Launched by the Government of Kerala in 1998 for wiping out absolute poverty from the State through concerted

community action under the leadership of Local Self Governments, Kudumbashree is today one of the largest women-empowering projects in the country. The programme has 37 lakh members and covers more than 50% of the households in Kerala. Built around three critical components, micro credit, entrepreneurship and empowerment, the Kudumbashree initiative has today succeeded in addressing the basic needs of the less privileged women, thus providing them a more dignified life and a better future. Literal meaning of Kudumbashree is prosperity (shree) of family (Kudumbam).

History & Background
Various forms of microfinance practices have been in existence in Kerala from early days. When the concept of Self Help Group was introduced in Kerala in the 1980s, it was quick to gather momentum.

In the early nineties a community led poverty identification format was developed as part of the Alappuzha UBSP Programme. By this time the NABARD promoted SHG, linkage banking programme had established itself as a viable microfinance model. In 1994, the CBNP project of Malappuram tried to assimilate these experiences and develop a women based community structure for service delivery of government programmes. The 73rd & 74th constitutional amendments strengthened PRIs and ULBs. Shortly afterwards, the People's Plan Campaign for decentralised Governance created strong local self governments (Panchayaths and Municipalities) in the State. Kudumbashree was launched in 1998 as a community network that would work in tandem with local self governments for poverty eradication and women empowerment.

The Mission of Kudumbashree

The Mission Statement "To eradicate absolute poverty in ten years through concerted community action under the leadership of local governments. from the national wage employment programme to the jagrathasamiti. The sheer spread is it is only because the local community of women drive the system that it has managed to persevere.The scope of community interface in local governance ± the functioning of Kudumbashree is tied up to the development initiatives of the local government be it for social infrastructure. as a consequence of which village panchayat and municipality. by facilitating organization of the poor for combining self -help with demand-led convergence of available services and resources to tackle the multiple dime nsions and manifestations of poverty. and mind boggling. From food security to health insurance.The universality of reach ± from its very inception Kudumbashree has attempted woman in the state within its fold. It is using these opportunities that Kudumbashree strives to convert a microfinance led financial security model into a more comprehensive model of local economic development. every development experience depends on Kudumbashree to provide the community interface. One of the largest women's movement in Asia with a membership of 37.There are two distinguishing characteristics to Kudumbashree which set it apart from the usual SHG model of empowerment. . from housing to enterprise development. A state initiative for poverty reduction launched on 17th May 1998. colony and hamlet. and to bring every poor today Kudumbashree is present in every in nearly every ward." An innovative community based women-oriented initiative to fight absolute poverty. These are 1. holistically.8 lakhs representing equal number of families. 2. welfare or right based interventions or for employment generation.

In 2010 alone 11. 2. Mobilised a sum of Rs.755 NHGs graded under Linkage Banking Programme.024 people are functioning Sales from monthly market and festival fairs 2010-11(Till Nov) 14.998 NHGs under the Tribal Special Project Under the special Gender Self Learning Programme active participation of 50.05 lakh Neighbourhood Groups(NHG).rural & urban. µBuds¶-31 special schools for physically and mentally challenged children set up under the leadership of the Local Self Government. Functioning of Kudumbashree MIS which is first of its kind in India 74 Kudumbashree IT units with 1.011 destitutes identified.25.4195 crores to the members of Neighbourhood Groups. out of which 1.220 resource persons and 2. Launched SreeShakthi portal which is exclusively for women to participate in active discussions on variuos issues related to them. 3516 individual enterprises and 10620 group (with minimum 5-10 members) enterprises of poor women formed in rural areas.061 Community Development Societies (CDSs) . 17.959 tribal families with 3. 248 entrepreneur groups (Thelima) formed for the municipal solid waste management in urban areas.1140 crores mobilised as credit. 1688 crores as thrift and disbursed loans amounting to Rs.(Yuvashree) Ashraya-Destitute identification and Rehabilitation Project implemented in 909 Local Self Governments and 71.773 women candidates contested panchayath election and 5485 of them had won the elections . Involvement of 55.467 NHGs linked with banks and an amount of Rs. 1.578 Area Development Societies (ADSs) and 1.9 lakh children formed in urban and rural areas.200Women cultivators in 46444 groups for collective farming2009-2010 11916Joint Liabilty Group formed 17 Samagra Projects functioning with the involvement of 32.15 Crores Political Empowerment of Women .121 women 570 group enterprises and 810 individual enterprises started under the Special Employement Programme.50.2 lakhs NHGs ensured.27.37 lakh poor families brought under the community based organisations (CBOs) consisting of 2. 25050 individual enterprises and 1757 group (with minimum 5-10 members) enterprises of women developed in urban areas.37. 54669 Balasabhas (Children¶s Neighbourhood Groups) with 8.

