Rural Development Support Program (RDSP) is an Associate Body of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SACBC) and has been building the capacity of rural communities in South Africa since 1992. Over more than twenty years we have created, tested and delivered a range of support services designed to contribute to the building up of a rural infrastructure. With half of our population classified as non-urban, rural development is of utmost importance to the future sustainability of our country. Rural communities need to be assisted in finding sustainable solutions to their pressing needs.
RDSP works primarily with rural community based organisations (CBOs) and small groups in need of skills training, organisational development, mentorship and exposure. We work to strengthen civil society within rural areas and to assist in creating community leadership. Most of the organisations we work with struggle to access training opportunities, require assistance in organisational skills and are under-resourced, often existing in a permanent state of crisis management. Since 1992 we have worked with or trained well over 600 organisations, many of them in remote rural areas. According to our way of working, rural organisations are the implementing agents and we are the support program or service providers with the common aim of alleviating rural poverty. Our programs are our tools for achieving this.
Over the period of a year, we are able to reach communities on a national scale through our various programs, including an average of 20 training sessions, 30 fieldtrips, 6 exposure programs and various seminars and information sheets. The total number of participants who attend our sessions in one year is over 1000. Our programmes are run from our Cape Town base and a satellite office in Bhisho, Eastern Cape. Over the years we have focused on the Northern, Western & Eastern Cape, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, however we respond to requests from any area. We also have experience of working in other African countries. The CBOs we work with are involved in ending gender-based violence, starting income-generation projects, providing para-legal advice and assisting those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
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