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					                           Contents



Sl. No.                                                        Page No.
      1. Winning Together                                  :      1

      2. Kudumbashree - Crossing the Barriers of           :      3
         Poverty
      3. Fighting poverty at grass root level              :      13

      4. We acted while they debated on poverty            :      19

      5. Micro Financing and Linkage Banking               :      30

      6. Information Technology Winning Tool for           :      35
         the Poor Women

      7. 50K Employment for Educated Youth                 :      40

      8. Direct marketing - Cakewalk for                   :      47
         Kudumbashree

      9. Community Health Volunteer                        :      49

     10. Sichithra, differently abled today                :      52

     11. Micro Housing- A Sweet Dream                      :      57

     12. S3 (Self sufficient, Self reliant, Sustainable)   :      59
         Model Panchayats

     13. Balasabha for Empowerment of Children             :      62

     14. Women Empowerment - Kudumbashree                  :      65
         Model
     15. What makes Kudumbashree unique?                   :      68
                                                                             Kudumbashree



                                Winning together
      Saga of Kudumbashree tells about more life than mere statistics. It has altered lives
of poor women in the state, changed their perception, rebuilt their confidence, boosted
their morale, rediscovered their dignity and honour, empowered them economically,
socially and politically. Today 3.1 million poor women participate in the Kudumbashree
movement in the state cutting across political ideologies and religious faiths.

      They found new hope and new meaning in their lives while working with
Kudumbashree. It would not have been possible if they had not listened to us and
believed our programmes. They had heard many of the poverty eradication programmes
earlier too and tried all of them and miserably failed in their attempts. They were all
skeptical about so called poverty eradication programmes chalked out by both Union
and state governments. An element of cynicism could have killed the mission and its
approach. But they believed us and we are on the winning path of historical landmark of
eradicating absolute poverty in the state of Kerala. I’m grateful to all Kudumbashree
members who worked together to make the mission a great success.

      From our experience I found that believing means happening. We all started
chasing the dream of poverty eradication from nowhere. Many had done it in the past.
But our approach and methodology was different and novel. Within six years the State
Poverty Eradication Mission has achieved many landmarks and global recognition. But
we are not satisfied with the results.

      We will work together till the poor get equitable opportunities in all walks of life
that will empower them socially, economically and politically. After six years working in
Kudumbashree, I’m confidant that we can materialize our dream tomorrow.

      It was by sheer accident that I stumbled upon Kudumbashree, State poverty
Eradication Mission of Kerala. I was posted as Managing Director of Matsyafed, a
governmental agency for the development and welfare of traditional fishermen in Kerala
in 1993 May. During my tenure as Managing Director, I got an opportunity to associate
with the activities of Community Development Society of Alappuzha Municpality that
was experimenting the pilot programme in seven wards of the Municipality.

      Matsyafed supported this programme with active participation of fishermen
community who benefited largely out of it. I witnessed the changes taking place in the
fishermen community as the programme was participatory in essence and need based in
practice.

       Later I was posted to Malappuram as District Collector and District Magistrate as a
part of my field posting. Malappuram is the most backward and most populous district
of Kerala where poor remained to be poor and social development was very slow
compared to other districts of Kerala. My predecessors Shri. Rajeev Sadanandan and
Shri. James Varghese initiated a Community Based Nutrition and Poverty Alleviation
Programme in the district which was in the beginning stage. I decided to strengthen the
programme with new strategy and tools. It was a thrilling experience in my career. I
learnt more from the poor women of Malappuram than from the lecture halls of great
institutions I have attended as a student and an I.A.S. probationer.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                  1
                                                                             Kudumbashree


       They were ready to work to any extent to save their families from poverty. They
demanded only little support from me. Their determination motivated me to spare more
time for their activities. Despite busy schedules as head of the district administration, I
tried to attend their meetings more frequently and mingled with them freely. Their
stories sometimes astonished me; sometimes angered me; and sometimes terrified me.
Those stories were full of life with tears and agony. They were fighting a losing battle
against poverty everyday. Within no time these poor women mobilized Rs. 15 million as
thrift amount. They saved small amounts of money to mop up big amount. They were all
happy to lend it to the most needy. Their unity and sense of justice surprised me.

      I visited a Neighbourhood group when they were discussing the distribution of
loan among the group members. One old woman who took Rs. 1,000 as loan returned the
amount when she found that her neighbour required the amount urgently as her son was
hospitalized.

      "Why did you give back your sanctioned amount?" I asked

      "My neighbour needs it today and I can wait for another week", she replied with a
smile.

    Her selflessness and sense of comradeship impressed me. I found these poor
women share great idealism while remaining as poor.

     One year of My experience in Malappuram CBNP prompted me to think of scaling
up of the programme. I wrote to Government of Kerala, requesting to expand the
programme to entire state for the benefit of the poor. Next year, in 1997, the state
government decided to scale it up as Kudumbashree.

