Small communities are increasingly faced with the task of shifting their operating base from that of the individual unit to one of the community as a whole. However, in many Third World villages there is no effective social organization arising from the community which allows for a common voice. The existing decision-making process in many communities consumes valuable time as each suggestion progresses through various channels, losing its initial impetus as it moves toward final implementation. Residents experience frustration at the relative lack of community services and fragmented coordination of village events. As many residents tend to be economically and socially involved in structures outside the community, they feel further detached from involvement in community life. Residents seldom run for elected office or participate en masse in registration and voting.
Lack of a local government structure also limits the flow of accurate, objective information regarding available resource opportunities to the residents, and prevents effective procedures for following through once a decision is made. Communication between town leaders and the ordinary citizen is difficult, as there are no formal means for including regular participation in planning. Community issues remain hidden because residents do not create and use channels to activate practical proposals. Residents begin to suspect that nothing can be achieved and adopt a fatalistic 'wait-and-see' attitude.
Because the internal structures in many rural communities lack system or intentionality, it is very hard to build a local consensus on matters of common concern (such as improved health and utility services), despite the wish of local people to take responsibility for the future of their community. Some decisions, such as those affecting water, sewage and street repairs, seem to be made by a few citizens, without the benefit of additional input from the community as a whole. Others, especially those which affect the long-range design of municipal services, do not really get made at all, and residents have no way to determine objectively the merits and disadvantages of a plan.