Four NGOs Launch Research Campaign to Analyse Funding Practices by the Lotteries to Civil Society

Four influential organisations in the non-profit sector have launched a research project to establish why the National Lotteries Distribution Fund (NLDF) and the National Development Agency (NDA) have been ineffective  in their  roles to provide support for those in need in South Africa.

The four organisations are Social Change Assistance Trust, Community Development Resource Agency, Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement, and Rural Education Access Programme. The announcement of the launch comes in the wake of increasing reports that charities and other organisations in civil society are struggling to cope in the current recession.

In a statement released today the organisations note that there have also been several media reports recently relating to the tardiness of the NLDF in responding to applications from organisations in civil society.

Speaking on behalf of Scat, CDRA, Inyathelo and REAP, Shelagh Gastrow said: “We have agreed that neither the NLDF nor the NDA are meeting their mandates, as defined in law, nor are they realising their potential to address South Africa’s development challenges. The scope of their funding is limited and beneficiary constituencies appear to have no say in the strategies of these agencies.”

The four organisations said that the NLDF and the NDA should have effective mechanisms to channel public resources to the non public sector. “However, these agencies have developed a bureaucratic approach and technocrats within them have increasingly played a role in defining development.”

Civil society had also not found effective ways to engage government. James Taylor of CDRA added that the four organisations had noted that there had been cause to “take on” the lotteries and the NDA amidst much anecdotal evidence of poor funding practice, lost documentation, inefficiency and lack of care. “We believe that any action taken by civil society needs to be based on grounded facts established through research and analysis. We plan to undertake this exercise and commit to disseminating our findings to the civil society sector, encouraging organisations to use the material and information in a myriad of ways such as in campaigns, engagement with the state or in parliament,” he said.

As a second stage of their work, the four organisations will undertake research into other funding resources to the sector. This will involve not only size and scope, but also the processes involved including issues relating to power relations, mutual accountability, decision-making, long-term planning and commitments, and the effectiveness of funding relationships and exit strategies. Interim reports will be released during the research process to create awareness of key findings as they emerge.

Ultimately, the aim of the group’s research will be to enable the non-profit sector to take responsibility to define what it sees as the basic principles of good funding practice in South Africa that would

  • promote human relationships and caring;
  • respond to the context and the constituency;
  • encourage good development practice;
  • create opportunities for organisations and people to engage in civic life; and
  • enable civil society to take responsibility for our sector and its importance in ensuring democracy and the protection of the poor and vulnerable.


Issued by Quo Vadis Communications on behalf of Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement, Social Change Assistance Trust, Centre for Developmental Practice and Rural Education Access Programme
The South African Institute of Advancement, colloquially known as Inyathelo (advancement in isiXhosa) is a world-recognised organisation dedicated to building a sustainable South African civil society.  Its core work is to advance social change by working with key institutions and non-profit organisations to ensure their long-term sustainability. This is done by developing their own capacity to raise private investment towards advancing their objectives.  Whilst working with organisations to develop their resource mobilisation skills.  The Institute promotes social responsibility, personal philanthropy, voluntarism and self-reliance.
The Social Change Assistance Trust (Scat) is an independent fund-raising and grant-making development agency. Its vision is of vibrant and sustainable communities in rural South Africa.  Its mission is to partner with rural community-owned agencies in order to improve the quality of life in their communities. Scat works within a partnership context to support such local agencies in development and human rights work in rural communities of the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape and the North West Provinces.  The focus is on human rights, gender equity, HIV, AIDS and local economic development. The rural partner organisations, which Scat refers to as Local Development Agencies (LDAs), are managed by elected members of the communities they serve.
Centre for Developmental Practice (CDRA) works with development practitioners, organisations and movements who are engaged in social transformation with marginalised communities. They aim to bring about and support authentic and coherent development practice amongst people, organisations and institutions working towards those forms of social transformation. Their purpose is to contribute to building a society that is sustainable and civil and they promote organising principles, processes and practices that promote inclusion, dignity and development.  
The Rural Education Access Programme assists students from poor rural communities to access tertiary education. REAP provides students with a support and development programme to enable success with their studies. It aims to develop confident young South Africans, with capacity and sound values. REAP calls on state mechanisms such as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to assist poor students and it provides add-on value necessary for their success.

Media Contact:    
Chantal Meugens
Quo Vadis Communications
Cell phone: 083 676 2294 / landline: 011 487 0026
Interviews can be arranged through Quo Vadis Communications
Client Contact:    
Shelagh Gastrow
Phone: 021 465 6981
James Taylor
Phone: 021 462 3902

Four influential organisations in the NGO sector have launched a research project to establish why the National Lotteries Distribution Fund (NLDF) and the National Development Agency (NDA) have been ineffective in their roles to provide support for those in need in South Africa.

Date published: 
Thursday, 27 August, 2009
Inyathelo-The South African Institute for Advancement

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