FAQs – Counter Speech Fellowship

1. What is the Counter Speech Fellowship?

The Counter Speech Fellowship is an exceptional opportunity for teen leaders to engage with themes such as Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Wellbeing, Embracing Diversity, Creating Safe Spaces Online and Countering Violent Extremism. This one-of-its-kind fellowship seeks to use the internet and social media as a force for good by creating unique communities around issues that matter and voicing thoughts, opinions and concerns. The Counter Speech Fellowship is envisaged to be an incubator for the future generation of leaders, CEOs, campaigners and activists.

2. Why has the Counter Speech Fellowship been instituted?

The internet is a powerful tool for teenagers to follow their interests, connect, express, build communities, and create support for causes. In recent times, however, there have emerged various negative stereotypes about teenagers and how they use the internet and social media.

YLAC and Instagram are committed to working with teens to help them leverage this powerful tool to address issues that affect them directly. By giving teens a voice and building their capacity to mobilize people for change, we hope to create a world that embraces differences and provides support to those who need it the most.

3. Am I eligible to apply?

If you are studying in grades 8th-12th and are between 13 to 18 years of age, you are eligible to apply. Students who are 18 years of age but have already completed school are not eligible.

4. What is the duration of the fellowship?

The Counter Speech Fellowship is a three month commitment. After the fellowship launch, fellows meet every alternate weekend for a period of 3-4 hours in their city. Applicants are advised to refer to the detailed calendar here.

5. Do I need to take leave from school to attend the fellowship?

No, you do not need to take leave from school as all fellowship sessions are scheduled on weekends.

6. What is the time commitment?

Fellows are required to attend the scheduled weekend sessions; each session is 3-4 hours long. However, the fellowship launch including the orientation is a full day session (8 hours).

Outside the sessions, fellows are required to spend time creating content for the fellowship theme allocated to them – Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Wellbeing, Embracing Diversity, Creating Safe Spaces Online or Countering Violent Extremism. However, this workload is spread over the intervening weeks and likely to be minimal.

7. Do I need to have an Instagram account to join the fellowship?

No, you don’t need to have an Instagram account while applying for the fellowship, but you will be asked to post content on Instagram theme handles during the run of the fellowship. You will need to get familiar with the platform to be able to contribute effectively.

8. If selected, do I have to pay any fees for attending the fellowship?

No! This is a fully funded fellowship. Just give the fellowship your creative best. You need not worry about anything else!

9. Who facilitates the sessions?

The sessions are facilitated by the YLAC and the Instagram India teams. During the course of the fellowship, a number of external speakers, social media influencers, policy makers, content makers and other guests are invited to conduct specific sessions with the fellows. They engage and interact with the fellows on the identified issues and themes.

10. How many fellows are selected in each city?

The first edition of the fellowship is being run in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. Twenty five Counter Speech Fellows have been selected in each city.

11. Is there be any training/ orientation session for the fellows?

YLAC and Instagram conduct a training and orientation session for the fellows on the first day of the fellowship. This session has been designed to give the fellows an overview of what the Counter Speech Fellowship has in store for them. The session is also meant to help them understand how best they can contribute and what their roles and responsibilities are during and after the fellowship.

12. Do I get any certificate for this fellowship? Are there any attendance requirements?

Yes, attendance is required. Fellows also work in groups and therefore, the absence of any fellow is a disadvantage to his or her team.

Fellows are given a certificate of completion at the end of the fellowship and those who produce the best content are duly recognized.