     During this period I was shifted to Idukki as District Collector and District
Magistrate and I continued to reciprocate the Malappuram model there too.

     When the state constituted the Poverty Eradication Mission in 1998, I was asked to
head the Mission and working in Kudumbashree for the last six years.

      It is the most challenging job for me in my civil service career as Kudumbashree is
expanding its area of operations from micro-credit to Ashraya, destitute programme
designed to provide need based support to the poorest of the poor. Kudumbashree team
with the help of Community development Society identified the poorest of the poor
through a survey that opened our eyes. When we discussed their stories in our PRM, the
Kudumbashree team members raised a valid question : how can we improve their
quality of lives?. Discussions on this question inspired us to chalk out Ashraya which is
implemented in 296 Panchayaths in Kerala today.

      Today, I feel happy being in Kudumbashree and part of a winning team.



                                                                            T.K Jose I.A.S
                                                                        Executive Director
                                                                           Kudumbashree




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                  2
                                                                   Kudumbashree



                   KUDUMBASHREE -
              Crossing the Barriers of Poverty
       Kudumbashree, the State Poverty Eradication Mission, launched by
Government of Kerala for wiping out absolute poverty from the State within a
period of 10 years is a holistic, participatory, women oriented innovative
overarching poverty reduction approach. This process is implemented
through Local Self Governments formed and empowered by the 73rd & 74th
Constitutional Amendments. The Mission follows a process approach rather
than a project approach. 'Kudumbashree' envisages prosperity of the poor
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, economically and politically.
Kudumbashree, the state poverty eradication mission of Kerala was
inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Shri. Atal Behari Vajapayee
in Kottakunnu Ground in Malappuram district of Kerala on 1998 May 17 and
started implementing from 1999 April 1 in Urban Local Bodies of the state.

       Since the inception of the planning process in the country different
methodologies were in use for eradication of poverty. The trickle down
theory, direct attack on poverty, land reforms, etc were some of the examples.
But despite all the initiatives, there was no significant achievement in the
poverty scenario of the country. The poor remained as poor. At least in some
cases the poor has become poorer.

       In the post independence era in fact there is no dearth of programmes
and projects to tackle the poverty situation prevailing in the country. But all
the programmes are designed and developed at the whims and fancies of the
bureaucrats and followed a top down approach. These programmes were
supply driven and not need based and demand driven. The magnitude of
poverty, causes of poverty, variables of poverty were not taken in to account.
The perception of poverty itself was ambiguous and vague. The estimation of
poverty was inaccurate, insufficient and directionless. The only factor that
based for determining poverty was income. That too based on the purchasing
capacity of the family to procure food. The aspirations of the poor, the basic
needs of the poor, the levels of deprivations of the poor were not considered
and someone else took decision on his entitlement. If 'development without
participation is a sin' (Prof. Amartyasen), the erstwhile anti poverty
programmes are sins of development.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      3
                                                                     Kudumbashree


       In the past decade, the most significant act of Government towards the
poor was the 73 rd & 74th Amendment of the Constitution, which paved the
way for decentralization of powers. Resultantly the eradication of poverty
has become the inevitable responsibility of the local self-governments. This
enabled the poor to realize the presence of Government in their vicinity. In
this context in Kerala a Mission was set up to facilitate the local self
governments in its anti poverty initiatives.

The Mission Statement

"To eradicate absolute poverty in ten years through concerted community
action under the leadership of Local Governments, by facilitating organisation
of poor for combining self help with demand led convergence of available
services and resources to tackle the multiple dimensions and manifestation of
poverty holistically"

Perception of poverty

        The    State      Poverty
                                      Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter.
Eradication Mission perceives
                                      Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a
poverty as a state of multiple
                                      doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school
deprivations.      Unlike      the    and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not
conventional poverty theories having a job, is fear for the future, living one day
and practices, the monetary at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness
factors are not the only brought about by unclean water. Poverty is
contributory to poverty but it is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom
due to the deprivation of basic
needs, basic facilities and basic rights. To eradication of absolute poverty
means restoration of the denied or deprived basic needs, basic facilities and
basic rights.

        There are several out-liers of the 'Kerala model' who are still very poor
and deserve special support. They are the tribals, traditional fishermen,
Scheduled Castes and groups of people employed in certain declining
traditional industries like coir, cashew, handloom, stone-crushing.

       The number of practically landless poor is very high in Kerala. Since
land reforms was implemented more than a generation ago, the homesteads
given to nearly three lakh families have now been partitioned or sold out and
a large number of the poor have nothing more than their house plots. So the
conventional strategy of improving land productivity would not be of much
direct benefit to the poor.

