LASER was designed to be a problem driven reform programme. Instead of undertaking intensive research and design work to develop a solution which is presented to in-country partners for ‘buy-in’, our approach has been to work with our partners to identify their needs.
For the five countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somaliland and Uganda) in which we provided in-depth assistance, this involved spending time in country, learning about the local context and the problems our government partners face, before agreeing on the specific support we would provide. This approach was geared to helping our partners address the problems they felt were important, in a way they deemed appropriate, and at a pace suited to them. In addition to technical advice this included support to broker relationships, facilitate discussions and leverage investment and other types of support, such as pro bono legal advice.
Two years into our three year programme, we asked our partners about their experience of LASER. Click on the video clips below to hear what they had to say on our approach, the type of support they received, and why investment climate reform is important.
LASER asks its partners what it can do to help, and then provides technical assistance based on the request received. We don’t set out to specify a solution. By going in to the engagement without an agenda of our own, we don’t require ‘buy-in’ from our partners, but instead ‘buy-in’ to their reform agendas, working with them to address a local problem in the way they find most useful.
As a flexible and adaptive programme LASER is sufficiently agile to support our partners’ good ideas as and when they arise. As our partners discuss in this video, you never know when a good idea is going to come along. LASER is designed in a way that enables us and our partners to act on these ideas and adapt quickly to any obstacles encountered in their implementation.
LASER’s support is long-term, sustained and committed. Our resident advisers and other embedded staff – the Law and Policy Fellow in particular –build strong relationships and a thorough understanding of our partners’ problems, enabling us to provide relevant and appropriate assistance, respond quickly to changes in context and help our partners seize opportunities to push forward reform.
LASER’s approach has achieved success, and our partners recognise how working in a problem driven and locally led manner has allowed us to help them accomplish sustainable systemic change.