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The process of collaborative capacity building: The journey towards achieving self -management for local INGO staff in the Lao PDR

Mainus Sultan, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The geographic landscape of this study is the Lao Peoples' Democratic Republic, also known by its French name Laos. Located in Southeast Asia, the Lao PDR is one of the six remaining socialist countries in the world. During my fieldwork in the Lao PDR, I facilitated a process of action research with a group of Lao INGO workers. I used qualitative research methods to capture the perceptions of the Lao development workers who collaborated with this study. This dissertation is primarily based on the data documented through interviews, participant observation, focus group discussion and reflective story writing. The core educational problem is to examine the historical reasons for the modest educational infrastructure in the Lao PDR and its impact on the growth of the development sector. The other related issues I explored include the limitations of mainstream development and educational models as well as the opportunities emerging as a result of the country's integration with the globalization process. Within the backdrop of the problem mentioned, the main purpose of this study is to explore an alternative strategy that has potential to facilitate the growth of local human resource capacity. The rationale for this exploratory endeavor is to generate functional knowledge that will potentially assist the policy makers and practitioners to develop an appropriate approach for the local human resource capacity building process. The research method I adapted in the field was a combination of action research and phenomenological inquiry. The key question that I pursued was “What is the process of collaborative capacity building that includes an alternative educational approach and model which have the potential to help Lao INGO staff to increase their capacity as development workers and, in the longer term, develop skills for self-management?”. I employed four techniques of data collection, which included interviewing 26 individuals, documenting action research process through the participant observation method, assisting Lao INGO staff to write reflective stories and conducting three focus group discussions. During the data analysis stage, I tried to incorporate the voices of the participants of the action research project to allow them constructing their way of knowing.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Curricula|Teaching|School administration

Recommended Citation

Sultan, Mainus, "The process of collaborative capacity building: The journey towards achieving self -management for local INGO staff in the Lao PDR" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3096316.