We welcome all EarthRights Alumni from the Mekong to join our network.

Read the call in Burmese, Chinese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese.

BACKGROUND

Since 1999, EarthRights International has graduated over 600 students via its various training programs.

These include the Myanmar and Mekong EarthRights Schools in Myanmar and Thailand, Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI), Bertha Legal Fellowship, Health and EarthRights (HEARTH) Training, Thai-Lao Exchange, and Short Training on Climate Justice. Our alumni come from across the Mekong region: Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Today, EarthRights alumni defend human and environmental rights back in their home communities across the Mekong by leveraging skills, ideas, and collaborations developed and shared through EarthRights’ unique training programs. The rights defenders are building upon them.

WHY ARE WE BUILDING A FORMAL ALUMNI NETWORK?

Due to democratic backsliding, lack of respect for human rights, faltering rule of law, and the pandemic, EarthRights alumni legitimately campaigning for human rights and natural resources face enormous risks. The risks have been increasing and include criminalization and judicial harassment.

OUR GOAL

EarthRights wants to equip alumni with knowledge, skills, and powerful tools for change. We want them to secure invaluable access and perspectives on the challenges faced by communities.

We want to build the commitment to continued collaborative work on climate justice and accountability, earth rights defenders, and corporate accountability.

We will work with you to co-create a meaningful, effective, and sustainable alumni network to achieve this goal.

OUR APPROACH

We will build the alumni network from the ground up by listening and co-designing with you so that it helps you meet your needs and challenges. You will tell us what media and platforms work for keeping engaged. Ensuring your security will be a priority.

We will pay attention to social and gender inclusion, with inclusiveness and transparency being core values of the network. A diverse group of core team members will be selected to map the context and lead strategic planning. Following the inputs of all alumni, they will start the process for designing the network.

Following the design, we will convene all alumni to finalize the network.

THE NETWORK WILL:

• Support earth rights defenders to access training, financial and technical resources. It will be a large and diverse regional network for information-sharing, strategizing, and collaboration.
• Support alumni with resources to develop and run activities on climate justice and accountability, earth rights defenders, and corporate accountability.
• Promote wellbeing among earth rights alumni so that they can take care of themselves. Our Mitharsuu Center will serve as a hub of solidarity and learning.
• Establish access to knowledge, resources, and mutual support so that defenders can carry out their work safely and effectively both in digital and physical spaces.
• Build alumni capacity on risk management, safety and security, and advocacy on criminalization and judicial harassment.
• Support Alumni in Myanmar in emergencies following the hostile environment for activists post-coup.

The formalized network will be responsive and effective in delivering the tools, physical safe spaces, secure digital platforms, and resources.

It will help build defenders’ ability to strategize, collaborate, and deliver locally-led training, legal cases, and campaigns to support communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis. It will enhance the impact of their work at the regional and global levels.

TIMELINE AND FIRST STEPS

To build this network, we want to engage with you to understand if you are currently engaging in defense of earth rights, and if so, what your priorities, needs, and challenges are.

As immediate steps, we will reach out to you to:
Nov 2021: Update the alumni’s current status (active or not) and consolidate information of alumni and their work in defense of earth rights. Also, Core Team Members of Alumni Network* identified to support in the buildup and co-design of the EarthRights Alumni Network as a resource and network hub for an engaged group of alumni.
Nov – Dec 2021: Check-in and engage alumni from across the region in virtual listening sessions to discuss developing collaborations, engagements, networking events, and partnerships with EarthRights.
Early – Mid-Jan 2022: Conduct a needs assessment to determine what your needs are and how we can support you. This will be done through secure mobile communication channels or over the phone.

* The purpose of the Core Team Members is to support in the buildup and co-design of the EarthRights Alumni Network as a resource and network hub for an engaged group of alumni.