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. RDSP is based in Cape Town, with an associate staff member representing us in the Eastern Cape. We have an experienced Management Board. In a recent assessment of RDSP, Margie Keeton (formerly of Tshikululu) described us as
“…a well established ‘niche’ NGO that has developed an appropriate methodology and operating style for dealing with a most challenging area of development – support for survivalist community organisations…The resulting model is a surprisingly robust one – a small group of experienced, like-minded professionals who work well together and whose ‘light’ and flexible overheads enable them to reach and work in any part of South Africa, as required.”
Over the last 22 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 people, 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.
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 courses, 40 mentoring fieldtrips, 2 exposure programs and information sheets. The total number of participants who attend our sessions in one year is over 1000 and those who benefit via the organisations we serve through our organisational development work are over 10,000. Since 1992 we have worked with or trained more than 15,000 people and over 600 community based organisations, many of them in remote rural areas. According to our way of working, rural people and 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.