Organizations in rural areas are formed for a wide variety of purposes and assume a multitude of roles. Their objectives may be economic, social, religious, mutual welfare or community integration. They may be homogeneous or heterogeneous, class-specific or multi-class; they may be formed on the basis of residence, or ethnic, kin or occupational affiliations. Organizations are often not bound by their expressed or unexpressed objectives: a religious organization may intervene in the economic or political sphere just as a « burial society » may extend itself to engage in welfare or investment activities. This flexibility – an element not frequently found in legally bound, modem organizations- is both a strength and a weakness.
CODESRIA, 1991. 40 p.
(CODESRIA Working Paper, n° 1)