low MMR 0.2%. but active leaders in women involved development initiatives. The purpose of the mission is to ensure that the women should no longer remain as passive recipients of public assistance.refined and implemented. which means prosperity of the family.8/1000. the details of which are available from the government website on Kerala Women  Kerala has a high female literacy rate of 86. just to mention a few. But in spite of all these achievements the conspicuous absence of women in the public domain remains as a paradox of the Kerala model of development.. is the name of the women oriented. community based. where many development experiments are being tested. Kerala is a tiny state lying in the south-west part of Indian federation.Kudumbashree. Kudumbashree project for poverty reduction launched on 17 May 1998 . High Life Expectancy ratio 74 female/70 male etc. a low IMR of 13 (against the national average of 80) a favourable sex ratioof 1032 female/1000 male. The mission aims at the empowerment of women. through forming self help groups and encouraging their entrepreneurial or other wide range of activities. Contents [hide] [1] 1 Women in Kerala 2 The mission 3 Specific objectives 4 History 5 Organisation 6 Strategies 7 Informal banking system 8 Micro-enterprise development 9 Milestones at a glance 10 Awards for Kudumbashree 11 See also 12 References 13 External links Women in Kerala Kerala is a State with an impressive array of achievements in the field of women development and the balance of gender status has stabilised in many fronts. State Poverty Eradication Mission of Government of Kerala. .

4. Encouraging thrift and investment through credit by developing CDSs to work as informal bank of the poor. equal wages for equal work still remains a mirage and gender discrimination at the work place is widely prevalent.6% to 15.7% to 22. sanitary latrines improved shelter and healthy environment. holistically´[2]. Despite the powerful trade union movements. by facilitating organization of the poor for combining self-help with demand-led convergence of available services and resources to tackle the multiple dimensions and manifestations of poverty. cottage and traditional industries and selected service sectors. The violence against women and incidence of sexual harassment continue to increase (number of registered crimes increased from 1862 in 1991 to 4937 in 1996). Ensuring basic amenities like safe drinking water.   The mission The mission of Kudumbashree is ³to eradicate absolute poverty in ten years through concerted community action under the leadership of local governments. Specific objectives The specific objectives are: 1. The economic marginalisation of women in the development process has drawn considerable attention during recent years. Identification of the poor families through risk indices based surveys. While the female work participation rate in India increased from 19. 5. (The unemployment in Kerala is severe and is 3 times larger than that in India. with the active participation of the poor and the communities to which they belong. 6. The incidence of unemployment among females in the State is higher than that among males by 5 times in rural areas and 3 times in urban areas. . active involvement of women in various leadership levels are virtually lacking. Empowering the poor women to improve the productivity and managerial capabilities of the community by organizing them into CBOs.9% during the same period. Improving incomes of the poor through improved skills and investment for self -employment. Despite the general progressive political environment in the State. Ensuring better health and nutrition for all.   The marginalisation of women in the economic process and lack of control over resources have been major impediments in improving the status of women. in Kerala the ratio declined from 16.7% between 1981 and 1991. The sexual division of labour has resulted in the concentration of women in low paying unorganized sectors such as agricultural labour. 2. 3.

