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Thank you for your interest in FutureFellows 2022. We are no longer accepting applications for the program this year.

Solferino FutureFellows Programme 2022

An innovative professional development program for emerging leaders of the network of the IFRC  


The IFRC Solferino Academy exists to help the RCRC network transform to be fit for the challenges of the future. The Academy works through a variety of methods to promote, showcase and instigate new ways of working across the network. We believe that individuals at all levels can be leaders in the necessary evolution of our organisation. This fellowship opportunity focuses specifically on emerging leaders in the RCRC network.


Overall: support the transformation of the RCRC network as described in Strategy 2030 through equipping high potential leaders with the skills and resources to drive change and innovation in their National Societies. We know the challenges on this road will be complex, and the purpose of this fellowship is to identify and support rising stars in National Societies that bring a holistic and value-driven mindset and combine it with the most effective ways to get things done. Ultimately we see strong emerging leaders as the cornerstones of a distributed network, which is one of the main components of Strategy 2030.

The fellowship programme therefore, is both aimed at helping rising stars in the RCRC network to develop their transformation capabilities as well as support the organisation as a whole to evolve as is envisioned in Strategy 2030.

In previous efforts to support individuals to lead transformations from the inside, we learned that leverage in their respective NS to see through the testing of the ideas is critical. This requires an active support role from the National Societies, as well as a willingness to work with the outputs and outcomes generated by the fellowships.

The IFRC Solferino Academy is also separately, developing a senior leadership development track, and we will create alignment between the networks of emergent and senior leaders. The RCRC will also offer various other leadership programmes in all IFRC languages across the network.

What’s in it for everyone?

Fellows: Fellows will be offered an inclusive, supported safe space in which they can co develop and test solutions to problems alongside their peers in the RCRC network. In addition, the fellowship offers a coaching scheme, access to evolving transformation practice from outside the RCRC network, and an opportunity to engage in international challenges and projects and to learn about innovative approaches being utilised. A Solferino Accreditation is presented upon satisfactory completion of the programme. We also expect that fellows will be able to raise their profile as a result of participation in the programme, both within their National Society and in the wider RCRC network.

National Societies: National Societies will be able to offer high quality/low cost professional development to their staff or volunteers who are high potential emerging leaders, and will get access to new ideas and solutions that they have developed through the fellowship. Also we think NSs will be able to benefit from the horizontal connections between NSs that are facilitated through the fellowship.

The IFRC Solferino Academy: The IFRC Solferino Academy will be able to work with a diverse group of future leaders of the organisation on the most complex challenges, to get more insights to the evolution of amazing leaders of the future, and to foster horizontal connections between rising stars in the RCRC network. As a young and ambitious initiative, the IFRC Solferino Academy will be able to prove its worth to a global network of changemakers.

Application criteria

Please consider applying when you are:

  • Fascinated by how humans and systems can transform
  • Interested in applying innovative thinking and approaches to persistent challenges
  • Passionate about addressing humanitarian challenges and social injustices
  • Ambitious about the future of the RCRC and your leadership role in it
  • Open to being challenged and collaborating with diverse opinions
  • A basic working knowledge of English (other courses in multiple languages will become available soon across the RCRC network)
  • Commitment to social justice and inclusive, intersectional and anti-racist approaches to humanitarian & development work
  • A staff member or volunteer connected to one of the 192 National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies
  • Prepared to spend an average of 8-12 hours/month of remote work between May and November 2022, and possibly a face-to-face workshop in September 2022 (COVID-allowing)
  • Have full support from your NS for your application to and participation in FutureFellows (a support letter is required for your application to be considered)

We actively encourage applications from people with marginalised identities.

In our selection we will aim to create a diverse group of FutureFellows that is spread globally across our various National Societies


The FutureFellows programme is formed around five main components as explained below. The fellows will work together on monthly challenges in smaller teams. Solferino Academy will focus on supporting these teams as a whole to thrive through the programme together.

Collective intelligence
Bringing together the various and diverse perspectives from the fellows on your experiences and insights on problems ranging from very local to very global.

Designing and offering a testing ground where fellows can design, prototype and get feedback on transformations.

(Collective) investment
Offering and finding ways to put seed investment and other resources behind promising prototypes

Learning & storytelling
Rethinking ways in which we tell stories about what we’re learning about the present and the future, as a way to mobilise support and change.

Creating a pool of coaches with experience in both personal and professional transformation journeys, as guides for the fellows to build on. Coaches will come from both inside and outside the RCRC.

The learning journey puts fellows in the driving seat to design and test practical solutions to social problems. Throughout the programme they will shift their focus from their individual and team sphere of influence, to organisational and network transformation. The curriculum retains the flexibility to adapt to evolving context, and enables the participants to choose the problems they want to work on.

The programme will have a heavy focus on testing and getting feedback from potential users of the work of the fellows, whether they are neighbours, colleagues or (global) communities. This responds to the S2030 call for working in greater accountability to our communities’ feedback and needs.

Fellows will be organised into small teams that remain in place for the duration of the programme. Teams will become the direct support and challenge circle of the fellows. Each team will be accompanied on their journey by two coaches, who will act as ‘critical friends’ to help the teams and their fellows to realise their highest potential.

In addition, the programme will host a variety of expert speakers that have all gone through personal and professional transformation journeys, from within and outside the organisation, and across public and private sectors. The speakers will share their reflections on the 7 transformations, and offer insights on their experiences with driving change in some of those areas.

Solferino Academy will set up a virtual collaboration platform where the fellows and coaches can work together, share insights and resources in between the plenary parts of the course.

Cost of participation

We estimate that the price for the fellowship will normally be around €2,500, but this year the IFRC Solferino Academy will offer scholarships to all participants regardless of your National Society status. In addition to the time you will spend in the fellowship, we will therefore also be seeking your feedback to help us improve the content and form of the programme.

Please note that any travel costs incurred for this fellowship are not automatically covered by the IFRC Solferino Academy. For participants from less resourced National Societies we will be able to offer financial assistance for these costs.


We think that mobilising investment (financial, political, human capital) for new ideas is an important part of realising transformation. Therefore we encourage National Societies to consider the support they can donate to this fellowship.

We especially encourage financial contributions to the fellowship’s financial investment pot. From here, FutureFellows can support the launch of prototypes developed through the programme. The IFRC Solferino Academy will match the incoming investment to the benefit of the Fellowship investment pot.

If you consider, or have more questions about, this option please contact us via [email protected] We will provide opportunities for National Societies to take place on application and review panels.


Solferino Academy will create a pool of coaches from within and outside the RCRC Network to support the fellows through their learning track. These mentors will be leaders with personal and professional experience of transformation. We don’t expect these mentors to have ‘the answers’ to the questions that will undoubtedly come up along the way, but rather help FutureFellows reflect on their options and make decisions on moving forward. This will be a learning experience for the coaches as much as for the fellows. We hope to see accredited fellows taking a place as next year’s coaches.

After (e.g. Alumni)

The alumni will have the opportunity to participate in next iterations of the FutureFellows programs and become coaches. There will be a yearly session where all alumni will be invited to meet each other as well as the current cohort.

Strategy 2030

Strategy 2030 is about change. It is about changing not just what we do, but how we do it, so that we are even better able to save lives, accompany people and support their resilience.

If you are not ready to be a FutureFellow (yet), but want to dedicate some of your time to helping Solferino Academy in driving innovation and transformation in our network, check out our opportunities for volunteering.

Join us