     The phenomenon of educated poor is very peculiar to Kerala. A large
number of the poor have completed high school education and passed the



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                         4
                                                                       Kudumbashree


school final examination. But in the competitive job market they get left out.
Wage employment is of no use to them, most of them lack the entrepreneurial
talent for self employment and they are not skilled enough for the current day
job market. Capacity building of this group is a major challenge.

      The falling agriculture labour opportunities and the shrinkage of
government job prospects has further complicated the poverty situation.

       The quality of the products of twin strategies behind Kerala's
development success viz., health and education is on the decline particularly
in the public sector. This has placed a lot of burden on the poor and has
important ramifications in determining an antipoverty strategy

Basic Needs

        The basic minimum needs include food, shelter and clothing. Every
human being on earth are entitled to safe food, shelter and clothing. But how
far this entitlement is a reality in our situation ? At least a 350 millions soul in
our country are deprived of food and greater number deprived of shelter. The
'saree' episodes during election campaigns are revelations of the need for
clothing. In Kerala situation 2% of the families who live in utter distress and
despair have not even two square meals a day. With regard to shelter, 8.26
lakhs families live in dilapidated structures, huts or without houses.

Basic facilities

        The basic facilities include education, employment, safe drinking
water, safe sanitation facilities, health, transport, satisfactory environment etc.
It is a fact that the poor always live in the margins of society and are denied
access to these basic facilities. Kerala has a good record of literacy and cent
percent children are enrolled in the primary classes. But do they reach the
tenth standard, the crucial point of education in life? Statistics show that 18%
of the children enrolled in primary classes are reaching the tenth standard and
there are dropouts. No doubt the drop out children, students who fail in the
tenth standard etc are hailing from poor families. Denial of access to
education keeps the family in poverty and it help transmission of poverty
from one generation to the other. The other basic facilities such as
employment, safe drinking water, safe sanitation facilities, health, transport,
satisfactory environment etc are also have a strong bearing on poverty.

Basic Rights

       Freedom of expression, equal opportunities, social acceptance,
participation in the making of decisions etc is the basic rights entitled to every
individual or family. But how far it is available to the poor? The poor also



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                           5
                                                                                Kudumbashree


enjoys the right to expression but
the voice of the poor reaches at                  'If people lack or are denied resources to
                                               obtain access to diet, amenities, services and
deaf ears and practically the poor             activities which are common or customary
become voiceless. With regard to               in society or to meet the obligations
opportunities always the poor are              expected of them or imposed upon them in
                                               their social roles and relationships and so
sidelined and the able and efficient           fulfill membership of society they may be
snatch away the opportunities of               said to be in poverty' - Townsend 1993
the poor. Capability deprivation is
one of the root causes of poverty.

       As mentioned above eradication of absolute poverty means restoration
of the denied or deprived basic needs, basic facilities and basic rights and not
by giving doles of charity.

Innovation in Identifying Poor and Estimating Poverty

      In conventional anti poverty programmes the poor are identified using
income as the sole parameter. This too is done through a household survey
conducted by the Officials. In Kudumbashree to identify the poor instead of
the income criteria, nine point non-monetary risk indicators have been
designed and developed.

       The 'nine point risk indicators' are very simple, transparent, easily
understood by the community includes various manifestations of poverty.
Unlike in the conventional anti poverty programmes it enables to identify the
poor by themselves, provides large possible combinations of Poverty. 382
different Combinations (Table-1) of finding a poor family and provides the
opportunity to have a rational grading and to find out corrective steps. To
identify the poor the intervention of the official is removed and the task is
entrusted with the community themselves.

                                    Table-1
                    Nine Point index - possible combinations

                           No. of Risk factors            Combinations
                              4 Risk Factors                  126
                              5 Risk Factors                  126
                             6 Risk Factors                    84
                             7 Risk Factors                    36
                             8 Risk Factors                    9
                             9 Risk Factors                    1
                                   Total                      382



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                         6
                                                                        Kudumbashree


Risk Index
       The risk index as an effective tool to identify poor was first developed
in the early stages of community development system, tried and
experimented at 7 wards of Alappuzha Municipality. This index was
subsequently modified to suite the current day requirements. The original
index and modified versions are given below:

9 point index developed in 1992.

   1. Living in a substandard house or hut
   2. No access to sanitary latrines
   3. No access to safe drinking water (150 Mts)
   4. Getting only 2 meals a day or less
   5. Having children below 5 years of age
   6. Having no or only one earning member
   7. Belonging to socially disadvantaged groups
   8. Having an illiterate adult member
   9. Having alcoholics or drug addicts
Modified risk index now in use
                Rural                                   Urban
1. Living in a substandard house or      1. No Land /Less than 5 cents of
   hut                                      Land
2. No Land                               2. No house/Dilapidated House
3. No access to sanitary latrines        3. No Sanitary Latrine
4. No access to safe drinking water      4. No access to safe drinking water
   (150 Mts)                                within 150 meters
5. Getting only 2 meals a day or less    5. Women headed house hold/
6. Women headed house hold/                 Presence of a widow, divorcee /
   Presence of a widow, divorcee /          abandoned lady / unwed mother
   abandoned lady / unwed mother         6. No regularly employed person in
7. Having no or only one earning            the family
   member                                7. socially           disadvantaged
8. Belonging to socially                    groups(SC/ST)
   disadvantaged groups                  8. Presence    of    Mentally    or
9. Having an illiterate adult member        physically challenged person /
                                            Chronically ill member in the
                                            family
                                         9. Families without colour TV


