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Participation in Rural Cooperative Projects/Activities Essay

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Section 1- Participation in Rural Cooperative Projects/Activities

(Related to Objective 2 of Thesis, the Level of Participation) including four subsections

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A- Participation in Decision Making: (7 Questions)

1) Do all members of the co-operative have an equal say in planning new projects?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but not on all issues

c. No

2) How does the cooperative discuss key issues?

a. A formal meeting with all members present

b. Informal discussion among small groups

c. Behind closed doors among senior members

3) How does the decision-making body of the cooperative reach a consensus when a dispute arises?

a. Left to discretion of leader/senior members

b. Putting the discussion to vote

c. Debating all available options and reaching a logical consensus

4) Are all the decisions made in line with the cooperative’s goals and values?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but sometimes immediate benefits are given priority

c. No

5) How would you rate your own involvement in the decision-making process?

a. Very active

b. Moderately active

c. Passive

6) How involved are the local government bodies in matters pertaining to the administration of the cooperative.

a. Very involved

b. Very intrusive

c. Very uninvolved

7) Is the concept of democracy prevalent while making critical decisions?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but not always

c. No

B- Participation in Implementation: (5 Questions)

1) How many hours do you allocate per week towards implementing new projects?

a. less than 10 hours

b. 10-25 hours

c. More than 25 hours

2) How do you express your ideas to fellow cooperative members?

a. Informal meeting

b. Formal discussion

c. Written communication

3) Are fellow members welcoming of your suggestions while implementing new projects?

a. Yes, always

b. Yes, sometimes

c. No

4) Does the implementation phase closely follow the ideas laid down in the planning phase?

a. Yes, always

b. Yes, sometimes

c. No

5) What difficulties are most prevalent while implementing new plans?

a. Opposition from other cooperative members

b. Socio-economic factors

c. Political pressure

C- Participation in Benefit Sharing: (6 Questions)

1) Which mode of communication is most preferred to educate fellow citizens about the benefits of joining cooperatives?

a. Through flyers/ bulletin boards

b. Auditory announcements in religious/ public forums

c. Street theater/ plays

2) Are benefits of the cooperative equally split among all the members?

a. Yes, always

b. Yes, mostly

c. No

3) Is there an effective system in place to ensure that benefits are equally shared?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but it is not so effective

c. No

4) Does the local community approve of the concept of benefit-sharing?

a. Yes, the local community welcomes the idea

b. Yes, but the community is ambivalent of the idea

c. No, the community does not welcome the idea

5) Do local political bodies/militant groups interfere with the benefit-sharing process?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

6) Do you strongly believe that cooperatives are good for the local community?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but there is still a long way to go

c. No

D- Participation in Evaluation: (5 Questions)

1) Does the cooperative body employ a system to evaluate the outcome of projects?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but it is not that effective

c. No

2) Is a feedback mechanism in place to get inputs from members regarding execution of plans?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but it is not that effective

c. No

3) What would be your personal evaluation of the cooperative’s previous year performance?

a. Good

b. Average

c. Poor

4) When was the last time you shared your feedback/views with other members?

a. Sometime within the past 6 days

b. Sometime within the past 6 weeks

c. Never

5) Do you receive any feedback or suggestions from other members regarding the past years’ performance?

a. Frequently

b. Sometimes

c. Never

Section 2- Capacity Building in Rural Cooperative Projects/Activities

(Related to Objective 3 of Thesis, the Level of Capacity Building including four subsections

A- Community Leadership: (7 Questions)

1) Which skills are perceived to be very important in a good leader?

a. Involvement in community-related activities

b. Good rapport with political and religious bodies

c. Good decision-making and management skills

2) Does socio-economic background qualify one to become a leader?

a. Yes, almost always

b. Yes, at times

c. No

3) How is the leader chosen?

a. By voting

b. Based on a common consensus

c. Nominated by senior members

4) Does the concept of leadership vary in a cooperative from other organizations such as private corporations or government offices?

a. Yes, totally different environments

b. Yes, to an extent

c. No

5) Which is the most powerful sociological aspect that benefits a leader’s popularity?

a. Political ties

b. Religious influence

c. Family background

6) How often does the leadership change?

a. On a regular scheduled basis

b. Depending upon the performance of the leader

c. Once in a generation

7) Is there an evaluation process to appraise the leader’s performance?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but it is not effective

c. No

B- Skills, Knowledge:(5 Questions)

