Skat was founded in 1978, attached to the University of St. Gallen. Our initial purpose was to establish a resource centre to document, and make accessible, the experiences of Swiss organizations involved in development cooperation. Particular focus was on the introduction and scaling up of appropriate technologies. The role of Skat staff evolved as simple requests from users of the resource centre developed into more complex consultancies on knowledge transfer..
By the 1990s, the funding landscape had shifted and Skat had to adapt to survive; the decision was taken to become a private consultancy. This dramatic shift was successful and a big part of that success has been the balance between commercial professionalism and a strong ethic to serve the needs of the poorest and most marginalized communities around the world. In 2001 Skat’s Board of Directors decided to set up the Skat Foundation together with the NGOS Helvetas, Caritas, and Swisscontact.
The Skat Foundation is a non-profit institution for sharing and disseminating Skat’s longstanding knowledge and experience with partners in the developing world in a professional manner, and for initiating new activities to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience in development cooperation. This unique arrangement means that Skat Consulting has practical, state-of-the-art experience in development cooperation implementation, action research and knowledge management that meets clients’ needs. Meanwhile Skat Foundation unlocks that knowledge and experience so that a much wider audience can benefit from both the work of Skat and our many partners. It is here that Skat Foundation is making a contribution to those niches where we have a comparative advantage based on our experience and skills, as well as our access to networks and highly qualified professionals. Skat Consulting Ltd. bears all administrative and operating costs of the Skat Foundation.
Currently, Skat Foundation hosts the Secretariat of the Rural Water Supply Network and has a growing portfolio of projects that foster the creation of new knowledge, its documentation and dissemination within all Skat’s areas of expertise.