2019 EarthRights School Application

Home / Blog / 2019 EarthRights School Application

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 session of the EarthRights School. Please read the Program Information before completing the application. All forms are attached.

Applications or questions may be emailed to [email protected].

The deadline for receipt of applications is February 15, 2019.


EarthRights International (ERI) believes in the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which we define as earth rights. We recognize that a healthy environment cannot be maintained without respect for human rights and that human rights are unattainable without healthy ecosystems.

The EarthRights School (ERS) is a training program for civil society advocates from Myanmar and the Mekong region who are working on environmental and human rights issues. The theme of the seven-month program is “Community Leadership for Earth Rights.” The curriculum integrates storytelling and legal advocacy strategies used to address earth rights abuses caused by large-scale development projects, with a strong focus on land rights, environmental and social impact assessments, regional Asian investors, hydropower dams, coal plants and special economic zones (SEZ).

The goal of ERS is to train grassroots and community leaders about the impacts of large-scale economic development projects on communities and the environment and how they can advocate for more equitable development in their communities. We train emerging leaders on effective strategies to lessen negative impacts and improve outcomes of investment projects through strengthening the capacity of local communities to advocate on their own behalf. Through the tailored focus of the program, ERS enables participants to return to their communities to play a greater part in local decision-making and protection of their environment to meet the needs of their communities.

The training program provides core knowledge on development processes, human rights, environmental standards, and corporate behavior and accountability, along with practical advice on how to engage national, regional and international systems and mechanisms such as the UN system, financial institutions, human rights commissions, and private corporate engagement. In particular, the program centers on the development of practical skills in advocacy, including strategic campaign planning, stakeholder engagement, media messaging, and community empowerment and mobilization.

ERS emphasizes the value of local knowledge, wisdom, and life experience of the participants, and therefore adopts a participatory-learning approach to the training where individuals share and learn from each other’s particular strengths and experiences. The program focuses on serving individuals that have close ties with their local environments and communities. All classes incorporate hands-on learning through group discussions, role-plays, debates, case studies, oral presentations, videos, and other learner-centered activities to ensure participants engage with the material in a critical and practical way.

Through a series of field trips, participants will also examine the threats posed by various projects around Thailand such as coal-fired power plants and large-scale industrial zones, and
learn first-hand about communities’ campaigning strategies to protect traditional livelihoods, community health, and local environments.

In 2019 we are recruiting candidates from organizations actively involved in advocacy on earth rights issues related to the following themes:

  1. Extractive Industries
  2. Mega-Projects
  3. Land Rights and Clean Environments
  4. Power, Rights, and Immunities for Corporations, IFIs, and Emerging Financial Powers
  5. Earth Rights Defenders
  6. Climate Change and Climate Justice

The training program is seven months long; divided into a classroom-based training and a fieldwork practicum in which students return home to conduct research. The program begins in mid-May 2019 to mid-December 2019 and will take place in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The fieldwork practicum is a unique opportunity for students to use the knowledge they have gained from the program to document first-hand the earth rights abuses in their communities. The students then return to the school to transform their research findings into individual advocacy plans, and upon graduation, they leave confident to implement their plans.

*Please note that ERS is an independent program not affiliated with any university, and therefore does not offer university or academic credit *

More Blog Posts

The sun sets on the Mekong River on the Thai-Lao border near Chiang Khong, Thailand.

August 9, 2019

Caring About the Environment Should Not Get You Killed
Read More

July 16, 2019

Unalienable Rights? Not In the Trump Era
Read More

May 23, 2019

Fight to Hold Contractor Accountable for Abu Ghraib Detainee Abuses Continues
Read More