A programme inspiring young women’s passions and leadership skills to make a difference for nature and people
To Celebrate International Women’s Day the Wilderness Foundation launches The Wild Swans Programme. We will place 36 young women over the next three years, from Hackney in London, Derry in Northern Ireland and Johannesburg, South Africa, on a remarkable journey of leadership development and intercultural understanding, empowering them to step forward and make a real difference to their communities, world of work and to 1,800 other young women within their outreach.
Supported by inspirational women leaders in their respective countries, the programme educates, empowers and activates young women to become the next generation of socio environmental leaders, preparing them for future positions of communal, political and professional leadership.

Wild Swans Pilot 2009


Wild Swans responds to the facts that the next generation will face some of the greatest challenges of humankind – climate change, inequality of wealth and poverty, food and water shortages and the resulting conflict associated with limited resources,  to name but a few.
The need for passionate, collaborative and well informed leadership has never been greater.
In addition, the gap of women in leadership positions is highlighted regularly in the press as a growing problem in society and industry across the world. Female leaders are found to be more empathetic, flexible and inclusive. Wild Swans will convey the knowledge that “we strengthen ourselves by strengthening others.”
Jo Roberts CEO and founder of Wild Swans writes:
“I realised that understanding other people’s realities is crucial to a solid world view, and how important it is to bring people together, to dream, plan, think and work alongside each other, with a common purpose and to draw on each others’ strengths and indeed, differences.
I am overwhelmed with the positive response the project is getting from men and women alike.   We know that there are gender gaps in industry, politics and business – but this is more than addressing the gender gap, although it will make a difference.  It is about womanliness, our particular style of leading and managing, loving and nurturing; about recognising we need a new order for a new world of balance between us and nature, and between ourselves as humans.  The values that we hope to focus on in Wild Swans can be transferred to values in business, politics, community action and anything else relevant.
It is about new hope, new wings, new lift and new vision.  The girls will be lifted high into the sky to see the bigger picture, whilst being protected from the fall with a strong support network of experienced women who are interested in their success.”
Piloted in 2009, the programme will run for three years initially. Each year the programme will bring together a diverse group of inspirational young women, aged 16+.  Selected for their talent, energy and integrity, Wild Swans will support them to be role models and propel them to the forefront of leadership within their own communities. Each will put a project in place that fits with their passion, as well as reaching a minimum of fifty other young women and people.
The Wild Swans are hoping to do a fundraising cycle ride along the Thames in June and we hope as many women as possible will join us and take part to support them.
If you are interested in cycling, being a mentor, could run an Inspirational Women’s Leader workshop, or help with sponsorship of a Wild Swan (approximately £2,200 per person) please get in touch with Jo Roberts on 01245 443073 or email jo@wildernessfoundation.org.uk