CSO action in Laos is tightly circumscribed by the Party-State, and Lao CSOs are a relatively new, relatively small and relatively inexperienced sector. However, within these constraints, the community of CSOs engaged on child rights themes is relatively well established.
- DP support flows mostly through international CSOs, particularly ChildFund Australia, Save the Children (SCF), World Vision and Plan International, which are present in at least 12 of the 17 provinces.
- The Lao CSOs engaged on child rights tend to be small and specialised, to some extent reflecting the relative ease of accessing funds to implement specific activities of international CSO projects. The main network of Lao CSOs estimates that of 71 Lao CSOs registered at the national level, 27 have a mandate covering education and 21 have a mandate to promote child rights. Together with agriculture and livestock (24) and health/sanitation/nutrition/HIV-AIDS (22) these are the themes addressed by the largest numbers of Lao CSOs. Among the child-oriented Lao CSOs, there are particularly large clusters working on disability and on promotion of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
The most active CSOs are networked in an informal Child Protection Working Group, through which they can interact collectively with DPs and to some extent with GoL. This and similar working groups are not legally constituted but are tolerated by GoL to a varying and fluctuating extent.
EU funding for actions relevant to child rights touches all key actors, directly or indirectly. The following network map presents the relationships between the EU’s implementing partners (blue) and their partners/co-applicants/associates/affiliated entities (orange). Most of the Lao organisations are also receiving support from other DPs for actions relevant to child rights. Of the 21 Lao CSOs that have a mission that includes child rights, more than one third participate in the management and implementation of one or more actions cofinanced by the EU. Most of the others are reached as target groups or beneficiaries of these actions.
The following chart maps the funding relationship between organisations implementing relevant EU actions (in blue) and their partners/affiliates (in orange). Compared to other countries analysed for this study, there is a greater interconnection of the networks supported through the various projects. This can be seen most clearly in the right third of the chart. This high interconnectivity suggests that the EU is providing relatively systematic support, and that the network of organisations receiving funding have multiple reasons for working together. One distinctive feature of EU and other DP and INGO financing of projects in Laos is the government insistence on partnership with state agencies. This is very consistently and effectively enforced. In consequence, the Lao Women’s Union (LWU – centre of the cluster in the right third of the chart), and the provincial education and health authorities receive support from multiple EU sources, and it can be assumed from other DPs also.
Note: EU implementing partners are blue and their partners/co-applicants/associates/affiliated entities are orange. The size of the nodes illustrates the number of actions in which the organisation takes part, and the thickness of the line illustrates the number of joint actions between the two organisations joined.
Source: CRIS data for all EU cofunded actions in Laos 2006-2013. Coding as relevant to child rights done for this evaluation.
 Directory of Lao Civil Society Organisation 2014, Vientiane: Learning House for Development