Kudumbashree, poverty eradication mission of the state of Kerala works with 43 lakhs women who are organised into 2.7 lakh Neighbourhood Groups. Kudumbashree is a holistic, participatory, women oriented innovative overarching poverty reduction approach. 'Kudumbashree' envisages prosperity of the economically backward families in the state with multiple programmes that will provide them information, create awareness, build up their capability and capacity, enhance their confidence and show them opportunity for better social security and empower them physically, socially and economically and politically. Kudumbashree has altered lives of economically backward women in the state, changed their perception, built their confidence, boosted their morale, rediscovered their dignity and honor, and empowered them economically, socially and politically.

To restore the denied or deprived entitlements of the poor the capability of the poor has to improve first. Capability deprivation is the root cause of poverty and to make them aware of their entitlements the first and foremost step adopted by the Mission is to build an organization structure of the poor. The Community Based Organization (CBO) of poor set up by the Mission under the leadership of Local self Governments play vital role in eradication of absolute poverty. The organization of poor built up by the Mission give them an opportunity to realize the causes of poverty, different variables of poverty and the magnitude of poverty. It enables them to identify their entitlements and utilize the common platform to achieve it together. The Community Based Organization, which encompasses all sections of poor, is organized in to a three-tier structure ie, NHG, ADS and CDS.

1. CBO Strengthening Programmes

Kudumbashree has a huge, distinctive CBO network. To attain the annual targets and goals set by Mission in a time bound manner, every member of the community network system has to be sensitized about Kudumbashree Programmes. This is difficult to achieve on account of the sheer numbers involved. Kudumbashree is also engaged in the implementation of various poverty eradication programmes and of socio-economic, developmental programmes of LSGs and Government departments through the community network. It is therefore necessary to augment and improve the skills and knowledge of Kudumbashree net work leaders, office bearers, elected representatives, entrepreneurs, line department officials, resource persons etc for a better social engineering and development process. For making the network system more vibrant and cohesive, special programmes and campaign drives have to be conducted from time to time depending on the specific requirement of the circumstances.

a.Year of NHG Campaign

2018-19 will be observed as ‘Year of NHG’ by Kudumbashree as 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Kudumbashree. Also this campaign is designed with an aim to strengthen the community network. As a part of the campaign, various activities like inclusion drive, self sufficient CDS, digitalization of NHGs in ADS, use of modern monitoring and communication tools like mobile applications, subscription of Kudumbashree magazine, development of ADS as a resource centre, strengthening and validation of Kudumbashree MIS, training in book keeping and accounting, campaign for entitlement, activities towards achieving poverty free Grama Panchayat, NHG gradation, awards for best performing NHGs, ADS, CDS and preparation of NHG micro level credit plan will be undertaken.

Also, activities like development of volunteer’s network for various activities or services, IEC campaign, timely preparation of CDS action plan to integrate with panchayat action plan, timely generation of NHG demand plan to achieve all these desired results area also envisaged.

b.Disha Campaign 2017

Social inclusion and universal reach have been important strategies that Kudumbashree has stressed upon since its inception. With a view to reduce marginalization of disadvantaged groups and strengthen initiatives for social inclusion, ‘Disha Campaign’ was launched in January 2017. The objective of the campaign has been to form special NHGs of groups like the elderly, migrants, members of the transgender community, persons with disabilities, members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities as well as families belonging to coastal hamlets. Around 9,068 new NHGs were formed as part of this initiative. Strengthening neighbourhood activities of Kudumbashree was also an important component of the campaign, as part of which, a self-evaluation and grading exercise was carried out by all 2.58 lakh NHGs on 28th January, 2017. These NHG meetings were held across the state at the same time (between 10 am to 5 pm). Ministers, MPs, MLAs and Local Self Government representatives participated in these meetings. The meeting was also used as a platform to promote and create awareness on the objectives and purpose of the ‘Nava Kerala Mission’ which seeks to address the problems faced by people in four key areas – health, education, agriculture and housing.

2.Strengthening of Kudumbashree Special NHGs

Kudumbashree Mission formed special NHGs comprising vulnerable sections like senior citizens (elderly), differently-abled and Transgender as members through a process of local mobilization for poverty eradication. Through the special NHGs, Kudumbashree will help them for their sustainable livelihood, rehabilitation and integration into society and their participation in mainstream developmental process. Capacitisation training and financial assistance also would be provided to these special NHGs.

3.Administrative Grant for CDS

Kudumbashree CDS has been managing out multidisciplinary roles and responsibilities. It has been involved in a large number of poverty eradication and local economic programmes of both Kudumbashree and Local bodies. It plays a crucial and important role in the identification/selection of beneficiaries, disbursement of assistance, monitoring of progress of schemes etc. Programmes like NULM, PMAY, RSBY, NREGS etc are being implemented with community support and availing of the social mobilization capacity of Kudumbashree community network. Besides these, CDS has to Co-ordinate functions and activities of Kudumbashree NHGs, ADS, Thrift and credit programmes, bank linkage, Local Economic Development (LED) Programmes, etc. The CDSs have to become vibrant and economically viable organizations so to perform their duties and responsibilities well. It is therefore necessary to provide some sort of financial support/assistance to CDS in order to meet their administrative overheads. Keeping the above in view, each Kudumbashree CDS is given financial assistance that varies from 3,775/- to 4,425/- by way of Administrative Grant.

4.Honorarium to CDS Chairpersons

CDS has a vibrant role in the grass root level for implementing various activities. Under Kudumbashree System 1,064 CDS Chairpersons has working. Considering their duties and responsibilities and the time and energy needed to carry them out, Kudumbashree Mission granted a Monthly Honorarium of Rs. 6,000 per month to each CDS Chairperson.

5.Accountant Support to CDS

Kudumbashree Mission has positioned CDS Accountant on contract basis at a Salary of Rs 15,000 per month in 1065 CDSs and 14 district mission offices for supporting CDS and District Mission office on their day to day functioning.

6.CDS Action Plan

Kudumbashree CDS has to prepare and implement a 'CDS Action Plan'. This is a demand plan, consolidating the status of interventions in the areas of microfinance, entrepreneurship, farming, social development activities etc. and indicating quantum of need in each of these areas. The CDS Action plan is to be integrated with the development plans of the local self governments.

7.Kudumbashree Anniversary Celebrations

Kudumbashree Anniversary celebrations will be conducted every year at different levels by the members of Kudumbashree community organization network and local self governments across the district. This will be an opportunity for the Kudumbashree network of community organizations to take stock of past experiences, celebrate achievements and plan the future course of action. The anniversary celebrations will also give the women an opportunity to express their innate talents in cultural activities.

8.Kudumbashree CBO Election

Bringing transparency and accountability in the Community Based Organization is utmost important. For this Kudumbashree Mission has a systematic election procedure for the selection of office bearers in NHG, ADS and CDS level. This procedure in turn contribute in developing democratic values and skills among the community which will be an asset for the better functioning of the local government bodies. The three tier Kudumbashree general election processes, conducted once in three years.

Members of the NHGs elect a five-member executive committee consisting of a President, a Secretary, and three Volunteers to take care of three areas of work namely (a) health and education, (b) income generation and (c) infrastructure and related issues. The ADS constitutes of two bodies. One is the General Body consisting of the Presidents, Secretaries and Volunteers of all the affiliated NHGs in the Ward. The second is the Executive Committee consisting of seven members including a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and a Secretary, all elected by the General Body. The CDS comprises a General Body consisting of all members of the Executive Committee of all ADSs in the Panchayat/Municipality, and an Executive Committee consisting of a representative each from the Executive Committees of all ADSs. The Executive Committee elects two office bearers for the positions of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of which one should be from the BPL households. In addition, women members from the Panchayat (or Municipal) Council not exceeding five along with an official to function as Member Secretary, two experienced former office bearers of the CDS are also nominated as ex-officio members. Voting right is limited to only the Kudumbashree members. The first CBO election was held in 2008. In financial year 2017-18, the fifth CBO election was held successfully.