From September 14-27, the Mekong School hosted a Video Advocacy Workshop for grassroots activists challenging forced displacement in Asia . Working closely with regional human rights and popular media organizations, the International Accountability Project (IAP), WITNESS, the Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER), the Malaysian NGO Komas, and ERI collaborated to bring together a diverse group of community activists, filmmakers and civil society advocates who are determined to incorporate video advocacy as a powerful tool in their work to expose and demand accountability for forced displacement caused by development projects.

Mekong School alumni Si Phoung and Khun Chankhee (Burma 2006) participated in the training, along with fifteen other activists from around the region, gaining valuable video documentation skills. The workshop culminated in a screening of short films made by participants. Si Phoung and Khun Chankhee are currently working together to create a...

A one day follow-up reunion was held on November 14 directly after the Mainstream Mekong Dams conference at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. The follow-up reunion provided an opportunity to revisit the goals established at the Si Phan Don reunion in light of new information gathered at the Mainstream Mekong Dams conference, and to include alumni who were not able to join the Si Phan Don reunion in the network's joint campaign plans. The Mekong Alumni Network set the overall goal of the reunion as "to identify goals and strategies and create work plans for our collaborative campaign to stop dams on the Mekong Mainstream." In support of this goal, the group aimed to (1) identify overall campaign goals (short and long term), (2) discuss and agree upon coordinated strategies to achieve these goals, (3) agree on a work plan to achieve goals (who is doing what and when), and (4) discuss budgets needed to achieve goals. 

On November 11-13, Mekong School students, alumni, and staff attended an international conference entitled Mekong Mainstream Dams: People's Voices across Borders at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok . The conference provided an opportunity for civil society and national and regional policy makers to exchange views and experiences on the problems of hydropower dams in the Mekong region, particularly those on the mainstream Mekong . 

Over 250 conference participants worked together to promote a greater role for civil society to develop alternatives to Mekong mainstream dams in meeting the region's energy demands. Mekong school students and alumni actively participated throughout the three day event. Thai student Thanasak and Lao student Nonglak presented findings from their recent field work at the site of the proposed Ban Koum Dam. Nonglak was the first researcher to successfully gain access to the politically sensitive area on the Lao side of the Mekong , and her report...

In August of 2008, the Mekong School held its first reunion, bringing together twenty-seven participants from three generations of students at Si Phan Don, Southern Lao PDR. ERI Asia Director Chana Maung, Jessica Rosien of Oxfam Australia , and Mekong school staff and volunteers also joined the group. The Si Phan Don area is the site of the controversial Don Sahong Dam, where Lao and Cambodian alumni are working to mitigate adverse impacts on riverside communities.

During the five-night, four-day reunion, three generations of Mekong School students shared their challenges and accomplishments following graduation and renewed their motivation for working for human rights and environmental justice. Alumni met in country groups to prioritize earth rights challenges currently facing their communities, and reported back to the larger group. Based on these reports, the...

For the first semester of 2009 ERI Alumni Small Grants Program were awarded to 5 different projects.  Proposals included 3 trainings, one workshop and finalizing a research.  The projects will be implemented during 2009 and after their completion alumni will report back their results where they will recount how the project developed, their  successful stories as well as challenges.  

One of the alumni proposed a 5 days training in Ka Pain Village about domestic violence, sexual harassment and environment. The training is targeted to 20 women from 10 different villages. The village leader and a school teacher from each village will be the attendees. These women will be chosen because they are in the best position to...

Mekong School alumni Shining (Burma 2006), Piseth (Cambodia 2008), Dang (Vietnam 2008), Nonglak (Laos 2008), Dorn (Laos 2007), and An Nhien (Vietnam 2008)  had the chance to attend a 5-day training-workshop on Building the Advocacy Capacity of Civil Society Organizations to Engage with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The workshop was organized by the Bank Information Center, Vietnam Rivers Network and the Institute of Tropical Biology in Ho Chi Minh City. Sessions on World Bank Group's accountability mechanisms brought together participants from regional NGOs, networks and community-based organizations to deepen their practical understanding of the World Bank Inspection Panel and Compliance Advisor Ombudsman functions and how they can use these internal corrective processes as tools to advocate for greater accountability in World Bank projects. On the final day of the workshop, Mr. Werner Kiene, Chairman of...

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