Rural Self-Reliance Development Centre
Rural Self-Reliance Development Centre (RSDC), a non-profit-making and non-governmental organization affiliated with the Social Welfare Council, was registered in 1991 with the Kathmandu District Administration Office under the Social Organizations Registration Act 2034 BS (1977 AD). For three decades it has been promoting and implementing the idea of Swabalamban as a conceptual and programmatic tool for catalyzing and revitalizing the hope, aspirations, and capabilities of poor and oppressed households.
To liberate poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged groups in rural communities from deprivation by implementing sustainable socio-economic development activities based on values of self-reliance and self-respect at the grass roots.
To help the rural poor in general and those from marginalized and deprived communities in
particular to assert their rights to development and usher in democratic governance through a
To develop, promote, enhance, and strengthen the social, economic, environmental, and political (governance) state of affairs for a continuous and progressive improvement in the quality of life of the poor and oppressed sections of the population, viz., those left behind by past developmental endeavors.
Harnessing the latent capacity of poor households by helping themto organize themselves for solidarity and higher productivity:
- to develop self-confidence,
- to respect each other’s social position and economic capacity in the community,
- to mobilize and use whatever resources are available in the community for productive purposes,
- to demand access to public resources and services meant for them.
RSDC makes interventions that are designed to enhance the capabilities of rural households to harness their own potentials for economic and social empowerment. The households are encouraged to become the “doer” rather than the “receiver” of development efforts. Strategies are developed by considering beneficiaries as groups of integrated households with integrated needs and potential to improve their socioeconomic status. RSDC plays a catalytic role in
encouraging deprived communities to organize themselves in ways they understand and can internalize. The purpose eventually is to promote institutional mechanisms for effective pro-poor governance.
In terms of organizing communities, at the primary level, homogeneous groups known as Income Generating Groups (IGGs) are formed each consisting of 20 to 35 members. Once these groups attain a sizable number and/ or a viable scale, they are encouraged to form Self-Reliant Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SSCC). In many ways, the SSCCs are demand-driven institutions created by the poor for the poor at the grassroots. Even though the names IGG and SSCC suggest economic and financial functions of these groups, in reality, they serve more as institutional mechanisms of self-reliant pro-poor governance and grassroots democracy.
At present, RSDC is present in 16 Districts, i.e. Palpa, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Dailekh, Kalikot, Makawanpur, Sarlahi, Dhanusha, Bajhang, Mahottari,Nuwakot, Sunsari and Sindhupalchok. Under the Swabalamban program/project, RSDC is currently providing services to more than 50,000 households belonging to more than 2,100 IGGs in 178 erstwhile Village Development Committees (VDCs) through the same number (178) of SSCCs.
Program Activities and Accomplishments
During the first decade of its existence RSDC extended its activities to 268 VDCs in 18 districts,implementing programs/projects under the banners of Self-Reliant Development of the Poor by the Poor and Self-Reliant Poverty Alleviation Program with the support of GTZ, Royal Danish Embassy, Helvetas, UN Capital Development Fund, DFID and CADP/ Nepal, among others.Activities implemented with the support of donors include social mobilization, local infrastructure development and construction, health, education, sanitation and climate change.
Currently, RSDC is implementing the following projects with various donors:
· Food Sovereignty Project in Khaptad Channa Rural Municipality of Bajhang District with the financial support of Fastenopfer.
· Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities in Koshi Rural Municipality and Barahachhetra Municipality of Sunsari district with the partnership of Malteser International, and the financial support of BMZ.
· Disaster Resilient Community Support Program in 3 Rural Municipalities of Nuwakot district with the financial support of Malteser International
Its national level institution consists of a general assembly of 29 members with social activists, former RSDC motivators, and individuals from the communities who have worked together with RSDC in the past. The General Assembly consists of highly motivated development professionals as its trustees who elect a Managing Board to provide policy guidelines and set standards for the management of RSDC. Members of the Managing Board including the Board contribute to the program as volunteers. The national office is headed by the Executive Chief, with a few professional and logistic staff.
At present, 18 full-time staff are deployed in the field and 8 (five professionals and three support) at the head office. However, RSDC also possesses a roster of former staff and experts who can be mobilized for deployment at short notice.
The biggest strength RSDC possesses is the more than 50,000 households affiliated with it. This forms a critical mass – people aware of their rights and responsibilities. New ideas and technologies can easily be diffused for adoption by them. Similarly, the 178 SSCCs possess a strong institutional network at the grassroots that is capable of undertaking any marketing and savings/credit mobilization challenges. Then there is a pool of competent human resource-base willing to get involved in RSDC undertakings as and when the opportunity arises. Building on this strong foundation, RSDC can mobilize people and their institutions to face challenges of socio-economic transformation of the poor and deprived communities. With its past experience and a wealth of committed cadre force, RSDC is also ready to expand its activities to new frontiers, i.e., adjoining VDCs, districts and regions.
RSDC’s field offices are located in the following districts:
1. Bajhang (Kalukheti)
2. Nuwakot (Chahare)
3. Sunsari (Inaruwa)