Grassroots Leadership

Empowering grassroots leaders to tackle tough issues in their own communities and beyond.

How it works

Our fellowship programme is designed to grow and scale the capabilities of grassroots leaders.

How do individuals become agents of change?

Through our fellowship programme we catalyse change across three levels: individual, community and society.

  • Individual: We work at a grassroots level to identify and empower individuals to challenge inequalities and transform societies.
  • Community: We develop community-based organisations and local eco-systems to foster opportunity and inclusive growth.
  • Society: We challenge entrenched behaviours and influence government policy on social, economic and environmental issues.

  • Watch QUEST Grassroots Development Leadership Program on YouTube HERE.

Our Model

Our 12-month and 24-month fellowship programmes transform the way individuals see themselves from victims of circumstance to agents of change

We seek out hidden talent in marginalised communities. Literacy levels, education and formal training are not considered in the recruitment process and anyone of the age 18 or over is eligible. We pride ourselves on ensuring that at least half of our fellows are women, and about half are also of an ethnic or religious minority.

We expand awareness and leadership skills.

Modules we cover include:

  • Understanding self and community
  • Communication and facilitation
  • Advocacy and negotiation
  • Research and analysis
  • Executing social change
  • Community development

We provide mentoring, peer learning and financial support.

  • Weekly/monthly mentoring
  • Seed funding
  • Monthly stipend
  • Peer learning and support
  • Access to a network of local and global leaders


Fellows create solutions to address critical community issues.

  • Creating livelihoods and increasing access to microcredit
  • Securing land rights and food security
  • Tackling violence and corruption
  • Increasing access to education
  • Empowering women and increasing participation in local affairs and politics

Fellows mobilise others to drive change collectively.

  • Educating people about their constitutional entitlements
  • Sharing skills and knowledge
  • Influencing local authorities
  • Connecting networks of fellows, mentors and organisations

Training is a key step in our model for growing and scaling the capabilities of grassroots leaders.

In the first nine months of the Quest Fellowship Programme we focus on training our fellows to develop the skills to tackle their chosen issue – skills which they will put into practice throughout their fellowship and beyond.

Quest Fellows come together for 4-5 day long residential group sessions which offer an immersive, practical and participatory learning experience.

The training is delivered in 15 modules, facilitated by a range of subject-matter experts and supported by our programme team. Written with the facilitator in mind, our training modules outline learning objectives, summarise key concepts, and offer guidance in how to take the fellows through discussion-based participatory exercises as they build their knowledge. In 2015 we compiled our modules in English for the first time.

Case studies

Our Quest Fellows and local organisations have teamed up to lead regional campaigns tackling large-scale issues. These grassroots movements are mobilising communities to access their constitutional entitlements and are influencing government policy.

‘Only we can change our story’: the development of a marginalised tribal community

How Ganesh improved economic conditions for 3,000 people

How Sahadeo helped over 200 Basod families treble their earnings

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