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.
There are still numerous problems with engaging community involvement in developing countries. To create a community organization, it is usually only people who want to be involved in a group activity that will join, and often the leader of the community will determine who can participate. In most rural areas in developing countries, this automatically precludes the involvement of the poorest and the female populations. As a result, community activities that reach out to engage these interest parties, are simultaneously disrupting and disturbing traditional social and power structures. It is precisely these people that have the greatest dependency needs, and if their interests are not fundamentally integrated into a community activity, the long term success rate of the planning efforts is limited.
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.