       If four or more of the above risk factors are positive in a family, such a
family is treated as a 'risk family'. If all the nine risk indices are in favour of a
family that family may be in a most vulnerable situation. Similarly if the risk
scores are lowering to 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and less than four the situation of the family



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                            7
                                                                             Kudumbashree


gets improved. In a group of 15 or 20 people when they apply the risk indices,
they themselves are enabled to rate the gravity of poverty in each family. The
group makes prioritization judiciously based on the incidence of poverty.
Examples on actual application of the index in two local bodies are given
below:

                  Table-1                                         Table-2

          Kollam Corporation                          Venganur Gramapanchayat
                                                          Risk     No. of
       Risk       No. of                                                   Percentage
                          Percentage                      Score   Families
      Scores     Families
                                                           <4       796       18.50
        4          7367      47.86
                                                            4       886      20.60
         5         4718         30.65
                                                            5      1131      26.29
         6         2289         14.87
                                                            6       779      18.11
         7          748          4.86
                                                            7       480      11.16
         8          220          1.43
                                                            8       177       4.11
         9           51          0.33
                                                            9       53        1.23
      Total        15393       100.00                     Total    4302      100.00

Innovation in organising the poor

       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 organisation structure of
the poor. The Community Based Organisation (CBO) of poor set up by the
Mission under the leadership of Local self Governments play vital role in
eradication of absolute poverty. The organisation 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 Organisation, which encompasses all sections of poor,
is organised in to a three-tier structure. The Neighbourhood Group at
grassroots level consists of 15 to 40 members; each member representing a
family forms the building block of the organisation. In each Neighbourhood
Group from among its members, five Volunteers are elected for undertaking
various functional activities. The position of a volunteer is the first stepping-
stone towards leadership for a woman from poor family.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                 8
                                                                    Kudumbashree


1.    Community Health Volunteer - She look after the various health related
      aspects of the group members including children, women and the aged.
      Convergence of various programmes undertaken by Health and Social
      Welfare Departments are also carried out under the leadership of the
      Community Health Volunteer. In each Neighbourhood, the Mission has
      plans to build a unique health care system for which the health volunteer
      will have a pivotal role. The new system has already been piloted in
      select panchayats and it proved to be a success.

2.    Income generation activities volunteer - The collection, consolidation
      and maintenance of books of accounts and registers in connection with
      thrift mobilisation is looked after by this volunteer. The IGA volunteer
      infact acts as local Micro Enterprise Consultant (MEC). She persuades
      and motivate the members of NHGs to take up micro enterprises,
      livelihood activities using the thrift loan and the linkage banking loans.
      At present, each Neighbourhood Group has minimum one micro
      enterprise. The Mission imparts necessary training to these volunteers in
      enterprise development, accounting etc.

3.    Infrastructure Volunteer - Infrastructural backwardness of the group is
      tackled with the help of various ongoing governmental programmes
      under the leadership of this volunteer. It is proposed to take micro
      contracting as an income generating activity by the group after
      sharpening their functional skills through a series of training
      programmes. She will guide and promote the micro plan preparation of
      the NHG and liaison with the local bodies and acts as a catalyst for local
      development.

4.    Secretary - The Secretary records the proceedings of the meeting and
      necessary follow up including motivation and team building is the
      responsibility of the Secretary.

5.    President - She will preside over the weekly meetings and will impart
      necessary leadership and guidelines to the group members.

Area Development Society (ADS)

The second tier is Area Development Society, which is formed at ward level
by federating 8-10 NHGs. The activities and the decision in the ADS is
decided by the representatives of the poor elected from various federating
NHGs. Area Development Society function through three distinct bodies viz.,




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       9
                                                                    Kudumbashree


1).   General Body - consists of all Presidents and Secretaries of federated
      NHGs along with representatives of Resource Persons selected from that
      area.

2).   Governing Body - constituted by electing a President, Secretary and five
      member Committee from among the General Body.

3).   Monitoring and Advisory Committee - To streamline their activity with
      the activities of Local Self Governments, a ward level monitoring and
      advisory committee is formed under the chairmanship of ward member
      of the Local Body. The salient feature of this arrangement is the fixation
      of priorities by the poor; in tune with the policy framework of Local Self
      Governments.

