Cause Profile

The Social Change Assistance Trust celebrates 27 Years of Rural Development:   1984 - 2011

The Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT) uses its knowledge and contacts to ensure financial resources reach ordinary people who can use them to make extraordinary differences in their communities’ lives. 

Established in 1984, SCAT’s initial aim was to identify projects initiated by local communities, to provide financial support and capacity training for anti-apartheid advice offices. Funding patterns shifted dramatically in 1990 and SCAT took a strategic decision to focus specifically on rural areas.  SCAT’s primary concern was and is that the rights of the poor were not protected; and that the poor had limited access to justice and resources.  It is evident that rural areas in South Africa remain underserviced, marginalised, isolated and subject to the poorest levels of service delivery in the country.

SCAT was founded to address basic human rights issues, lack of access to resources and poverty, 27 years later it still focuses on this.   Rural communities are given a voice through the many Advice Offices and other projects that have come into existence through SCAT’s support.   

SCAT works closely with rural community based organisations, which we call Local Development Agencies (LDA’s).  LDA’s are a vehicle for people to take control of their community’s needs. People in rural communities are often not organised and it takes organisation to address socio-economic issues. LDA’s are a vehicle for transparency, accountability and act as a monitor for service delivery.  

SCAT supports specific LDAs in their work to:  

  • Provide support and advice to people who do not understand their rights or are not able to easily access their rights as a result of South Africa’s political history, poor education and lack of self-reliance. 
  • Act as vehicles for people’s participation through helping them to identify their own priority needs and organising effectively to meet them.
  • Develop the community’s capacity to mobilise services, money and skills, and implementing projects in communities which develop the local economy and address the community needs.
  • Monitor government service delivery, advocate for the rights of people, especially women, children and those living with HIV and AIDS.

SCAT’s Model:  We work in collaborative partnerships with rural LDA’s and provide grants, support and facilitate capacity building for organisational development and the implementation of the organisations programmes.   SCAT is also a facilitating agent brokering other relationships with local government and business as well as having an advocacy role promoting the importance of rural empowerment and grant making as a developmental tool. SCAT has a well developed method of monitoring and mentorship.  SCAT raises funds from donors & partners – corporate, government and civil society – who support such work but do not have the necessary infrastructure to monitor and support small and remote initiatives.

We work: with new struggling, emerging and established Local Development Agencies and with our new efforts will utilize 5 established organisations to mentor new and emerging organisations.

Our Credibility:   One of the few multi-award winning NGO’s in South Africa contributing to rural development.  We have a diverse funding base - raised more than R79 million since 2005 from government, corporates and other income generated programmes.  Over the last 5 years Scat has funded, capacitated and mentored 250 LDAs with an average of 850 beneficiaries per community, thus contributing directly to the lives of over 212 500 and indirectly to 1 062 500 people. Scat has dedicated qualified, experienced and skilled staff with unqualified external audits since inception with good governance and monitoring by voluntary board of Trustees. Scat’s model is proven to effectively strengthen and build rural partnerships.

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