The social and economic fabric of rural communities has and continues to be threatened by factors such as lack of job opportunities, effects of recent droughts on subsistence farming, and the devastating impact of diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS. Various programmes and interventions have been created to try to alleviate poverty in rural areas. These have included welfare grants to poor communities and attempts to promote small and medium enterprise development, including funding of income-generating projects by government departments and funding agencies. The problem, however, is that most of these programmes and interventions are not sustainable.
Saide's research has indicated several factors are critical to sustainable rural development and some of these include:
- Improved and enhanced access to training programmes covering technical, management and social aspects of service delivery to local councillors, CBOs, members of communities, and cooperatives increases the quality of service delivery to rural communities.
- Programmes to improve the productivity of rural households and give access to education and training programmes that lead to careers in agriculture. Increased ability of schools in rural areas to engage in relevant school development programmes.
- Comprehensive educational programmes on basic health, nutrition and hygiene issues, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS.
- Educational programmes to enable communities to improve delivery and maintenance of services, including water and sanitation and energy, and make better use of existing resources.
Saide recognizes the need to develop and implement sustainable relevant work-integrated development course models aligned to the identified needs of disadvantaged rural and peri-urban communities that are often excluded from accessing formal education. Such programmes would provide alternative learning pathways and experiences that would contribute to rural and peri-urban community development and poverty alleviation.
Saide Community Education Projects
- In response to identified needs (outcomes of earlier research) Saide obtained funding from the WK Kellogg Foundation and together with Unisa College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (CAES) in designing (curriculum), developed and piloted a community based short learning programme with a focus on developing community development workers’ skills in the area of Household Food Security and Nutrition.
- The Family Maths Programme Evaulation took place in three provinces focussing on the influence of the programme on school results, mathematical understanding and conceptual change on the part of learners.
- The Kellogg Rural Development Research Project aimed to lay the foundations for harnessing the potential of distance education methods to develop high quality, large scale educational interventions to contribute to the eradication of poverty in South Africa, particularly in rural areas.
- Yizo Yizo 2 - SAIDE and the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) were employed to evaluate the educational success of the SABC’s controversial youth series.