EarthRights International’s Mekong School is a training program for civil society advocates from the Mekong region (China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam) who are working on environmental and human rights issues.  The theme of the seven month-long program is “Community Leadership for Earth Rights.”  The curriculum integrates campaign, 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 investors from China and Thailand, hydropower dams in Cambodia and the use of community driven operational grievance mechanisms.

Other cross-cutting themes include peace building and conflict transformation, gender mainstreaming, indigenous rights and the physical, legal and digital security of earth rights defenders. Through a series of field visits, participants learn how citizens are using national, regional, and international legal frameworks to advocate for equitable development in the Mekong region.  Finally, program graduates focus on ways in which they can join together as alumni to campaign for greater public participation, accountability and transparency in development planning.

Our ideal candidates are individuals who have directly experienced environmental and human rights challenges in their own communities and are highly motivated to address these issues through legal advocacy.  We welcome candidates from indigenous and rural communities who will benefit from increased knowledge of environmental and human rights law.  We are looking for people who are enthusiastic about partnering with environmental and human rights advocates throughout the Mekong region and who aspire to become future community leaders.

We have no formal education requirements, but basic English communication skills are preferable.  The training takes place at our school in a rural community just outside of Chiang Mai from Thailand from June to December of each year, and includes a two-month practicum in which students return to their home countries to conduct field work. Housing, transportation, and a modest living stipend are provided to successful candidates.

The deadline for applications is February 1 of each year.  For more information, please visit our website at  To request an application form, please contact the Mekong School Coordinator at