Kudumbashree, the Kerala government’s poverty eradication mission, evolved from traditional community practices, government development programs and decentralization campaign experiences from across the state. Formed in 1998, the fundamental premise of Kudumbashree was that the poor need to be active agents in their own development. Poverty, especially of women, goes beyond the absence of facilities and services, it also concerns with rights, entitlements, responsibilities, justice and equality. The three-tiered structure of the Kudumbashree community organization network that has been federated to the level of the Local Government (Gram Panchayats/ Municipalities) was designed in line with this principle. The idea was to facilitate the collective agency of the poor, primarily poor women while giving it the form of a self-governing institution.
Kudumbashree focuses its programmes in three domains, economic empowerment, social empowerment and women' empowerment.
Economic empowerment initiatives involves NHGs acting as sub-units of the Gram Sabha to engage with the local governance processes and as thrift and credit groups to meet financial needs of its members. Members of NHGs come together in activity groups for taking up various income generating activities such as collective farming and micro enterprises.
Social empowerment activities of the Mission includes projects focussing on the rehabilitation of destitute families, capability enhancement of children by preventing inter-generational transmission of poverty and rehabilitation of mentally challenged children and adults.
Women empowerment is a holistic term in itself. The Kudumbashree network provides ample opportunities to women to earn income and support their family. Once they are able to stand by themselves, they get involved in supporting the needy in their neighbourhood and community. The NHG collective and the network give the women strength to face problems and challenges, be it in the family or the neighbourhood. The Gender Self Learning Program (GSLP), Snehitha Gender Help Desk, Gender Corner and crime mapping are few initiatives in this direction.
For more details, please visit Kudumbashree website
Having proven its success in Kerala, in the year 2013 Kudumbashree was recognized as a National Resource Organization (NRO) by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India, under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM). Kudumbashree NRO has been mandated to provide technical and implementation support to State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs), based on mutual interest in two major domains:
- Panchayati Raj Institutions –Community Based Organizations (PRI-CBO) Convergence Project - Working together of women’s institutions with local governments to enhance governance
- Micro-Enterprise Consultant (MEC)Project & Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) - Micro Enterprise Development approach through community based support system
Apart from the above, Kudumbashree NRO has also been implementing Special Projects for partner states that are aimed at creating a model for supporting both PRI and CBO networks and for developing a community based system for supporting micro enterprises.
The work done by Kudumbashree-NRO is based on the principle of creating local and state level capabilities for large-scale implementation of the interventions. The pilot projects are designed to be taken forward by the partner-States. By systematically investing in human and social capital, the intention is to help the most needy in increasing their livelihood opportunities and access to social security pensions/schemes meant for them. All these efforts have certainly paved way for a larger acceptance of NRO’s work at the national level.
At present KS NRO has been extending its support to seventeen states and one union territory.