The work of the MRDP started in the early 80’s. Students of the University of Stellenbosch, studying Education and Social Science, started to teach illiterate farm workers of the neighbouring wine farms. They gave inputs such as leisure time activities, life skills training and adult literacy. The training and the care of the students led to a higher motivation and enthusiasm of the workers. The farmers in the area noticed that on the wine farms where the volunteers worked the productivity of the workers was much higher than on other farms and that there were fewer problems, within the work environment as well as in the social environment. The number of farmers working together with the students increased steadily and in 1983 the Rural Foundation was established. With the Rural Foundation they conceptualised a structure that could manage and direct the work of the students on a more formal base and which can get financial support from the government. Farmers from Skuinsdrift heard about the project and realized the necessity of improving the life – and working relations in the region. They founded the „Marico Bushveld Community Development Association (CDA)“ in 1986. In January1989 they appointed Arno Faul as development facilitator and this is what he does in the Madikwe region since then. Various projects were done in the time from 1989 till 2017. On many farms infrastructure was built for the workers, using subsidy money from the government. This included houses, toilets and water for the houses. Some houses were also electrified. At the same time the workers were also trained as builders and carpenters. An intermediate school was built on Quiet Living farm over a period of 6 years and for a total amount of R420 000.00 Formal training programmes were executed such as technical training, management training, and health training where farm worker women were trained as lay health workers, productivity training and many others. An estimated amount of ca. R1 000 000.00 was spent on this over the years. Informal training programmes included literacy training, how to run committees and also training of the lekgotlhas (traditional courts) that were revitalised. Intensive training was done with the farmers in terms of labour management over a period of 6 years and many labour legislation laws were implemented within the farm context. In 1995 the CDA got R500 000.00 to create work for the unemployed to take out all the alien trees out of the Marico Bushveld dam basin. This project created employment for 765 people. They took out an estimated 20 000 eucalyptus trees, using only axes and saws. The project lasted one year. With the help of funds from the Independent Development Trust a lot of projects were done such as road building, vegetable gardens, crèches and infrastructure. This amounted up to a total of ca R1 200 000.00. All in all an amount of more than R4 million were turned over in the period 1989 till June 1996 through the development inputs of the developer and the CDA. In 2001 and 2006 two emerging farmers projects started, Quiet Living CC and Open Area Development CC. The MRDP is still trying to support these emerging farmers to become successful and autonomous. Through the interventions of the MRDP, and by extension through the volunteer programme, more creches were built, soup kitchens started, youth work expanded and after school support, combined with computer literacy is done. The MRDP started cooperating with Qhubeka in 2013 with a poverty alleviation project where up to 25 jobs are created by assembling the Buffalo bicycles of Qhubeka. In conjuction with this another 45 jobs are created whenever the MRDP gets an order from The Beadcoalition to make bracelets for them. Another poverty alleviation project is the Blankets4Bicycle project in cooperation with Qhubeka where 50 women are involved.
At present the MRDP cooperates with many partners in the greater Madikwe region where the MRDP facilitates the inputs of its volunteers.