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Gender Self Learning programme

Gender Self Learning Programme could be regarded as the first social educational process that would have direct implications on rights and entitlements of women in grass roots. Unlike conventional women empowerment programmes that adhere to awareness classes, gender self learning programme aims at
facilitating neighborhood groups on discussions that reflect on discrimination, violence and inequality. Each woman represented in the network is regarded as a participant, information provider and knowledge creator.

As part of women empowerment activities a pilot project for GSL is running in four Block Panchayats and one Municipality of Kerala, viz Nedumangad, Kanjikuzhi, Kodakara and Kanhangad blocks and in Aluva Municipality. In 2009-10 the project is being scaled up across the entire state.

Modules for Self Learning

Modules and hand outs were prepared by the Gender team to help the Kudumbashree members learn by self. The different topics included in the modules were discussed in the NHG meetings. This helps them think and learn their living situations, possibilities to grow, solve problems and opportunities.

Rationale of a topic based module

The modules are developed on the basis of topics that have implications on discrimination and violence. Society is not complete without addressing the problems of women. The topics identified for the learning process include- women and employment, women and health, women and environment, women and power
structure, women and sexuality, women and education, women and media, women technology and so on. If we take any of these above stated topic, it is evident that it would have implications on discrimination and inequality.

A module has 3 parts-

  • • Content based on the broad theme.
  • • Quantitative questionnaire based on the content.
  • • Points that helps to conduct discussions in the NHGs.

The module content is disseminated through NHGs and information is collected from NHGs, consolidated at points like ADS and CDS for the preparation of status reports. This method enables women to get a better understanding of the ground realities. The realistic figures that arrive through the process is an aid for learning the self. For example: If a question like this is posed to NHG regarding to the long journeys they make for employment – “How many NHG members have decided not to take up employment because of long journeys?” The quantitative information we get out of it would be of use in such a way that it facilitates both visible and invisible implications.

Module- I

Theme- Woman and Employment

Centralised Module Development

Parallel to the induction training, it was decided to start working on a module that could be disseminated across the state. A centralized core team was against the earlier decision of having decentralized module development teams at districts. The renewed decision was made so as to give a logical picture for the next phase of module development that would be of a decentralized one. So an in depth module on ‘Women and Employment’ was suggested. The selection was approved in the view of many points.

Module reading in NHG level

  • • Each NHG will have a facilitator who would lead the learning process. The selection can be on a rotation basis as it the learning process should not be blocked because of the absence of the facilitator.
  • • The facilitator would explain the content and data collection format. The facilitator would be responsible to make entries in the data collection format. The entries would be the suggestions and opinions of the respective NHG and not of an individual.
  • • NHGs should place GSLP as one of its major agendas, and allocate at least 1 hour for the learning process.
  • • The Panchayat level resource pool would look after the activities under the learning process.
  • • Consolidation of the data entries from the NHGs would be done and made available for status report preparation. Gender Resource Person would take initiative in delivering the consolidations at ADS and CDS levels.

Women and Workplace

The first module produced for GSLP was based on “Women and Workplace”. Since the method was the first of its kind to be introduced in the Kudumbashree network, a centralized team of gender resource person coordinators and experts from academia and development was constituted for this purpose. Besides experience sharing and a lecture series, secondary data was also brought in for developing the module. The module had eight chapters concentrating on gender-sensitive issues.

  • • Employment rights
  • • Equal wages for equal work done
  • • Employment opportunities
  • • Exploitation in workplaces
  • • Practical needs in workplaces
  • • Strategic need of obtaining social space
  • • Changing work culture
  • • Women and the NREGS

Each chapter was supplemented by a questionnaire (quantitative) and discussion points. Examples of quantitative questions ranged from “How many members in your NHG are engaged in income-generation activities?” to “list out the income-generation activities done by the members of your NHG”. An example of a discussion point was “Do you think that mobility, confidence and social networking increases with the increase in work participation?” A similar module was also prepared for urban settings. In addition, a separate hand book on constitutional and employment rights was distributed for additional reading.


The relevance of NREGS in GSLP can be seen in different ways. The NREGS has emerged as an ideal scheme in the employment sector by confirming the dignity of labor and the principle of equal wages for equal work done. It has enabled strengthening the middle layer of the community organisation of Kudumbashree—Area Development Societies(ADSs)—and led to an increase in the number of women employees under the scheme. Women appeared to understand the aims of GSLP through examples pertaining to the components of the NREGS.

Lab Panchayats

In all the 14 districts of the State, a panchayat was selected exclusively for testing the tools of the learning process. A panchayat that showed a moderate level of results was chosen for this purpose. This enabled the teams to modify the tools according to specific needs. The modules and questionnaires were tested in these panchayats before they were disseminated throughout each district.

Vanita Sabhas

Vanita Sabhas form creative learning groups that share, understand and recognise experiences and come up with concerns and solutions that eventually influence policy decisions. Women from different sectors of employment and experts are invited to participate in Vanita Sabhas at the district level. In the very first attempt, a total of 3,530 women participated in the district Sabhas.

