SCAT: Walking into the sunset

Wednesday, 28 August, 2002 - 23:00

The Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT): Cape TownSCAT is an independent grantmaking and human rights NGO. It was established in 1985 to fund and support organisations providing paralegal service an

The Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT): Cape Town

SCAT is an independent grantmaking and human rights NGO. It was established in 1985 to fund and support organisations providing paralegal service and support during the anti-apartheid era. With the freeing of political activity in 1990, there was a radical shift in funding patterns - services such as SCAT became less important. However, the organisations supported by SCAT were still important institutions within communities - while change was coming, it was coming slowly, and even more slowly to the rural areas. Rural areas continued to suffer from human rights infringements; minimal standards of socio-economic justice; few economic opportunities; inadequate educational, training, and other social opportunities. Furthermore, increasing poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic continued to eat away at the social fabric in the rural areas. In 1990, SCAT took a strategic turn, pointing it to supporting local development agencies (LDA).

Today, SCAT provides rural organisations with financial and institutional support, enabling them to manage and account for their financial and human resources. It enables rural organisations to account in a responsible and acceptable manner to their communities and funders, and it is helping rural communities design and implement strategic planning, evaluation, and impact assessments. In 2001, SCAT disbursed more than R10.7 million to fund and support sixty-four organisations.

The reduction of foreign aid by international governments, and the withdrawal from South Africa by some international development agencies is posing severe risks to SCAT's sustainability. As such, SCAT is positioning a new resource mobilization strategies that will encourage and enable LDAs to fundraise within their own communities - a strategy called FundRaising Incentive Scheme (FRIS). Often called a sunset-strategy, the initiative will allow for the sustainability of SCAT's benefits, even if SCAT should cease to exist.

For every Rand raised by an LDA, FRIS will equal it with R5. LDAs develop creative fundraising schemes such as concerts and cultural events, sports tournaments, raffles, dances, and income generation. The local fundraising schemes provide additional resources to the LDA, encourage interest and involvement in the work of the organisation amongst its constituents, fosters accountability and a sense of community ownership for the LDA, and provides an opportunity to share information and knowledge within the community.

As local sustainability builds, FRIS will eventually scale down its matching scheme to R1 for every R1.

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