7. 8. the un-co-ordinated. Naturally. they were very much susceptible to under-reporting and manipulations. the Government implemented a very ambitious replication of the program in the whole of Malappuram District including the rural areas. Since this aspect gives an opening for the APL families to enter into the community structures envisaged by Kudumbashree. it is further ensured that majority of the office bearers should belong to BPL families. To achieve the specific objectives of the Mission. though the delivery costs of such programmes were exorbitant. But in 1992 an innovative program introduced by the Local Administration Department of the Government of Kerala in Alappuzha Municipality was a fresh ray of hope. Moreover. several auxiliary objectives are pursued methodically. These structures give added importance to women empowerment both social and economic. This was an instant success and was extended to the other urban areas in the State. individual-oriented anti-poverty programs of the Central and State Governments failed to bring about the desired results. belonging to risk families. Enabling the poor to participate in the decentralization process through the CDS. centrally planned. . under which it works. Organisation The following are the community structures suggested for the rural side:    KudumbashreeAyalkoottam (NHG) Kudumbashree Ward Samithy (ADS) KudumbashreePanchayatSamithy (CDS) The paradigm shift in the approach is that any women who is residing in the GramaPanchayat can become a member of the KudumbashreeAyalkoottam irrespective of the fact that she belong to a below poverty line (BPL) Family. Ensuring a minimum of 5 years of primary education for all children. mainly because they didn't allow for the involvement and commitment of the poor and viewed the poor as "resourceless" receivers of benefits. The program created hierarchical community groups of urban poor women identified through objective parameters and empowered the groups to take up community based action in various sectors. as it is a subsystem of the local government. Most of the well conceived. In 1994. income criteria based programs implemented by different agencies did not come good. History Kudumbashree was born off of the collective experience gained from the many anti-poverty programs of the past. rigid. Poverty is a multi-faced sorry state of deprivation. poverty cannot be eradicated or mitigated. Hence by meeting one disadvantage in the lives of the poor.

Kudumbashree is bent on giving necessary resource support and facilitate forward/backward linkages etc. better education.. which will operate as 24-hour bank for the poor. access to drinking water. availing the minimum support from Government.Infrastructural facilities.  More information/training.  Thrift . Providing skill upgradation trainings. better social and economic operations and 24 hour banking system . to promote micro-entrepreneurship among poor women. will broaden their outlook on better health. Kudumbashree promote self-help approach for building houses.. self-employment opportunities and infrastructural development through wage employment schemes are the preparing grounds for further development of successful micro enterprises.  Better living conditions . This will be the anti-poverty sub plan of the local body and this will facilitate convergent delivery of Government programmes meant for the poor. Rather than the traditional system of heavily subsidized approach. Weekly meetings of NHGs. latrines. The needs identified at NHG level are shaped as micro plans which are integrated into mini plans at ADS level and action plan at CDS level. suitable skill upgradation trainings will be given to women. Their organizational structures will provide opportunities for collective public action. Common infrastructural facilities in the community strengthens them further. strengthening them through self-help are the main objectives of Kudumbashree. sharing of experiences. organised/unorganized trainings etc.  Skill upgradation training. Small savings generated at the families are pooled at various levels as thrift and used to attract credit from banks. discussions. The poor women from families identified will be organised into Neighbourhood Groups (NHG) representing 15 to 40 families. acting as a sub-system of the formal banks.  Micro-enterprises for sustainable economic development. NHGs will be federated democratically into Area Development Societies (ADS) at the Panchayat/Municipality Ward level and then into Community Development Societies (CDS) at the Panchayat/Municipal level. To facilitate economic development.Strategies The action plan charted out for Kudumbashree is:  Formation of women collectives. A five-member team elected from the NHGs will be the cutting edge of the programme. Enabling women to realize their latent potential. . sanitary facilities etc.