Gender Resource Centre

Gender Resource Center focuses on addressing gender concerns, and capacitating Kudumbashree NHGs and LSG representatives to develop gender sensitive policies and to prioritize gender sensitive action. This would require constant collation and analysis of local gender issues and supporting a resource pool of gender experts to facilitate equitable policy setting and action in the field. The concept of resource center in Kudumbashree is inclusive of human resource trained at each level. We are also on the process of getting up a library cum documentation on gender.

Module- II

Theme- Woman and Health

Decentralized module development

For a learning process to be effective; it should be continuous, interesting and innovative. Different from the process we adopted in the first phase, it was decided to have modules, which would be developed by the resource pool from the grass roots. In effect the learning process would have 14 different context specific modules based on a common topic. We selected Employment and Health as the broad topic for decentralized module development a detailed plan was made in the core team meeting to identify the prominent employment sectors. Based on the enlisted sectors, the district resource pool was divided into teams. The
teams went out and collected data on health issues through surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews etc.

The information was put into a matrix (like the one which was framed for the first module). Important employment sectors and health issues emerged from it were entered in the matrix. This gave the resource persons an idea to chapterise the topic according to the severity of the problem. The task was completed in earlier November 2010.

The decentralized methodology motivates women to take ownership in the learning process and gives an edge to work forward in developing similar materials in the future. Later the theme of the module was changed from “Employment and Health” to “Women and Health”. To ensure the effective dissemination of the information which includes the module, service of Anganwadi workers and Asha workers, was ensured. They were provided with GSLP orientation training and module training.
Along with the dissemination of Module, Health resource mapping is done in CDSs to understand the present status of health care system and health care providers. The report of the same is submitted to LSGI so that they can take necessary actions to improve the health care facilities.

Pusthaka Yathra

Pusthaka Yathra was a programme organized to collect the books published by Kudumbashree CDSs containing life experiences of Kudumbashree members during their course of Kudumbashree activities. These experiences can be regarded as a learning material for Kudumbashree members themselves, research material for those who want to study about Kudumbashree and a study material for Kudumbashree to revise the existing programmes. Moreover, these experiences are highly motivational to every woman to understand their status, limitations, opportunities and their wisdom. 8-10 CDSs join a centre with a procession carrying their book called Pusthaka Yathra was started from both northern (Hosankady, Kasargod on 9th September 2012) and southern (Udiyankulangara, Thiruvananthapuram on 10th September 2012) ends of Kerala and joined at Ernakulam (October 1st, 2012). A total of 1072 Books were published at Ernakulam. For this programme, every NHG members were asked to write their own experiences and read it in their NHG meeting. There they decide which experience could be selected for self learning, and select some of the experiences from their group and hand over to ADS- CDS levels. At CDS level, Editorial Board is formed including only women members, who select different experience which can be regarded as the best in their CDS and prepare a book. At the welcome points of procession, a meeting will be arranged and some of the best experiences will be presented. The programme was organized as a part of 15th Anniversary celebrations in which the modules containing life experiences of Kudumbashree members had been collected from two ends of Kerala through a procession accompanied by an art form “Bheri”. There had experience sharing by selected members and honoring them. 1048 books were published.

Kala Team

A 26 member Team was formed for to accompany Pusthaka Yathra. The team consisting Gender RPs were given training to present an art form, theme and script of which was developed by themselves. The team was divided into two and they performed in 120 stages in 22 Days. The theme of the programme included different kinds of issues faced by women and children and services by Government. It is proposed to start Kala teams in every district.

Formation of Gender resource team and Supporting Team

Gender Resource person’s teams were constituted at different levels and expanded the network including new Gender Resource Persons. They were given Gender Sensitization training and orientation about GSLP activities. They are the ones who take classes during the trainings, monitor all the self learning activities. District level resource person’s pools were created in the entire 14 district and there is a core team who coordinate Gender programmes at the district which consist of 10 – 15 members. They are the back born of GSLP. District level Support team were formed in the entire state, which consist of 4 representatives from a CDS and CDS level support team consist of 4 representatives from ADS. These groups give all the support for the programme implementation to the resource persons. Now we formed a strong network of Resource Persons/ support team at the grass root with 433313 resource persons in all over the state.


Theme- Women and Mobility

4 Phases

  • • Society and Mobility
  • • Atrocities and Mobility
  • • Rights and Mobility
  • • Opportunities and Mobility

Theme for third module is ‘Women and Mobility’ and it was a thread given in Sreesakthi portal. Last two modules were prepared as a hand book and distributed to NHGs for discussion but third module will prepare after the discussions and activities held at all the levels of Kudumbashree net work. Third module
implementation is planning through activity oriented learning process and sensitization on different gender related issues. First phase training completed. And the NHG level discussion started in districts.