Community Development Society (CDS)

     At the Panchayat level a Community Development Society (CDS), a
registered body under the Charitable Societies Act is formed by federating
various ADSs. The CDS has three distinct bodies viz.,

a.    General Body - It consist of all ADS Chairpersons and ADS Governing
      Body members along with representatives of Resource Persons, Officers
      of the Local Body who are involved in implementing various Poverty
      Alleviation and Women Empowerment Programmes.

b.    Governing Body - The Governing Body consists of President, Member
      Secretary and five selected Committee Members. The President will be
      elected whereas the Member Secretary is the Project Officer of UPA
      Programmes. Other Government Officials and representatives of
      Resources Persons will be nominated to the Governing Body.

c.    Monitoring & Advisory Committee - Municipal Chairperson/President
      of the Panchayat will be the Chairman of the Monitoring & Advisory
      Committee which is convened by Municipal Secretary/Panchayat
      Secretary as Convener. In urban areas the Urban Poverty Alleviation
      (UPA) Project Officer will be the Joint Convener.

     The advantage of this system is that it is managed wholly by the
representatives of the poor and have the leverage of a non governmental
organisation which helps in channeling additional resources from various
sources both internal and external. The CDS at local body level facilitate both
autonomy and effective linkage with Local Self Governments.

     The aspirations of the poor along with their genuine demands voiced out
in the NHG meetings form the "micro-plans", and will be scrutinized and



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       10
                                                                    Kudumbashree


prioritised to form a mini-plan at the level of ADS. After consolidating the
mini-plans by judicious prioritisation process at the level of CDS, the "CDS
Plan" is formed which is also the "anti-poverty sub-plan" of the Local Self
Government. Preparation of micro, mini and CDS plans facilitate the poor to
participate in planning process as a major stakeholder. The local body
monitors the implementation of the plan and thereby proper linkage, coupled
with autonomy is ensured in the CDS system.

     Other than participating in the planning process, the work done for
eradication of poverty is worth mentioning. Poverty is caused mainly due to
the result of unequal access of distribution of wealth and resources. The
resources meant for the poor through various antipoverty programmes have
not been reaching the deserving families due to weaknesses in the transfer
process. The poor were destined to receive the benefit only as doles of charity.
The poor are incapacitated and are vulnerable to all calamities including
environmental degradation. They were even denied of their basic human
rights. This denial or rather deprivation is checked in a big way through the
implementation of Kudumbashree. In a nutshell, in Kerala Kudumbashree is
perceived and accepted by all Local Self Governments as a further step to
decentralisation process.

Status of CBOs in Kudumbashree


         Sl        Name of            No. of NHGs No. of ADSs No. of CDSs
         No        District             Formed      Formed     Formed

          1  Trivandrum                    15755          1174     83
          2     Kollam                     11830          1064     72
          3 Pathanamthitta                 5838            649     57
          4   Alappuzha                    11076           979     78
          5    Kottayam                    8952            971     78
          6     Idukki                     8485            611     52
          7   Ernakulam                    12216          1237     98
          8    Thrissur                    14217          1278     99
          9    Palakkad                    17452          1251     94
          10 Malappuram                    10159          1544     105
          11 Kozhikkode                    13157          1159     80
          12   Wayanad                     7807            362     26
          13    Kannur                     9305           1097     87
          14  Kasargode                    5157            548     41
                 Total                    151406          13924   1050




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       11
                                                                              Kudumbashree


Scaling up and coverage of Kudumbashree

       The State Poverty Eradication Mission, launched its activities in urban
areas during April 1999. The scaling up process towards village panchayats
was undertaken in three different phases. During 2000 June, the activities
were expanded to 261 village panchayats, during 2001 September to 339 and
291 village panchayats during 2002 March. 100 village panchayats in
Malappuram district, where CDS system was prevalent as part of Community
Based Nutrition Programme was merged with Kudumbashree during 2000
June. The gradual growth of CBOs and thrift mobilised by the members are
shown in the graph given below.


                     160000                                                    151,406

                     140000                                         132,700
                                                          116,884
                     120000
       No. of NHGs




                     100000
                                               75,364
                      80000

                      60000

                      40000           30,946

                      20000   7,538
                         0
                              2000    2001      2002       2003      2004       2005




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                  12
                                                                    Kudumbashree



           Fighting poverty at grass root level
     Kudumbashree the overarching approach for poverty reduction has
visualized mobilisation of poor families under the network of Community
Based Organisation. The CBOs of poor in Kudumbashree is a three-fold
organization, which encompass 3.1 million families networked in to 1.51 lakh
Neighbourhood Groups, 13924 Area Development Societies and 1050
Community Development Societies. The women from poor families regularly
attend the meetings of the NHGs, discuss their problems, mobilize thrift,
administer need based lending, maintains accounts, venture in to small micro
enterprises, initiate action against social evils. Through the active involvement
in this process, the women from poor families are facilitated to learn new
lessons to tackle the multiple dimensions of poverty. This learning process
leads them to empowerment.

