well as activities of their cooperatives. According to International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), cooperation is a form of organization where members join together as human beings to satisfy their economic, social and cultural needs. The cooperatives are expected to attend less towards profits and more towards services. They are expected to supply essential goods on one hand and services on the other hand, as close to cost as possible. Other than the provision of economic services in terms of cheap availability of goods to the community, the cooperatives are conceived as social organizations which educate the people in economic management. (Selvaraj R. 2000,) As defined by Davis (1969), participation is a mental and emotional involvement of a person in a group situation which encourages him to contribute to goals and shares responsibilities in them. According to UNO (1979), participation means sharing by people the benefits of development, active contribution by people to development and involvement of people in decision making at all levels of society. WHO (1982) defined participation as the process by which individuals, families or communities assume responsibility for their own health, welfare and develop the capacity to contribute to their own and community development. Paul (1987) defined community participation as an active process by which beneficiary or client groups influence the direction and execution of a development project with a view to enhancing their well-being, of income, personal growth, self-reliance or values they cherish. According to UNDP (1993), participation refers to the close involvement of people in the economic, social cultural and political process that affect their lives. People may, in some cases, have complete and direct control over these processes- in other cases; the control may be partial or indirect. The important thing is that people have constant access to decision making and power. According to Vishwanathan (1994), participation is making the members participate in the economic activity and decision making. Participation in decision making is the only means to make them realize that they are the owners of the organization. Participation is a generic term covering a broad range of activities ranging from one-shot problem identification exercise (E.g.: Participatory rural Appraisal) to continuing association in which rural communities and individual farm families play more active role. (Chowdhry and Gilbert, 1996).
13 The concept of community participation refers to the process by people who involve themselves in analyzing the local situation, identifying major problems, formulating action plans, mobilizing locally available resources, and executing development projects in order to access the benefits extended to the community at large or specific target groups during a given point of time.( Narayanaswamy and Boraian 1998). As cited in Surendran (2000), French (1960) referred participation as a process in which two or more parties influence each other in making certain plans, policies, and decisions.