EarthRights School 2018


Deadline       : January 26, 2018

Location       : Chiang Mai, Thailand

Duration      : Seven Months (mid-May to mid-December 2018)

Type               : Partially Funded


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. Emerging leaders will be trained 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.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.


  • Participants must commit to active participation in advocacy on earth rights issues in Myanmar or the greater Mekong region for at least one year following the program.
  • Participants should have two or more years experience working with communities and/or civil society groups focused on human rights or the environment, with a specific focus on investment projects. Applicants must be interested in learning more about different aspects of advocacy strategies and how to develop an advocacy plan to be used in their communities.
  • Participants must complete the practicum field session, which includes creating a field research plan and conducting a research project related to an earth rights issue in their home country.
  • Participants must have at least basic level English language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) to be determined through a personal interview. This is important because the classes will be taught in English.
  • Participants must be willing to live at the training center during the classroom sessions and follow the rules regarding safety and communal living. Participants must share community duties such as cooking, cleaning, and maintenance work.
  • Participants must participate in communal life, participatory decision-making, and experiential learning, including sharing and reflecting on their own experiences.
  • Participants must be interested in meeting and living with people from different backgrounds and respect people as individuals regardless of their backgrounds.
  • Participants must be willing to follow and respect the non-discrimination policy of the school. ERS has a zero tolerance policy for discriminatory attitudes and behaviors based on race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, political belief, age, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, or other status.
  • ERS will not consider any applicant who is enrolled in a university or other school program.
  • Applicants must have a valid passport at the time of acceptance into the program.


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.

Application Process:

  • Click HERE to download the application form and complete the application form and answer the essay questions in English language only. You can handwrite or type your answers. If you need more space to answer, you can add a page / sheet of paper.
  • Recommendation Letters: Have TWO PEOPLE who know you well each complete the recommendation form. One recommendation should be from a member of an organization you are involved with and the other should be from a civil society leader in your community (such as a teacher, religious leader, NGO worker or ERS alumni). These should be returned together with the application. Click  HERE to download Recommendation Form.
  • Applications or questions may be emailed to [email protected].
  • Due to the high number of applicants, ERS will only contact short-listed applicants to set up a test and an interview. The test will assess the applicant’s English language and critical thinking skills.
  • Candidates will be chosen to participate in the ERS program based on their application, recommendation letters, test, and interview results.

For more information, please visit Official Website