      'To reach out to families through women and to reach out community
through the family' is the working slogan of the Mission. When
Kudumbashree reaches the family through its members, there we feel the
presence of children, aged, adolescent girls, youth, etc with specific problems
of the category. Besides, the multiple deprivations faced by the family in
respect of the basic minimum needs, the problems faced by each individual in
the family increases its vulnerability. This situation has prompted the Mission
to chalk out a set of programmes to address the varying need of the members
of the family. Most of the programmes of the Mission are not preconceived,
discussed and deliberated at length or the out come of brainstorming sessions.
It emerged or sprouted from the bare necessities of the poor but nurtured
properly for optimal output and as such it becomes the specific areas where
the Mission focus rather than a set of programmes.

The focus areas of Mission are listed below:

1.    The Human Resource Development:

     The different tiers of the Community Based Organisations of poor are
being led by its leaders numbering to 7.5 lakh women from poor families.
Capacity building of these leaders is of paramount importance. They are
being trained regularly, motivated, and positioned in the community to meet
the challenges. Every two-year approximately 50% of the leaders are changing
since it is mandatory that no one should hold the same position for more than
two terms. The training module for the leaders of the CBOs in three phases
contain topics on Self Esteem, Community Development – New approach,
Urban/ Rural Community Development – Historical Background, Urban/
Rural anti poverty programmes in our country- Basic principles & Objectives,


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       13
                                                                    Kudumbashree


Details of SJSRY/ SGSY/ SGRY/NSDP/VAMBY etc – Aims, Objective and
various components,Women Empowerment – New Developmental approach,
Identification of poor- New Indicators, Structure of CBOs, CDS functionaries
– Roles and responsibilities, Thrift & Credit Operation, Thrift & Credit
Accounting, Agenda of Meeting and Preparation of minutes, Importance of
Participatory Approach, Training for Social Work, Training Methodology,
Social Work, Planning from the grass root.

    The phase II includes topics on Leadership & Team Work, Gender issues
in Development Process, Child Rights, Plan Monitoring and Evaluation,
Communication, State Action Plan, Conflict Management, Decision Making.

      The phase III is exclusively on Micro enterprises which contains topics
on Entrepreneurship Development, Developing Enterprises, Identification of
Projects for Successful Entrepreneur, Personal Management, Production
Management, Inventory Management, Finance Management, Marketing
strategies for Micro enterprises, Communications and Public relation, Plan
Assistance of Local Self Government. The massive training programmes are
organised in cascading type for which the master trainers are trained at first.

2.    Community Health:

      The achievements of health sector of the State are laudable and many
health indicators are comparable with that of developed countries. The high
life expectancy (74 yrs for male and 77 Female) low infant mortality rate (<13
for 1000 births), maternal mortality rate (0.08 for 1000 births), improved sex
ratio (1000:1059) etc are examples of this achievement. Despite these laudable
achievements, on a critical review it is observed that the benefits of the
developments in the health sector are not percolating to the poor to the
desired extent. The waterborne and poverty related diseases such as diarrhea,
leptospirosis, dengue fever, jaundice, typhoid, hoping cough, TB etc are
prevalent among the poor. The life style diseases such as blood pressure and
diabetics are also reported in an astonishing rate of 22% among poor. The
poor health situation not only keeps them in poverty but also increases the
burden on life and leads them to destitution. Therefore, under the leadership
of Community Health Volunteer of NHG a health care system is developed to
address the health needs of the poor. A detailed case study attached.


3.    Education:

     Education is yet another important area Kudumbashree focus. In the
education and literacy sectors also the State has achieved commendable
results. But it remains as a fact that nearly 18 % of the children who enroll in
the primary classes are not reaching the tenth standard. Normally, droping



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       14
                                                                    Kudumbashree


out from schools is a rare phenomena in Kerala society, but whatever drop
out are there, they are from BPL families. Most of the children leave the school
on the grounds related to poverty. The educational standards of poor are also
not to the desired level. Poverty denies opportunity for education both
general and higher education. The socio economic analysis of students who
failed on the examination shows that majority of them failed are from BPL
families. In the case of Therefore, Kudumbashree has facilitated the CBOs to
set up remedial education centers, organize vacation classes for the high
school children and ensure participation of the parents in PTA/Mother PTA
meetings. Special programme to improve employability of youth and
'Finishing schools' are also set up.


