Reported: CONNECT Project – Advancing Development Goals at local level in Lao PDR

Lessons learned from the CONNECT Project

The European Union (EU) supported project:
Capacity Development and Networking to Enhance
Civil Society in Lao PDR (CONNECT), ran over a
period of four years, from July 2017 to June 2021,
implemented by Cord, in partnership with HELVETAS
Intercooperation GmbH, Participatory Development
Knowledge Agency (PAKA) and the Learning for
Development Association (LDA) in the provinces of
Xiengkhouang, Champassak, Savannakhet, Luang
Prabang, Oudomxay and Vientiane Capital.
The overall objective of CONNECT was to strengthen
the capacity and conditions through which Civil
Society Organisations (CSOs) and Local Authorities
(LAs) are able to contribute to reaching Lao PDR’s
development outcomes more effectively and
CONNECT comprised four elements, with each
building progressively upon the other throughout.
The first strengthened the capacity of Lao CSOs
in the areas of organisational development,
governance and representation, while the second
created spaces for networking and dialogue. The
aim was to build a strong and well-respected civil
society capable of confidently working with other
institutions. The third and fourth elements built upon
these foundations, seeking to improve relationships
and build trust between the Government and Civil
Society through the joint design and implementation
of a development project, and by using the learning
from these endeavours to influence education and
nutrition policy.
The third and fourth elements are the focus of this
model and included the design and implementation
of a collaborative project in local communities
between one lead Non-Profit Association (NPA)
– the sub-grant recipient, LAs and Community
Based Organisations (CBOs). Seven projects in
total were funded under a sub-grant scheme. The
collaborative projects began with a joint needs
assessment to determine the particular challenges
related to nutrition and education in the respective
communities, followed by planning sessions to
design a project in response to the identified needs.
All lead NPAs and their partners were supported
and coached by the CONNECT team throughout the
Lessons learnt from the 4 provincial case studies
have been collated into this model outlining a
pathway for successful engagement between
CSOs, LAs and others stakeholders on development
issues. Cord and its partners hope that the
recommendations and lessons can be used by
others to replicate successes across different
provinces and development sectors, in order to
improve policies, planning and service delivery for

  • Information Materials
  • Capacity Building
  • Emergency & Humanitarian Assistance
  • Nutrition & Food Security