On 23 December 1993 Frank Lüder of the DSJW in Germany [named the GSAYA/German South African Youth Association in English] contacted Arno Faul to find out if they could send some volunteers to the Marico Bushveld Community Development Association [which became the MRDP in January 1997] to participate in the work of development. In 1994 the first 8 volunteers visited the CDA. In 1995 about 30 volunteers were accommodated within the framework of the Rural Foundation. In 1996 the formal structures of CDA`s were mostly closed down when the government subsidy was withdrawn. In September 1996 the GSAYA came to visit RSA and they contacted Arno Faul, with the intention of continuing with the development activities in the Marico Bushveld within a different structure called the Madikwe Rural Development Programme. A new budget was drawn up which would enable the developer to continue with his activities of development, basically as a volunteer (which is the same way that the German volunteers are accommodated into the programme). The MRDP is based on the farm of Quiet Living CC [one of the Emerging Farmers projects supported by the MRDP].
The MRDP facilitate volunteers from DSJW through two types of programmes, the less formal Classic programme where volunteers come anytime and for any length of time as fits them, paying their own costs fully and the formal Weltwärts programme, initiated and supported by BMZ in 2008, where volunteers come from August to August.
The Classic programme has been running continuously since 1994 and through the MRDP many other partners became involved in this programme, e.g. Abraham Kriel and Tlholego Eco Village.
The volunteer programme of the MRDP is a very important mainstay of the NPO, as these volunteers become multiplying agents of change.
The philosophy of the MRDP is to maintain the development infrastructure of the MRDP so that any community member that has a need for development interventions can access this through the MRDP.