Future Leaders is a multi-year youth leadership program that provides aspiring young individuals with skills in sustainable business, innovation, and leadership. Programs are hosted in globally important, endangered forests that have significant opportunities for conservation. We invite local youth (aged 18-30) who want to conserve their natural resources and be successful entrepreneurs. Knowing that one person can change the world, we stay connected and committed to our participants after the workshops. The Future Leaders program also supports its participants by:
- Introducing them to experienced professionals, both local and international, to help broaden their networks
- Providing direct advisory support on their projects
- Offering ongoing mentoring sessions
- Connecting them with opportunities for scholarships, grants and other project funding
Providing Youth Leadership Training as a Conservation Initiative
Since 2014, Wild Forests and Fauna, in collaboration with local partners, have hosted two Future Leaders Summits in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Workshops are typically three to seven days long and include a mix of skills workshops, lectures from local experts, and field trips in nearby forests. The curriculum is driven by four pillars that encourage sustainable business innovation:
- Environmental Citizenship
In addition, participants apply their learning by developing ideas and pitching them to the larger group. When applicable, winners are selected and receive financial backing. All groups have the option to continue to receive support from WFF through their initial phases of development. The winning idea from 2014 was Grupo Amable, a bicycle eco-tourism company and environmental education program targeting the local community and schools in Madre de Dios. They were also the first recipient of our Future Leaders grant, which funded the purchase of 4 bicycles, helmets and business supplies. Proud to see them up and running!
Creating Career Opportunities Close to Home
The ideals and ideas of young people can inspire great opportunities for conservation. Yet, local youth networks may be limited—or nonexistent—in their area, which can hinder success. WFF has identified the following challenges as a guide to developing an impactful Future Leaders program:
- There are many threatened biological and cultural hot spots which can be protected if economic needs of local people are addressed
- There are many youth who are eager to improve their communities, but lack the resources needed to make significant change
- The youth of the community need a network of professionals who can support them in their personal and career development, creating the hope and skills needed to implement the change they seek
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For aspiring youth leaders in Peru, contact us and we will send you information on the upcoming Future Leaders Summit.
If you know a community that is looking for an platform to develop their young leaders, contact us about hosting a Future Leaders Summit in your area.