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Kudumbashree have been working on a programme that aims at getting women to discuss the gender dimension of their issues. For this we had to break the mould of thrift and credit based discussions which alone were taking place in the NHG, apart from the odd health or other dissemination.

Locally contextualised modules on issues such as women and work, women and health, women and mobility, women and entertainment are developed and deliberated in Neighbourhood Group meetings. The different voices of women and their perceptions about the topics of discussion will be captured on a web-based portal accessible at the level of the Local Self Government.The portal is being developed with the support of the Minister of Information Technology, Government of India.

Awareness building programmes seem not to leave any sustained impact. It was felt therefore that a learning process in which the women felt themselves to have a stake, and would be delivered not through trainings, but through discussions focusing on some aspect of their lives and livelihoods they could relate to, either through a story line, or through some other format- press cuttings, poems, skit etc. had to be the mode of delivery. State level consultations help identify the themes of the ‘learning modules’, The content for the learning modules are prepared by local women resource persons, who source the stories out of their own experiences for further contextualisation and development.

Once the modules are developed, they are consolidated and disseminated by resource persons in the neighbourhood groups. Women are encouraged to ask questions about themes ranging from work and environment to health, power and power structure. This programme is expected to directly touch the lives of over 35 lakh women of the state. Not only will these discussions and debates be documented, but also shared with a larger community through a special SreeSakthi web based portal being developed by CDAC with financial support from the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India.

Kudumbashree is working on work and wages as our first theme. The module for entry will be based on NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme). Today NREGS touches the lives of most women in the network – over 80% of the people who are entering the programme are women, and most of these, are from Kudumbashree. Kudumbashree is actively involved in the myriad aspects of implementation of the programme, from job card registration through labour budgeting and work site facilitation to social audit. Moreover, it is the single rights based programme spearheaded by the state, which recognises women’s work participation concerns as a matter of rights and equity. NREGS therefore poses for us the best opportunity to engage women in rights based discourse with the consensus of the state and of most involved stakeholders. The exercise is expected to generate over 200000 resource persons, who would have been sensitised to the issues of women in the development context and understand the gender implications of development and welfare scenarios. These people would be available to carry this strategic citizenship programme forward, and to manage the change that is inevitable if rights are to translate as achievements and justice. A total of Rs 1.63 Crores is estimated for the implementation of the project.

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:

1. Content based on the broad theme.
2. Quantitative questionnaire based on the content.
3. 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.

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

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. NHGs should place GSLP as one of its major agendas, and allocate at least 1 hour for the learning process.
4. The Panchayat level resource pool would look after the activities under the learning process.
5. 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.

1. Employment rights
2. Equal wages for equal work done
3. Employment opportunities
4. Exploitation in workplaces
5. Practical needs in workplaces
6. Strategic need of obtaining social space
7. Changing work culture
8. 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.

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.

Health Resource Mapping

Along with the dissemination of Gender Self Learning Second Module, “WOMEN & HEALTH” 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.

1. As a tool for module based training
2. Understand gaps between resources and demands
3. Knowledge sharing and creation among the participants
1. Infrastructural capabilities- health facilities
2. Availability of such facilities
3. Access and control to facilities
1. PHCs
2. Sub centers
3. Clinics and dispensaries
Forums and committees
1. Health and sanitation committees
2. Local forums
3. Voluntary organizations
1. Doctors
2. Health volunteers
3. Para medics
Local bodies/Kudumbashree
1. Programmes and schemes
2. Fund allocations
3. Monitoring systems
Employment sectors
1. Health Insurance schemes
2. Medical assistance
3. Reimbursements
4. Working conditions
Natural Resources
1. Herbal, indigenous system of medicines
2. Environmental hazards
3. Commonly found ailments
4. Attitude of the system
1. Divide the participants into groups comprising of 5 to 10 numbers each.
2. Ensure ample numbers of chart papers and bright colored sketch pens.
3. Demographic details pertaining to women and children- proportion of women in the panchayats, proportion of children in the panchayats, literacy rates (women), political or any type of formal participation (number of women panchayat members), composition of SC/ST. This could be elicited from the basic data of panchayats’ plan document. This enables them to understand the facilities according to the number of people; access and control to these facilities according to the education level of women; the same according to the level of formal participation in the development process.[The information to be made available by the facilitators]
4. Draw a matrix on the chart paper; indicating 4 titles- (1) Resources, (2) Description of the resources, (3) Viability of the resources, (4) Defects of the resources.
5. List down maximum possible resources-institutions, collectives, individuals, agencies and so on.
6. Describe each one of it in a sentence or two.
7. List down the most important positives of the resources.
8. List down the most important defects of the resources.
9. Listing down of the above points should be associated with the availability, access and control to the resources.
10. The mapping should be followed by discussions on the viability factor (both positives and negatives).
3. Monitoring systems
11. The causal factors could be listed down on a separate piece of chart paper.

Then try to analyze the causal factors and gender sensitiveness of each point.

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, Kasaragod 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
1. Society and Mobility
2. Atrocities and Mobility
3. Rights and Mobility
4. 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 5798 survivors Approached in Snehitha (6 centers) directly and over phone. And provide shelter for 1076 including women and children. (As on 31-July-2016)

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. 857 CDSs formed gender corner and took initiative in more than 1000 issues reported to gender corner.

Nirbhaya & Crime mapping

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 71 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. The follow up works of Crime mapping is ongoing in these CDS with the aim of creating a women and child friendly and secure local area. Crime mapping State& District level Report published as part of Kudumbashree 16th Anniversary function.

Anti Human Trafficking (AHT)

Today’s development dialogue abounds with discourses and debates on equality, social justice, empowerment, marginalization and other human rights issues. But it is a paradox that even when the world discusses the Millennium Development Goals and the empowerment era, incidences of human trafficking are being reported, worldwide. Human trafficking caters to flesh trade, forced labour and illegal organ transplantation. Trafficking is the third largest organized crime.

Anti Human Trafficking project is an initiative of Kudumbashree which carried out preventive and rehabilitative interventions. The project was initiated as a pilot in selected 3 blocks namely Devikulam, Chittur and Mananthavady of Idukki, Palakkad and Wayanad respectively. The project aims to bring down and contain human trafficking in the selected blocks. Along with this, Project also aims to equip the victims, escapees, survivors and High risk group’s identified by the project with the help of AHT cells, rescue organisations, Social Justice Department and NGO’s etc, from across the state with technical skilling and economic rehabilitation and thereby reintegration with the community.

As a part of Anti Human Trafficking project Migration centers were started in these three blocks for the coordination of the activities and for the prevention of trafficking in that area. The center aims to focus on prevention of trafficking, emotional and vocational rehabilitation of the survivors through Counseling, Vocational Training and livelihood programmes. Snehitha (Gender Help Desk), round the clock working short stay home is also started as a part of Anti Human Trafficking in these districts. 1007 High risk people (Vulnerable to trafficking) were identified through the AHT intervention such as House visit, survey and focus group discussions. As part of the rehabilitation process of these High risk people Kudumbashree provide livelihood support to the identified.

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 conducted a counseling day at the grass root level with support of LSGIs. Now these 320 counselors were working as the community counselors of Kudumbashree and collaborate with Gender Corner and Snehitha Gender Help Desk.

Community Theatre - Rangasree

Rangasree is a program to train selected women from Kudumbasree in Theatre with the aim of establishing community theatres in every CDS of the State. It also aims to disseminate the messages of social justice, equality, sustainable development etc. Women belonging to Neighborhood groups, who have talents got training and the aspire is to form local cultural organization. As a pilot this is implemented in three region Northern (Kozhikode/ Kannur & Malappuram), Southern (Kollam and Pathanamthitta) and Central region (Ernakulam). The training conducted through Theatre workshops based on a curriculum created with advice from experts in the field. 37 master trainers were trained through 4 levels of Training which include Orientation training, Gender Sensitization training, Theatre training including script writing, material preparation (Costumes and other material which is needed for the performance) , Music, Yoga and dance, And finally a technical training. These Master trainers will be in charge of imparting trainings at CDS level and also they can be national resource persons.

Developed with the support of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Department of Information Technology, Government of India, the Sreesakthi web portal has been put up to help make the GSLP a productive and successful initiative. This portal provides a useful venue for discussing issues and ideas, creating modules, collating programme reports, clearing doubts, and, most importantly, helping women become computer and technology savvy.

Specific to Gender Self Learning Programme, the Sreesakthi portal enables the learning process to enter a higher plane. Complete learning module development process would be web based. Active threads in discussion forum are “Inclusion of Women in Political Parties of India", Freedom to Mobility" Relevance of Nirbhaya in Kerala Society - Module feedback, learning experience, changes, interventions etc ". Web portal participation by CDS varies district by district. We have to develop a new team for web portal navigation. The team should include gender resource persons, CDS members ADS members-NHG level. For the same, we have to conduct different level of trainings. CDS level portal training is almost completed in districts.

Now 29,029 registered users, 93,600 posts and 2,91,796 views are there in Sreesakthi portal (As on March 2016).

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