The doors of the banks should be open for 24 hours a day. The groups itself decides the eligibility of a member to get assistance from the bank after discussions and assessment of the need and repayment capacity. The bank promote regularity in savings and assures sufficient frequency for group meetings. 7 days a week and 365 days a year. which will lead to the emergence of leadership. implementation and monitoring of the programme. The informal banks will instill collective decision-making capability among the poor women.  The ultimate goal.. Reaching out family through women. envisaged for poverty alleviation in Kudumbashree approach. The members know each others potentials weaknesses and problems. Informal banking system The three-tier community based CDS system.decision making power.The poor women should be able to approach the informal banks whenever necessity occurs. Every operation of an informal bank takes place in the group level. The Self Help Group behind the informal bank is free to fix market driven rates of interest for advances. and community through family. availing resources. The strength of an informal bank is the intimate relationship between the members of the Self Help Group. Kudumbashree can act as a healthy sub-system facilitating participation of poor women in the planning. will take up the informal banking responsibility also. An informal bank can provide collateral free loans with the terms and conditions decided by the group. This will help to ensure efficient women leadership to elected governments in future. fixing priorities. The members can deposit even trifle amount in the thrift scheme of the banks. furniture and other paraphernalia we normally relate with a formal bank.  Leadership . An Informal Bank doesn't need an office building. The very existence of an Informal Bank brings about the homogeneity and affinity among members of the poor. Power to the people especially the poor women . Interaction in women collectives will help them to have a better understanding. are taught to the poor women groups in various phases. including depositing of thrift amounts and sanctioning of thrift loans. The skill for identification of needs. Thrift savings of the members serve as the main bondage among members. In the decentralization of power to the local bodies and common man. Informal bank always tried to encourage saving habit among poor women. This sublime quality will be of great assistance to them for their fight against poverty and their participation in planning process and . bridging gap between needs and resources in a cost effective manner etc. is the ultimate target of Kudumbashree. The informal banks are formed with the active involvement of every member belonging to the Self Help Group.

which was worth emulating. ADSs and CDS reach a certain level of maturity. The previous experience of failures in group enterprises under various government programmes. to create a model for enterprise development. managed and operated by members themselves. Naturally. any enterprise that has:     Investment ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 2. Kudumbashree went about creating a model. The poor women will begin to enjoy the unique pleasure of doing things with their own money.5 lakhs Turnover ranging from over of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakhs. 18969 enterprises across the state covering urban and rural areas. they can grant loans to the members for genuine needs. There are some common features in the funding of the various enterprise programmes. All Kudumbashree enterprises are bank linked and a minimum of 50 % of the project cost has to be through bank loans. The subsidy component is limited to 50% of the total project cost and the entrepreneurs¶ share is to the tune of 5% of the total project cost. falling under four major categories. fill the gap . The financial empowerment of women achieved through thrift and bank accessibility will improve their status in their own families and society. Once the informal banks of the NHGs. Catering units. innovative enterprises like Clean Kerala Business in solid waste collection are a testimony to the resolve of women to succeed in enterprises. Micro-enterprise development Kudumbashree views Micro Enterprise development as an important tool for poverty reduction. Potential to generate a net income of at least Rs 1. Health care enterprises. The task for Kudumbashree was simple and challenging. Multi Purpose job clubs.economic development activities. the response from various stakeholders including banks was far from encouraging. The definition of Micro Enterprise according to Kudumbashree is that. ranging from ³traditional´ enterprises like Goat rearing and Dairy. The emphasis in the Kudumbashree enterprise programme was to encourage innovative business ideas rather than on the ³tried and tested´ ones. their confidence will increase. But the most crucial factor was the lack of any successful enterprises model. A simple and practical way for identifying enterprises was devised. Fully owned. any idea that could solve a problem existing in the society (Problem Solving). and the results are for everyone to see. Poor need financial assistance for several purposes. Above all Informal Banks provide loans to the poor women at their own doorsteps without any hassle. When the concept of developing enterprises by poor women was planned in 1999. Computer hardware and data entry units. Informal banks will slowly do away with the subsidy syndrome prevailing in the lowest stratum of the society.500 per member per month. perceived lack of entrepreneual abilities of poor and apathy of banks in associating with ventures of the poor were the prime reasons for this unfavourable environment.

