Seeking your support for a new scan of rural civil society in South Africa


Phuhlisani has been contracted by PLAAS to carry out a scan of rural civil society to identify the range of new rural organizational formations (self-help organizations, farmers’ unions, community organizations, and so on) and the different ways in which citizens (and non-citizens) and government bodies relate.

The scan aims to explore innovative ways in which researchers and organizations in rural civil society can work together in linking research to policy engagement from ‘below’.  It seeks to identify how research can best empower rural civil society organizations in their dealings with government and with other role players and deepen the democratisation of the policy process.

We are in search of new information that goes beyond the usual discussions of rural civil society, to help inform fresh thinking and a deeper understanding of the strategic issues involved in relations between poor, marginalized rural people, their organizations, and organs of the state,

The research questions

·         Who is out there?  How are rural people currently organizing themselves; in what organizational forms? 

·         How do they engage with the organs that govern them? This aspect of the analysis should provide in broad terms a typology of the different strategic approaches at the disposal of poor rural people and their organizations. 

·         What is the role (or the potential role) of information, knowledge and research in strengthening the position of the rural poor in their interactions with the State and other developmental actors?

·         Where does absence of knowledge, or a lack of ability to make use of available information and knowledge, hamper or disempower poor rural people? 

·         How do rural organisations and people currently use information in the pursuit of their goals?

·         What forms of media or information are most appropriate to reach organisations operating in different rural settings?

·         What is the impact (if any) of organizations that produce policy-relevant knowledge in this sector?

Our approach

We are involved in:

·         An in-depth review of the literature

·         Collecting, cleaning and amalgamating existing data from different sources to develop a consolidated data base of rural organisations  and agencies in different categories including:

o   self-help organizations,

o   farmers’ associations,

o   community organizations,

o   co-operatives

o   commonage users

o   members of share equity schemes

o   people co-owning land acquired through the land reform programme

o   people involved in co management agreements

o   councils of stakeholders in CRDP pilot sites

o   community work programmes

o   church land management bodies

o   rural NGOs

·         Interviews with selected key informants

·         Case study identification

·         Documenting  innovative approaches and practises to strengthen linkages between research- rural CSOs for improved strategic engagement locally and nationally

·         Mapping of potential knowledge sharing frameworks

Join the conversation

If you can contribute to this research process in any way – documents, databases, spreadsheets, contact lists we would like to hear from you. All contributions will be acknowledged and attributed and we will keep you updated on the research outcomes.


Examining the state of rural civiil  society
Examining the state of rural civiil society
Posted: 9/16/2011 (6:38:42 AM)

Copyright © 2008-2010 Phuhlisani Solutions. All rights reserved.