1) Do members of the cooperative possess basic qualifications/ experience before joining?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but not necessarily

c. No

2) Are all members of the cooperative given formal training to perform their roles?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but not always

c. No

3) Does the cooperative actively try to update its members with the latest trends and know-how?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but sometimes it lags behind

c. No

4) Are members encouraged to periodically measure their level of skill acquisition?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but it is not mandatory

c. No

5) Which is the most effective learning tool in helping members gain new skill-sets?

a. workshops

b. computer-based learning

c. one-on-one training

C- Community Power: (5 Questions)

1) Community power, according to you is:

a. The ability of a community to work together for mutual progress

b. The ability of a community to respect each other as equals

c. Both of the above

2) Are team building exercises conducted to improve coordination among members?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but not a regular basis

c. No

3) Have things changed in terms of productivity, as a result of community power?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

4) Have crime rates reduced as a result of community power and cooperative benefit sharing?

a. Yes

b. Hard to say

c. No

5) How has the power of community influenced your hopes of socio-economic development in Garmsar?

a. Very optimistic of the future

b. Ambivalent

c. Still worried and uncertain

D- Community Participation: (6 Questions)

1) How often do members gather together to host events that foster a sense of community?

a. Once a month

b. Once a fortnight

c. Once a week

2) What kinds of events are hosted to improve participation?

a. Cultural events

b. Outdoor activities

c. Family dinners/picnics

3) Do you feel that the current generation is more community oriented than the previous?

a. Yes

b. Hard to say

c. No

4) Do you encourage family and friends to be part of the rural cooperative?

a. No

b. Sometimes

c. Often

5) Which method has been very effective in improving community participation, thus far?

a. Personal invitation from senior members/leader

b. Incentive of entertainment in the community event

c. Inspirational speeches in events

6) How does the future look, in terms of community participation?

a. The future looks very bright

b. Hard to predict

c. The future looks very bleak

Section 3- Empowerment in Rural Cooperative Projects/Activities

(Related to Objective 4 of Thesis, the Level of Empowerment including three subsections

A- Community Social:(6 Questions)

1) Do your fellow cooperative members feel empowered while working in a group?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but not always

c. No

2) Have you ever witnessed a person transform from a religious extremist to moderate citizen, as a result of joining the cooperative?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but it is a rare occurrence

c. No

3) Has instilling community power raised social consciousness pertaining to issues such as gender equality?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but there is still a long way to go

c. No

4) Has inculcating a sense of community improved humane aspects such as anti-war sentiments and tolerance?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

5) Is community power successful in opening up channels of information such as the Internet to facilitate learning?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

6) Do cooperatives take interest in social causes in the local community?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but there is still a long way to go

c. No

B- Community Political: (6 Questions)

1) To what extent does the government support the functioning of rural cooperatives?

a. Fully supports cooperatives

b. Ambivalent toward cooperatives

c. Intrudes into the functioning of cooperatives

2) Has community power made people more politically active, in terms of voter turnout?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

3) Have members of the cooperative tried competing in local elections?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only a very few people

c. No

4) Are cooperatives backed by religious groups, since they are based on the concept of wealth distribution?

a. Yes

b. Yes, they are not actively involved in structuring policy and decision-making

c. No

5) Has any rural cooperative that you know of become affiliated with political/religious extremist groups?

a. Yes

b. Not sure

c. No

6) Does any political party officially endorse rural cooperatives?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but they use the affiliation for political gains

c. No

C- Community Economic: (7 Questions)

1) Has the standard of life of members improved as result of being part of the cooperative?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

2) Do members believe that they could become self-sufficient without the help of big corporations and governments?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but there is still a long way to go

c. No

3) Do you feel that the local economy is more stable as a result of cooperatives?

a. Yes

b. Hard to say

c. No

4) Have you witnessed a member change his unlawful/wrongful ways, as result of the economic stability provided by cooperatives?

a. Yes, happens often

b. Yes, but only a very few people

c. No

5) Can you think of any rural cooperative that has outdone a private/government organization in reputation and economic growth?

a. Yes

b. In terms of reputation, but not in terms of economic growth

c. No

6) Do you believe that cooperatives significantly contribute to Garmsar’s economy?

a. Yes

b. Yes, but only to a negligible extent

c. No

7) Do you believe a sense of accountability to the community/cooperative could be stronger than a personal urge to accumulate more wealth?

a. Yes, at all times

b. Yes, at most times

c. No

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