4.    Balasabha - Children's Neighbourhood

      Balasabhas are grass root level groups of the children of poor families.
They can be viewed as side shoots of Neighbourhood Groups formed under
Kudumbashree mission. The mission organises the children of the poor
families of the State into Balasabhas as a part of it’s holistic approach to wipe
out poverty. Catch them young and nip poverty in the buds is the guiding
slogan behind the Balasabha movement initiated by the Mission. All that are
required to ensure the overall development of the children of the BPL families
are matters of great concern and keen interest to Kudumbashree. Capacity
building, cultivation of creative potentials, ensuring of opportunities to
express, learn and develop, offering opportunity to identify and nurture
innate talents – Balasabhas leave no stone unturned to boost the healthy
growth and development of children.             Balasabhas provide an ideal
atmosphere for informal learning. They also supplement services required for
the proper development of children. Thousands and thousands of Balasabhas
have already come up under Kudumbashree. Each Balasabha provides a new
rhythm and harmony to children and enlightens their lives. The ultimate aim
is to emancipate the young generation of the poor families from the vicious
circle of poverty.

5.    Basic Minimum Need

     The CBOs of poor also address the basic Minimum Needs of the member
families. The infrastructure volunteer of the NHG takes the lead in preparing
micro plan at NHG level by assessing the needs of the poor. The micro plans
are prepared with the active participation of the members of the NHGs. The
Micro plans are integrated as mini plans at ADS level and the mini plans are
integrated as CDS plan at Municipal level. The CDS plans becomes the anti-
poverty Sub-plan of the local body for which about one third of the
development resources of the local body are earmarked.



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       15
                                                                    Kudumbashree


6.    Micro Finance & Linkage Banking

      1.    Thrift & Credit operation

      Kudumbashree promotes Thrift mobilization by setting up Thrift &
      Credit Societies at NHG level to facilitate the poor to save and to provide
      them cost effective and easy credit. Thrift and credit Societies facilitate
      easy and timely credit to the un-reached. A member can avail loan up to
      a maximum of four times of his savings. The amount of loan and the
      priority of disbursement are decided by the NHG. The repayment is
      collected weekly during the routine NHG meetings. The income towards
      interest from thrift is generally used for re-loaning. The most important
      aspect of the thrift and credit societies is the prompt repayment of loans.
      Thrift and credit societies organised by the Kudumbashree are fastly
      growing as Informal Banks of the poor women at their doorsteps. Most
      of the thrift societies are now capable of providing assistance even to
      income generating activities.

      2.    Bank Linkage Programme

      Efficiency and effectiveness of NHGs are to be verified on the basis of
      some objectively verifiable and easily identifiable parameters. NABARD
      has developed a 15-point index for rating NHGs on the basis of which
      they will be allowed to link with various banks under the Linkage
      Banking Scheme. Once the groups are linked, they will be eligible to
      receive finance in the ratio ranging from 1:1 to 1:9. The assistance so
      received can be utilised by the groups for internal lending and taking up
      of Micro Enterprises. Under the leadership of Kudumbashree District
      Mission Team, efforts are being taken to verify the performance of NHGs
      through out the State. As of date, 44325 NHGs are linked with NABARD
      under the linkage-banking scheme and Rs.153.689 crore is mobilized as
      loan from banks. This shows that our NHGs are equally competent to
      channel resources to the local bodies from banks.


7.    Micro Housing

    Micro housing is an innovative housing programme designed by
Kudumbashree to cater the housing need of the poor families in Kerala. This
is a lone alone housing scheme. Kudumbashree implementing this
programme with the active support of Nationalized, Scheduled Commercial
and Private Sector banks in Kerala. 10 banks such as SBI, SBT, Canara Bank,
Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, Dhanalekshmi
Bank, Syndicate Bank , ICICI bank & Union bank are now implementing this



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       16
                                                                     Kudumbashree


programme. In this programme, the bank provides loan up to Rs 50000/- @
7.25 % interest (fixed) and the repayment period is for ten years.

8.    Lease Land Farming

     Inspite of the fact that Kerala is a thickly populated state and there is
shortage for land, large areas of cultivable land is kept idle in the State due to
the waning interest in agriculture. On the other hand, thousands and
thousands of poor families who are ready to do anything for a livelihood do
not have land to venture into agriculture sector. When paddy cultivation
became a non-lucrative affair, farmers of the state deserted paddy fields.
Kudumbashree found this as an opportunity. Neighbourhood Groups of the
mission were given encouragement to start paddy cultivation. Many groups
have identified the immense potential of lease land farming. Lease land
farming is beneficial both to the landless poor women of Kudumbashree and
the landowners who are not interested in paddy cultivation. During the
current year lease land, farming was done in 16544.42 hectares. 250598
families, hailing from 22649 NHGs got benefited.

9.    Ashraya - Destitute Identification Rehabilitation and Monitoring
      Prioject

     While implementing the poverty alleviation programmes it has been
observed that the programmes implemented by the Government and other
agencies never reach to the rock bottom poor who live in utter distress and
despair who are very small in number- not more than 2% of the total
population. Even if anything reach to them that tantamount to doles of charity
and that too never helped them to cross the borders of poverty. They are
destitutes. They are the poorest of the poor. They are outliers of the
development scenario in the negative extreme. They live at the margins of the
economy, society and polity. They do not have a “voice” or the power of
“choice”.