Snehitha Gender Help Desk
Gender help desk started in 3 districts, Malapppuram, Eranakulam and Thiruvananthapuram on regional basis. The main aim of the centre is to provide help and support to those women and children who were in distress for a short duration of time and facilitating the women in distress to access the service of other institutional agencies to address the issues. The Help Desk initiated by Kudumbashree Mission is working on the principle of convergence, which is followed by a close interface and collaboration with the registered service providers of the state. Kudumbashree started Anti Human Trafficking programme in three districts of Kerala – Idukki, Palakkad and Wayanad with the financial support of National Rural Livelihood Mission, Government of India. As part of this programme we started Three more Gender Help Desk- “Snehitha” in the respective districts. Total 4186 cases were registered in Snehitha (6 centers) directly and over phone. And provide shelter for 714 including women and children. (As on October 2015)

Gender Corner

Gender corner give a creative space in the CDS for women and children and for the active initiative of women empowerment programmes of Kudumbashree. It is a local body to keep up a link between CDS and Snehitha. 2 RPs and 2 CDS members are in charge of gender corner; also they are directly involving in the
issues of women and children and resolving it locally with the support of Jagratha Samithi. 943 CDSs formed gender corner and took initiative in more than 1000 cases reported to gender corner.

Nirbhaya & Crime mapping

Gender Sensitization Trainings were organized by Kudumbashree at State and District Levels for Gender Resource Persons, elected representatives of LSGIs and CDS representatives. The same is organized at CDS level participating LSGI staff members. All these efforts aimed to create a safe environment for women
and children in the particular CDS.
The second but main intervention as a part of Nirbhaya is Crime Mapping. It is a tool developed by Kudumbashree Gender Team to assess the details of atrocities faced by women of selected 77 CDSs. The process includes issue mapping and crime spotting. Though crime spotting give places where atrocities happen and issue mapping give detailed picture about atrocities. Trainings organized at State, District, Regional and CDS levels so that we can spread awareness about Nirbhaya policy, type of atrocities against women and children, importance of Jagrata Samiti initiatives, agencies working to combat violence against women and children, gender relation of atrocities, need of local level planning, convergence between departments to combat sexual violence against women etc.

Gender team developed a handbook comprising the information regarding the activities that Kudumbashree can undertake as part of Nirbhaya, what Panchayat can do, support systems for the victims of atrocities, relevance of the project in Kerala etc.

Crime mapping is a participatory tool for preventive interventions. Crime mapping conducted in 72 panchayats from all over the state. For this a questionnaire is distributed to all women in the panchayat. They are asked to fill up the same. Places where crimes occur are spotted by both men and women in a map of the concerned panchayat. The same map is then super imposed to get a clear picture about crime spots. Crime mapping helps in identifying the vulnerable spaces and time that lead to violence against women and children; in locating the nature and impact of violence; in assessing and addressing the socio- economic variables in gender based violence and child based violence; and in equipping the citizens to resist violence against women and children in their respective panchayats. Crime mapping State& District level Report published as part of Kudumbashree 16th Anniversary function.

Anti Human Trafficking (AHT)
Kudumbashree started Anti Human Trafficking programme in three districts of Kerala – Idukki, Palakkad and Wayanad with the financial support of National Rural Livelihood Mission, Government of India. Kudumbashree as a community based organisation with strong interface with the LSGs can address the multiple and complex issues of trafficking, and can respond to this issue from a socio-economic perspective. The economic perspective includes the ways and means to facilitate the affected persons in trafficking to engage in various livelihood options, whereas the social interventions include providing facilitative support in education, health, counseling and legal awareness, and ensuring a support system that would help them to cope with and to overcome the trauma of trafficking. The programme implementation in field is started with the convergence meeting, and the consultation meeting. Situational analysis mainly focusing on identification of the vulnerable groups, high risk families and Escapees & Resistors through the FGDs. Snehitha Gender help Desk will start in these three blocks as part of AHT Programme.

Convergence programmes
Convergence meeting were organized in every districts with regard to Nirbhaya programme implementation and Snehitha –Gender Help Desk formation. District Collector / District Panchayath President were the Chairperson of the Committee. Representatives from different Government, non governmental agencies/ departments/ institutions, Local self government representatives, representatives from NGO’s are the members of the committee. The support and services provided by this committee are very helpful for the successful implementation of Kudumbashree programmes. Convergence meetings are conducting at all levels (State, District, and CDS).

Community Counseling Programme in collaboration with CDC

320 Counseling Educators were selected from all the 14 Districts. And given training based on a module developed by the counseling experts. As primary initiative Kudumbashree will conduct a counseling day at the grass root level with support of LSGIs. Now these 320 counselors will be the community counselors of Kudumbashree and working with Gender Corner and Snehitha Gender Help Desk.

Community Theatre- Rangasree

Kudumbashree is addressing the denial of justice to women and children and atrocities against them as part of Kudumbashree Gender Self Learning programme. Women belonging to Neighborhood groups, who have talents, will be imparted training and the aim is to form local cultural organization. In future this project will be devised for the members in Kudumbashree community theatre to get an income. It aims to disseminate the messages of social justice, equality, sustainable development etc. As a pilot this will be implemented in three region Northern (Kozhikode/ Kannur & Malappuram), Southern (Kollam and Pathanamthitta) and Central region (Ernakulam and Alappuzha).