The Kudumbashree Mission evolved from the Urban Basic Services for the Poor (UBSP) project implemented in Alappuzha Municipality in 1992. What started as an urban initiative grew to cover the entire State of Kerala.
Kerala is believed to be an rural-urban continuum and there are arguments suggesting that there is little difference between rural and urban Kerala. This may hold true in terms of access of services, infrastructure and markets, for the economically better-off sections. For the poorer sections of the society however, there are substantial factors that affect the quality of life. Kudumbashree's work in Urban Kerala is set in the specific context of urban poverty in the State. Key characteristics of the context are:
21% of the urban population of the State is classified as 'poor' by the Planning Commission.
About 5% of the urban population is estimated to be living in slum-like conditions.
Poverty in the urban areas has multi-dimensional manifestations.
Unemployment - Urban unemployment in Kerala (10%) is the second-highest in India.
Inadequate physical infrastructure (poor housing stock, less than 25% of families have electricity connections)
Inadequate social services
Incidence of violence and crime
Peculiar settlement patterns of urban poor.
Concentrated settlements like slums, creating typical problems of infrastructure, access to services and violence.
Scattered settlements creating issues of employment, access to services, social marginalization.
High cost of land and housing leading to increasing numbers/density of slums.
Challenges to development posed by increasing in-migration from other parts of India.
A two-day workshop of CDS from urban areas was organized in Thiruvananthapuram on Feb 10th and 11th 2010 to discuss the process of formulating CDS Action Plan for 2010-11. 247 representatives from 62 Urban CDS (Charipersons, Vice-chairpersons, Convener of micro enterprise sub-committee, Member Secretaries, Accountants) attended the workshop, in additon to Kudumbashree District Resource Persons and officials. Discussions in the workshop led to finalizing the format for information collection and compilation for preparing CDS Action Plans.
The Municipal Council in Kanhangad has taken the initiative to start the Special Livelihoosd Project to cater to the employment and income needs of the economically weaker families of the town. The process was formally initiated at a workshop at Kanhangad on February 15th. The CDS has taken responsibility for conduct of a market study to understand employment-enterprise opportunities in the town area and matching it with demand for employment from among the poor families. The action plan envisages launching the project on 1st May 2010, after completion of the market study, identification of beneficiaries and formulation of training action plan.
About 750 women, in 72 micro enterprise units are engaged in solid waste collection in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation area. In 2009, the Corporation annonced financial assistance to the tune of Rs.50,000 per unit, to help them upgrade their infrastructure and introduce improved working conditions and practices. Kudumbashree Mission has joined hands with the Corporation to initiate a capacity building programme of group members. The programmed will cover all aspects of functioning of the units - waste collection, segregation at source, care in handling waste, account keeping of units and customer relationship. EKSAT, the Kudumbashree training support agency and the Community Medicine Department of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College will provide technical support for the programme, scheduled to start from the first week of March 2010.
Kochi East and Kochi West CDS held a joint livelihood planning workshop on 18th March 2010 at Ernakulam. The BSUP PIU in Kochi Corporation had conducted a rapid market assessment to understand the various employment opportunities available in the City area. The two CDS had commissioned a study of existing micro enterprise units supported by the Corporation by a team of management experts led by Prof. Mukund Das. The findings of these studies were analysed at the workshop and a plan of action for formulating a comprehensive livelihoods development plan was prepared.