This programme was initiated in 2003 by the leaders of the Lao Sangha who joined in the GLT Sangha Programme in 2001 and 2002. (The GLT programme run in Burma/Myanmar piloted a regional Sangha training with monks and laity from Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The trainings did not continue because the strategy of the programme focused more on strengthening capacities of existing programme partners). Seeing the relevance of the training to the Lao situation, the alumni monks formed an organisation, Lao Buddhism for Development (LBFD) in order to mobilise Lao monks and nuns for community development work. The programme was initiated in 2004 to equip Sangha members with skills and confidence to work in community, along with capacity support for LBFD, and networking and follow up of programme alumni across the country to continue supporting their ongoing needs. Through these efforts, a Lao community of grassroots leaders with a strong sense of social engagement and inter-faith/inter-ethnic values has emerged and has become increasingly recognized as a positive social force within Lao society.
The second phase of the programme (2010 – 2012), aims to consolidate, deepen and expandthe work that has been achieved over the past phase of the programme, by continuing to support Lao faith-based and lay leaders to actively engage Lao people in understand and shaping the development of Laos based on principles of social justice, cultural integrity, economic sufficiency, and environmental harmony. The programme is continuing in partnership with SEM, LBFD, and the Participatory Development Training Center (PADETC) of Laos.