Restrictions on communal involvement Limits on participation in community development
Regardless of their degree of concern, members of communities often find their ability to participate severely restricted by material and cultural restraints.
Traditionally, the primary centre of corporate life is the clan or extended family, so that large gatherings of villagers occur only at feasts and holidays celebrated by the wider group. Working together in the fields, meeting along the roads or in the home are the only other, informal gatherings within a village. Most families and individuals are burdened by the weight and expenditure of time related to subsistence living, and crowded homes and family size exceeding income capacity increase the obstacles to community engagement. For example, schools are conducted with little adult involvement (partially due also to adult illiteracy), yet the relevance and responsiveness of such an institution depends on the involvement of the parents and other adults of the village.
While people in some communities are requiring less time to earn their livelihood, allowing commensurately more time for community, family, and corporate activities, in rural areas the demanding daily requirements of providing for the family's immediate needs inhibits significant participation in community life and prevent practical care for neighbours. The cycle of subsistence living has a deep impact on the village life-style. The time for the concerted effort required for authentic and effective care for the whole community is thus severely limited, and the community as a unit suffers.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.