Rural Self-Reliance Development Center

Organizational Profile

Rural Self-Reliance Development Center (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). It has been promoting and implementing the idea of Swabalamban as a
conceptual and programmatic tool for catalyzing and revitalizing the hope, aspirations as well as
the capabilities of the poor and oppressed households over past two decades.
To liberate the rural poor marginalized and disadvantaged groups in communities from deprivation by implementing sustainable socio-economic development activities based on values of self-reliance and self-respect at the grass roots.
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
participatory process.
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 the
lives of the poor and oppressed sections of the population, viz, those who were left behind by the
past developmental endeavors.

Harnessing the latent capacity of the poor households by helping them
to 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 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 household to
harness their own potential 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 process. The purpose eventually is to promote institutional mechanisms for
effective pro-poor governance.

In terms of organizing communities, at the primary level, homogenous 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 as institutional
mechanisms of self-reliant pro poor governance and grassroots democracy.

At present, RSDC has its presence in 16 Districts ie Palpa, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke,
Bardiya, Surkhet, Dailekh, Kalikot, Makwanpur, Sarlahi, Dhanusha, Bajhang, Mahottari,
Nuwakot, Sunsari and Sindhupalchok. Under its Swabalamban program/project, it is currently
providing services to more than 50,000 households belonging to more than 1,900 IGGs in 178
Village Development Committees (VDCs) through the same number (174) of SSCCs.

Coverage and programmatic thrust of RSDC

District Programmatic thrust Project period Donor Household coverage Geographic region Main ethnic groups
Palpa First experiment of the concept of self-reliant development 1991-2000 Helvetas 7842 Pahad Magar, Kumal, Bahun, Chhetri, Dalit


Capacity development of the poor for self-reliant development 1992-1999 Denish 4166 Terai Bahun, Chhetri, Tharu, Mushahar


Community  institution building to support the functioning of  Marchawar Lift Irrigation 1998-2000 UNCDF 3650 Terai Madeshi, Dalit, Muslim
Kapilbastu Organized capacity development of the poor for  enabling democratic state 2002-2008 DFID 4997 Terai Madhesi, Dalits, Muslim, Pahadi Janajati
Makwanpur Same as above 2002-2008 DFID 2973 Terai Bahun, Chhetri, Janjati, Dalits
Dhanusha Same as above 2002-2008 DFID 3252 Terai Madhesi, Dalits
Mahottari Same as above 2002-2008 DFID 2471 Terai Madhesi, Dalits
Sarlahi Same as above 2002-2008 DFID 2574 Terai Madhesi, Dalits, Muslim
Banke Organized capacity development for self-reliant development 1992-2009 Helvetas 2640 Terai Madhesi, Dalit, Muslim
Bardia Same as above 1992-2009 Helvetas 4256 Terai Tharu , Janjati , Dalit, Bahun, Chhetri,
Bardiya Economic self-reliant development for vulnerable communities 2010- PAF 2827 Terai Madhesi, Tharu, Pahadi ethnic communities, Dalits
Bardiya Strengthening flood resilience  of communities in vulnerable areas 2012-2014 Maltezor Inter


934 Terai Tharu, Pahadi ethnic groups, Dalits
Surkhet Organized capacity development for self-reliant development Helvetas Pahad Janajati, Dalit, Bahun, Chhetri
Dailekh Same as above 1992-2009 Helvetas 2519 Pahad Bahun, Chhetri, Thakuri, Dalits
Kalikot Capacity development of local NGOs and CBOs for institutional development 2008-2013 Helvetas, Fastnoffer 1330 Himal Bahun, Chhetri, Thakuri, Dalits


Bajhang Food sovereignty and right based development 2013- ongoing Fastnopfer 361 Himal Bahun, Chhetri, Thakuri, Dalits


Nuwakot Increasing household income through agriculture production 2015


DfID 1658 Pahad Janajati, Dalit


Disaster Resilient Community Support Program in 6 VDCs of Nuwakot district 2016


Malteser International 3,015 Pahad Janajati, Dalit
Sindhupalchok Relief and Rehabilitation of earthquake victims 2015 HELP, Germany 1710 Pahad Bahun, Chhetri, Janajati, Dalits


Sunsari Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities in Sunsari district 2016


Malteser International 3000 Terai Madeshi, Muslim, Dalit, Janajati

Sunsari district
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.
RSDC has implemented Economic self-reliant development for vulnerable communities in four
erstwhile VDCs (Belawa, Motipur, Neulapur and Saurahawa) of Bardiya district under the
funding of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF). Similarly, it has also implemented a Pilot Project on
Disaster Risk Reduction in three VDCs (Belawa, Neulapur and Saurahaawa) of Bardiya District
with the financial assistance of Malteser International. Likewise, with the partnership of Malteser
International, DRR/WASH program was implemented in erstwhile VDCs such as Rajapur,
Bhimapur and Khairichandanpur of Bardiya district funded by BMZ. It prepared an
Environmental database study of Jhadawa VDC in Palpa District with the financial assistance
from Institute of Social and Environment Transition (ISET).
Currently, RSDC is implementing the following projects with various donors
 Food Sovereignity Project in Bajhang District with the financial support of Fastenopfer.
 Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities in Sunsari district project with the
partnership of Malterser International with the financial support of BMZ.
 Disaster Resilient Community Support Program in 6 VDCs of Nuwakot district with the
financial support of Malteser International
 Increasing household income through agriculture production project in Nuwakot with the
financial support of DFID in partnership with Learning for life.

Organizational Structure
RSDC is governed by a General Assembly of 29 members, and managed by a Management
Committee of nine members. Dr Devendra Raj Panday is the Founding member and Patron of
RSDC, Mr. Rajendra Dahal is the Chairman, and Hari Bhattarai, the Board member Secretary of
Management Committee. Other members include, Ms. Savitri Devkota the treasurer, Ms. Aruna
Chaudhari, Dr. Indra Prasad Tiwari, Mr. Binod Sijapati, Mr. Ram Risal, Ms. Mathura Mulepati,
Mr. Tulsi Ram Rana .
At the program level, RSDC executes programs through the following staff management pattern:
(i) Program Coordinator; and
(ii) Women Coordinators/Social Development Promoters, Fund Mobilizers, and sector
specialists (i.e., Agriculturalist, Engineers, Veterinarians, etc, as required) at the field
(iii) The Program Director and Project Director are appointed to head the overall
management on a case-by- case basis.

At present, 19 full-time staff are deployed in the field and 10 (six professionals and four 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 174 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 manpower base willing
to get involved in RSDC undertakings as and when the opportunity arises. Building on such a
strong foundation RSDC can mobilize people and their institutions to face challenges of socio-
economic transformation of the poor and deprived communities. With past experience and a
wealth of committed manpower, RSDC is in a position not only to mobilize existing resources to
meet new challenges but is also ready to expand its activities to new frontiers, i.e., adjoining
VDCs, districts and regions.
Field Offices
RSDC’s field offices are located in the following districts:
1. Bajhang (Gadaraya)
2. Nuwakot (Bidur)
3. Nuwakot (Thansingh)
4. Sunsari (Inaruwa)