The KWO Emerging Leaders School (ELS) was started in 2008. The course ran 2 times for 10 months each time, between April 2008 and March 2009 and a similar period in 2009-2010. The project aims to provide a higher level of education for young women, than the KYWLS curriculum and to prepare the students more for a leadership role, especially in advocacy work. There is a sister course run by the WLB in Chiang Mai.
14 students participated in the 2008-2009 school year and another 14 in the 2009-2010 school year (including 6 and 9 KWO staff members in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, respectively). Students travelled from refugee camps, and inside Karen State to Thailand to take part in the course. The students included representatives from KWO & other organisations such as CIDKP, KTWG, KESAN, KORD, KYO, KSNG, KNU and other networks inside Burma. The young women were chosen by their organisations as having demonstrated ability and promise. All women who completed the course are now working in their respective organizations.
There were 3 core teachers in each year, plus 1 foreign volunteer English teacher and a selection of local guest teachers. In 2008-2009, the ELS also had a computer teacher. Teachers included foreign volunteers, several KWO staff members, and (in 2009-2010) the graduates of the previous year.
The program provided an opportunity to advance the women’s critical thinking, public speaking and presentation skills. Topics covered through the program included: