There are three components to the WELA program:

  • Residential retreats: held in three 4-day blocks during the year, will have a daily flow with a facilitators for the whole 12 days and a range of special visitors on particular days within the program.
  • Mentoring: each participant will be matched with a woman environmentalist. This facet of the program will be organised at the first residential and we are flexible about the pairing that you would like.
  • Action learning projects: Small groups will work on projects addressing key issues for women in the environment movement. Groups will meet at retreats as well as online in between retreats.

What is covered in the program?

The WELA program responds to the expressed needs and feedback from interviews with many women in the environment movement. Each year’s program also grows out of the needs, interests and offerings of the participants. The program is collaborative and experiential with an emphasis on developing skills which can be directly applied to participants’ real life challenges.

The WELA 2018 program will increase capacity for women to lead in the environment movement by:

  • Understanding and planning to address barriers to women’s leadership – including personal limiting beliefs, organisational and movement dynamics, and broader societal forces.
  • Developing skills and capacity to undertake personal change, organisational and movement change, and societal change.
  • Building a supportive community of women in the environment movement.

Topics covered include:

  • Gender and leadership in the environment movement
  • Different models of leadership and approaches to environmental activism
  • Campaign strategy, community organising and behavioural change frameworks
  • Building inclusive movements and practising solidarity
  • Activist wellbeing and resilience, including peer coaching skills and building support networks
  • Finding your voice, reclaiming physical power, stepping outside your comfort zone

Who presents at WELA?

The residential retreats will be facilitated by Holly Hammond, experienced activist educator and director of Plan to Win. Louise Duxbury (environmental educator) and Sue Lewis (expert on the intersection of gender and environmentalism) have also contributed significant leadership in developing the curriculum and experience of WELA.

Each retreat will include special guests contributing their insights and expertise in a range of areas. Presenters at past WELA retreats include Christine Milne (former Senator and leader of the Australian Greens), Kelly O’Shanassy (CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation), Joan Staples (academic and civil society advocate), Cheryl Buchanan (traditional owner from Guwamu Nation and Nyurin Clan), Clare Land (author of Decolonising Solidarity), Amanda Sinclair (author of Doing Leadership Differently and Women Leading), Lidia Thorpe (treaty activist and now State MP for Northcote) and Eleanor Glenn (Common Cause). Each retreat also includes contributions from WELA reference group members who have a wealth of experience in environmental leadership, including Margaret Blakers, Karen Alexander and Judy Lambert. Details of 2018 presenters coming soon.

Participants are also invited to present sessions during the program to showcase the experience and expertise in the group and provide opportunities to practise public speaking and training skills.

When and where?

All three residential retreats will be located at Commonground accommodation and conference facilities near Seymour about 100 km from Melbourne. Flights to and from Melbourne will be organised for you and transport from there to Commonground will be via train, bus or car, also organised in advance for you. Travel is included in the course fees (see below) which are the same for all participants.

Please factor in travel time when assessing your availability for the following retreats:

  • April/May: commencing evening of Monday 30th April, departing afternoon of Friday 4th May
  • July/August: evening of Monday 30th July to Friday 3rd August
  • October: evening of Monday 15th to Friday 19th October

Please note dates may be subject to change depending on timing of the federal election.

Participation in the WELA program requires a commitment to all three retreats plus availability for small group work and mentoring between retreats.

Apply now!

WELA 2018 Application Form: apply by Wednesday 21 February.