Local associations can support the participation of the poorer sections in managing and implementing new activities. The Comprehensive Rural Operations Service Society (CROSS) of Andhra Pradesh, India, organizes village associations to give poor people the opportunity and structure to make decisions about their own lives and make plans to tackle problems of social and human rights. The associations support the development work of CROSS in many ways. The associations are a basic structure to give poor villages an opportunity to be united in decisions about their lives and livelihoods. They gain the self-confidence and courage to meet their own requirements individually and in the community as a whole.
Harassment and atrocities against harijans are very rare in CROSS villages. In most cases the traditional leadership is questioned and associations have taken a lot of power into their hands. There are associations for both men and women. They efficiently manage the revolving funds for fertilisers. If any member fails to repay on time they exert social pressure rather than use coercive methods often practised by local co-operative banks. The members have started repaying the amounts borrowed for the community wells into accounts in some villages. This has removed the doubts of outsiders who had misgivings about the capacity of a village association to operate revolving funds.