grow into senior management positions such as Head of Programming, Head of Operations, and Country Representative. With this objective, less focus is placed on developing sectoral expertise and more focus is placed on developing strong managerial skills. As a Fellow, you will support a variety of programs and in-so-doing gain basic knowledge of some programming areas. If working in a specific sector is of critical importance to you, we encourage you to consider other openings with CRS.

Under the supervision of a senior staff member, the Fellow will support programming and operations in the following areas:

Project Management

  • Support implementation of current projects (activity planning with CRS staff and partners, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) activities, etc.).
  • Support timely and accurate reporting and learning (write/edit reports in collaboration with CRS staff and partners, document lessons learned, etc.).
  • Support effective management of cash and in-kind resources (budget analysis, cash forecasting, financial reporting, commodity management, etc.).
  • Serve as acting project manager, as appropriate.

Project Design and Proposal Development

  • Support research & analysis to inform new project design (data collection/assessments, problem identification, stakeholder analysis, gender analysis, gap analysis, development of theory of change, results framework, etc.).
  • Work with CRS staff and partners to develop proposals (design workshops, technical and cost applications, packaging/editing, etc.).

Partnership and Capacity Sharing

  • Work for CRS partners by supporting activity planning & implementation, project design, proposal development, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning.
  • Support partnership strengthening and capacity sharing (partnership reflection workshops, learning events, etc.).

Operations

  • Support procurement by participating in bid analysis and vendor selection, contracting, receipt and warehousing of goods.
  • Support staff recruitment by drafting job descriptions, reviewing applications, participating in interview panels.
  • Support supply chain management by reviewing systems for delivery, storage and distribution of goods, assisting with inventory counts, data collection, analysis & verification.
  • Support strong financial management by analyzing budgets/spending, reviewing supporting documentation for financial transactions, etc.
  • Support risk management and compliance by reviewing internal controls, systems for fraud prevention, CRS & donor guidelines, etc.

Housing and Family

CRS provides basic furnished housing for each Fellow, which is usually an apartment or house near the CRS office or near the homes of other CRS staff. The Fellow’s house will have electricity, running water, internet, and security services (if necessary). CRS does not provide TV and cable subscriptions.

Yes. Fellows are placed in accompanied posts so that they can travel with their spouse and children.

Career

Yes. Although CRS does not guarantee onward employment, Fellows are competitive candidates for onward positions with the Agency. Fellows who perform well are invited to apply for openings and supported in finding a suitable position. Fellows who are open to a variety of positions, geographic locations and settings (emergency & development contexts) usually find onward positions with CRS.

There are many career paths within CRS. Many former Fellows are in managerial roles overseas (Program Managers, Heads of Programs, Country Representatives, Technical Advisors, etc). Please see the Prepare for Future Career Opportunities section for examples of positions and career paths that former Fellows have taken.

CRS carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.

A career with CRS often consists of many subsequent international postings. The duration of each position will vary. Many positions are in the 2-5 year range.

At CRS, you will find extensive learning resources and opportunities for professional development and career growth. With coaching from experienced supervisors, staff are empowered to develop career and learning goals. To support staff development, CRS provides a variety of learning resources from leading content providers, managerial and leadership courses, and tuition assistance for those pursuing advanced degrees. Staff can also learn through internal trainings and short-term assignments.

Other

The stipend is approximately $32,000 (paid in semi-monthly installments). Fellows pay their portion of health insurance premiums and contribute to housing like other CRS employees. Depending on the country assignment, Fellows may receive a cost-of-living allowance.

Deferment decisions are made at the discretion of lenders. CRS will provide documentation regarding participation in the program and the stipend amount. Fellows have received deferments in the past.

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