The review assessed the outcome and results of SDC’s civil society support project from 2012-14. This project was developing and piloting new approaches to capacity development, and supporting civil society to demonstrate more effectively its contributions to poverty alleviation and sustainable development in the Lao PDR.

The review was done using the DAC criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. The review was forward looking, providing detailed recommendations showing possible directions for the project into the next phase.

The review was carried out by a team of international and national consultants and based on a framework of enquiry that researched how far the project’s Theory of Change worked in enabling civil society organisations (CSO’s) to be effective in the Lao context. It also considered what an effective and thriving civil society in Lao would look like and what skills and attributes CSOs would need to have in order for this to be achieved.

The review included desk research of key documents; interviews with more than 60 key stakeholders; three half-day participatory workshops with the Project Management Committee members, CSO leaders and CSO staff respectively; and a debriefing/feedback workshop attended by 25 participants from INGOs, Lao CSOs and Development Partners.