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Original Research Articles

Scaling of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities: A Case Study in the People’s Democratic Republic of Lao


Ana María Sánchez Rodríguez ,

Maynooth University, IE
About Ana María
Dr. Ana María Sánchez Rodríguez is an Irish researcher and a Marie Skłodowska - Curie Actions’ fellow at Maynooth University. Her current research is on scaling up community-based innovations for persons with disabilities, particularly for women with disabilities, to bridge the gap with national policies in Lao PDR. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked on human rights and social development at the federal and local governmental level in Mexico.
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Malcolm MacLachlan,

Maynooth University, IE
About Malcolm
Prof. Malcolm MacLachlan is Professor of Psychology and Social Inclusion, and Co-director of the ALL (Assisting Living & Learning) Institute at Maynooth University, Ireland. He is also the Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme for People with Disabilities in the HSE (Irish Health Service). Previous appointments include holding a Personal Chair in Global Health at Trinity College Dublin, and being Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Malawi. Mac has also held visiting professorships at the Universities of Stellenbosch, Olomouc and Harvard. He has worked as clinical psychologist, academic, organisational consultant and policy adviser in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America; with government, civil society, industry and United Nations agencies.
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Joanne McVeigh

Maynooth University, IE
About Joanne
Dr. Joanne McVeigh is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology and the ALL (Assisting Living & Learning) Institute, Maynooth University, Ireland. Previous appointments include a Lectureship at the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork. She was previously a primary researcher in the area of disability and rehabilitation for research commissioned by the World Health Organisation, and has carried out consultancy in the area of disability for the HSE (Irish Health Service) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).
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Purpose: The ability to have impact at scale is an important concern for Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), but little is known about how scaling occurs in practice and the capacity of OPDs to undertake scaling. The aim of this study was to assess perceptions and experiences of scaling and broader organisational practices among a sample of people working for OPDs in Lao PDR. The study also aimed to deductively analyse the qualitative data in relation to a pre-defined socially inclusive scaling framework.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of people working with 10 OPDs operating in Lao PDR (n = 12; 6 female and 6 male). Participants included directors, administration personnel, and advisers of OPDs. Grounded theory was used to analyse the qualitative data. A deductive approach, comprising a multiple cycling coding process, was used to analyse the data in relation to the IPILA socially inclusive scaling framework.

Results: Participants reported their perceptions of scaling and broader organisational practices in relation to eight themes: OPDs’ relationship with government; collaboration among OPDs; legal registration; operational challenges; good practices for success; different strategies across OPDs; next steps to improve the work of OPDs; and implementation of policies. Findings from the deductive analyses indicated that OPDs use different strategies to include their members and/or service-users. The OPDs scaled in different directions, despite facing operational challenges such as funding and technical expertise. While OPDs identified scaling practices, they react to rather than plan scaling opportunities.

Conclusion: This study addressed the ways in which scaling is understood by OPDs in the context of Lao PDR. The findings show that OPDs recognise their good practices and the steps needed to scale, but lack planning and monitoring processes for scaling.

How to Cite: Sánchez Rodríguez, A.M., MacLachlan, M. and McVeigh, J., 2021. Scaling of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities: A Case Study in the People’s Democratic Republic of Lao. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 32(1), pp.6–36. DOI:
Published on 06 May 2021.


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