14.  1.  45.270 families participated in lease land farming and 63.that existed (Gap Filling) or cater to new opportunity (Emerging Opportunities) was converted into an enterprise.9 lakh children formed in urban and rural areas.645 crores mobilised as credit.262 Balasabhas (Children¶s) Neighbourhood Groups) with 7. are as follows :-.  36 lakh poor families brought under the community based organisations (CBO)s consisting of 1.578 group (with minimum 10 members) enterprises of poor women formed in rural areas. out of which 96.389 destitutes identified. 1.818 crores to the members of Neighbourhood Groups. 2 [3] .586 houses constructed under the Bhavanashree housing loan scheme (without subsidy) for the poor in rural areas.rural & urban. 17. Kudumbashree practices a process approach and not a project approach.2.  376 group enterprises and 319 individual enterprises started under the Special Employment Programme (Yuvashree).050 individual enterprises and 1.  25. risk and profit. The fact that most of the entrepreneurs were first generation entrepreneurs from their families was kept in mind while implementing the RME programme.  44.430 individual enterprises and 4. which will start with low capital low risk and low profit in the initial stage that will gain momentum and later scale up to greater capital.761 NHGs graded under Linkage Banking Programme.55. at a glance. Milestones at a glance In contrast with the previous poverty eradication programmes there are no specific financial and physical targets set for Kudumbashree.757 group (with minimum 10 members) enterprises of women developed in urban areas.330 NHGs linked with banks and an amount of Rs.  2.560 acres (257.000 Area Development Societies (ADSs) and 1.87 lakh Neighbourhood Groups (NHG).. Milestones of the Mission.2 km ) of land brought under cultivation.  235 enterprneur groups (Thelima) formed for the municipal solid waste management in urban areas.  1. The micro enterprise development was seen as an emerging process.  Ashraya-Destitute identification and Rehabilitation Project implemented in 745 Local Self Governments and 58.  The largest women movement in Asia with a membership of 36 lakhs representing equal number of families.105 crores as thrift and disbursed loans amounting to Rs.  mobilised a sum of Rs.  µBuds¶-10 special schools for physically and mentally challenged children set up under the leadership of the Local Self Government.058 Community Development Societies (CDSs).

Shri. Besides. The executive directors of Kudumbashree 1. One major development was the tie up with the state Social Welfare Department to supply special nutritional supplements to the children in Anganwadis . headed by an IAS officer and at district level a District Mission Team . The officials are government employees working on deputation with the mission. SharadaMuralidharan. Vidyashree (IT@School units). Clean Kerala Campaign(Collection and disposal of Solid waste). Year Name of Award 1995 We the people award UN . part time consultants and experts are also engaged for specific tasks. 3.Program Implementation Team The activities of Kudumbashree mission is controlled by a state level office.T.under the name -Nutrimix. Kudumbashree received most of the national and international recognitions during his tenure. Smt. Clean Destination campaign(Maintenance of tourist destinations by Kudumbashree workers) and numerous micro enterprises -ranging from computer to coconut oil production and food items to Mini bus service. SheelaDikshit.Current executive director. Awards for Kudumbashree Smt.which has enabled thousands of rural women to manufacture and supply the nutritional supplement to their children all across the state.He was the main person behind the growth of Kudumbashree. At the panchayath level a charge officer is given the responsibility of the administration along with the CDS governing committee.K Jose IAS. He was given the India vision Man of the Year award in 2007.Shri James Vargehes IAS -The first Executive Director and served the organisation from 1997-1998 2. He developed a team of passionate employees to work in the mission and started innovative programs like ashraya ( destitute rehabilitation project). Bhavanshree (Microhousing). Balasabha(Forum for children). SaradaMuraleedharan receiving EMPI ± Indian Express Indian Innovation Gold Trophy from Delhi Chief Minister Smt.

3.Movie based on Kudumbasree workers. References 1. 2. ^ Annual Report of Kudumbashree Mission 1998-9 ^ See the Website of Kudumbashree ^ See the publication Kudumbashree at a glance .1998 UNCHS 100 Best Innovations 2000 CAPAM International Innovations Gold Medal 2002 UN Habitat 2002 Practices Global 100 list 2002 Dubai International Award -Finalist 2002 UNDP One among the 15 best practices in India 2006 India Innovation Award for the Social Innovations See also    Gender roles Gender equality Penpattanam .

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