What are the effects of providing civic leadership training to community leaders from marginalised groups? Can it lead to increased participation by new leaders in local government processes, and increased government responsiveness to the needs of the poorest and most marginalised? Does it have the unintended consequence of these new leaders being co-opted by local politicians? This research investigated the impact of civic leadership training on citizen participation and government responsiveness in the Philippines. It examined an experimental pilot intervention that targeted ‘parent leaders’ – individuals already identified as community leaders in a large-scale government conditional cash transfer programme that aims to benefit the ‘poorest of the poor’. The research collaboration evaluated the impact of this model on the political participation of parent leaders, and the responsiveness of local government officials to the needs of marginalised groups. In addition, it assessed the potential for unintended political consequences of the leadership training in the Philippines, where strong clientelist networks can influence electoral mobilisation. In particular, it considered the possibility that leadership capacity-building might make parent leaders more attractive to politicians as ‘vote brokers’ – individuals who can deliver the votes of their fellow beneficiaries in exchange for personal gain.