Managing the relationship between the government and local Non-Government Organisations in Laos

Author: Kheuavanh Chanthaphouvong

Chanthaphouvong, Kheuavanh, 2020 Managing the relationship between the government and local Non-Government Organisations in Laos, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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Since the 1990s, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become increasingly popular in global governance as important actors in development. Working alongside the government, NGOs provide basic services, in developing countries where the governments are unable or incompetent to provide basic services to all. This paper seeks to better understand the nature of relationships between governments and NGOs in Laos through the lens of the Four Cs of government-NGOs relationships framework: Cooperation, Complementarity, Co-optation, and Confrontation. It is analyzed annual reports of five None-Profit Associations (NPAs) 2018 to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which the Lao government regulates and governs local NGOs in the development context, and how NGOs portray their relationship with the government. Based on the reports, the relationship can be classified as co-optation in the way that all local development NPAs in Laos have to comply with the government‘s regulations and harmonize all their activities with the government policies. As well as coordinating with related government agencies in implementing their programs. Moreover, local NPAs are viewed as arms or implementers of the government’s policies, they work as supplementary to the government agencies in providing basic services to the people in need where the government is incapable to reach due to lack of budget and human resource. The thesis is also highlighting some challenges in managing the relationship between the government and local NPAs in Laos including 1) power asymmetry, lack of trust, inadequate resources. It argues that the relationship can be improved by 1) the country determined for achieving global development agenda 2030, 2) genuine donor support development projects to build trust and understanding between government and NGOs; 3) simplifying the registration process to allow more local NPAs to participate in development.

Keywords: Forms of the relationship between government and NGOs, None-Profits Associations in Laos, development NGOs, managing relationships

Subject: International Studies thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2020
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Susanne Schech