It is the proximity of the CBO with local governments that makes Kudumbashree unique. Kudumbashree functions as the community voice with the LSG – is particular the voice of the economically and socially weak, and of women. Most of the plan interventions of grama panchayath and urban local governments in the areas of poverty reduction and women’s development use the CDS network as agency, especially in identification and selection of beneficiary, homing in an individual and collective means, and for community outreach. Kudumbashree is at the heart of many action research models developed by local governments, including the LSG’s citizen’s charters. Any community if coordinated by the LSG for say, destitute rehabilitation, universalizing Take Home Ration, introducing computer education in school, uses the Kudumbashree network. The first ever community validation of the BPL list was effected with the participation of Kudumbashree. So too innumerable other data generation exercises for local governments. The CDS network also assures that gender issues keep cropping up in the local development agenda and that the grama sabha retains its space for bringing desperate community voices onto a common development platform.
Kudumbashree and the 11th 5 year plan
The guidelines for the formulation of the 11th 5 Year Plan by local governments highlights agricultural production, local economic development, poverty eradication and social equity as core objectives. The guidelines stipulate formation of sub plants for poverty eradication, local economic development, women’s development and local governance, among others. All these are significant areas of interface of the CDS with the local government. Women of the CDS are members of the working groups formed under the aegis of LSGS for project preparation. The Kudumbashree state mission had launched an extensive campaign for capacitations of the women in Kudumbashree to meaningfully intercede in the decentralized planning process so as to focus on poverty concerns ranging from basic infrastructure to improved service delivery, and to bring their experiential knowledge of management of micro enterprises to demand intervention strategies that go beyond subsidy support and general trainings. The governance plans now provide an opportunity for factoring community monitoring into local government programmes. Nearly 25,000 women have been facilitated across the state to become harbingers of change and enhance accountability within local governments. Through their interventions in the grama sabhas and sectoral working groups for plan formulation, the women of Kudumbashree will help put the core objective of the 11th 5 Year Plans at the heart of the development debate.