     The destitute families were identified using transparent risk indices
framed by the Mission and a participatory need assessment was made to
assess the needs of each family. During 2002-03, 101 Village panchayats have
identified 8239 families and in 2003-04, 78 Village Panchayats have identified
6551 families for rehabilitation. The total project cost of 179 village panchayats
works out to Rs 74.18 crores. During the year 2004-05, another 117 Grama
panchayats have taken up the project with an outlay of Rs 48.05 crores.

10. Micro Enterprises

     Kudumbashree views Micro Enterprise Development as an opportunity
for providing gainful employment to the people below poverty line and



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                        17
                                                                       Kudumbashree


thereby improving their income and living standard. In the experience of
Kudumbashree micro enterprise development is an emerging process which
will start with low capital low risk and low profit at the initial stage which
will gain momentum and later switch on to low to medium capital and then
to low to medium risk. In an advanced stage, it may even reach medium
capital medium risk and medium profit with appropriate technology,
emerging technology or even with low technology.

      Capital
                         Risk Involved        Profit Generation Technology Used
     Employed
       Low                   Low                     Low             Low
    Low-Medium               Low                    Low +            Low
    Low-Medium            Low-Medium             Low-Medium          Low
                                                               Low, Appropriate
       Medium                Medium                 Medium
                                                                  Emerging

       In setting up of Micro enterprises for the poor and enabling to take up
livelihood activities Kudumbashree has developed its own methodology. So
far 27477 women from urban area and 2.07 lakh women from rural areas were
given the sustainable self-employment opportunities with reasonable income.
The activities taken up include those of sun rise sector such as, IT, Agri
business, Tourism related activities, Food Processing, Dairy Products, Solar
Cookers, Vidayasree (IT @ School), Integrated Coconut Processing
(Kerashree), Tissue Culture, Yathrashree (Chain Hotels), Solar dried
vegetables and fruits, Hotels and restaurants, Surgical Kit and Sanitary
Napkin, Ayurvedic tooth powder and allied products, Agri-horti-herbal
nurseries, exclusive vanila nurseries, Solid waste management units, bio
fertilizer manufacturing units, multi purpose job clubs, courier service and
several other activities in service, business and industry sectors run by
women from poor families..




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                           18
                                                                 Kudumbashree



     We acted while they debated on poverty
      Public debate on poverty generated more heat than light in India. And
Kerala was no exception. The eradication of poverty drew the attention of all
political masters.

The academic debates and political slogans

     Kudumbashree addressed multiple manifestations of poverty through a
multi-pronged strategy. In Kerala there are 22 government departments
implementing 45 self-employment programmes through its various agencies.
These programmes failed to achieve the target areas.

      These developmental programmes were not converged and
implemented unilaterally. Kudumbashree initiated a common platform to
anti-poverty programmes in the state and mobilized the poor and generated
demands. This approach helped to implement anti-poverty programmes more
effectively. This process has empowered the poor and social accounting
practices were initiated. To facilitate the community Based Organisations of
poor and local self-governments to achieve the desired goals, a series of
programmes were developed.


          Following stories reveal how effective Kudumbashree
                       in its fight against poverty

Kuttiyamma, no more scared

      Kuttiyamma maintains a garden in front of her house. Red Roses and
lilies bloom there. Her life has changed since she shifted to her newly
constructed home in Ayyappan Koil Panchayath in Idukki district of Kerala -
her status too. She is no more a destitute who lives on charity.

     58 year-old widow and her daughter were living in a hut on the
encroached revenue land for long. But Ashraya, a novel project initiated by
Kudumbashree and supported by the Panchayath provided her with a two-
bed room concrete house and five cents of land.

     “I feel happy. Now I too have a decent house to live”, says Kuttiyamma
with a beaming smile. Kuttiyamma started dreaming of new life. Now she is
confident enough to dream of tomorrow.

    Her life was full of tears. She was born as poor and lived her whole life
in miseries. She was married when she was 24. Her husband Jose died of
Tuberculosis. She did odd jobs to feed her two daughters.



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                    19
                                                                   Kudumbashree



      “When I look back, I’m still scared. I don’t know how I managed my
life”, replies Kuttiyamma when asked about her past. Her wrinkled face tells
her struggle and helplessness.

     When the pilot project of Ashraya was implemented in Ayyappankoil
panchayath, the Committee unanimously identified Kuttiyamm’s family as
the poorest of the poor in the panchayath. The Panchayath Committee
prepared a micro plan to rehabilitate Kutiyamma and her daughter. The
micro-plan envisaged land, house and means of livelihood for her family.

    The panchayath purchased 5 cents of land and constructed a beautiful
house for her.

     “I know Kuttiyamma for a long time. I wanted to help her but there was
no provision in our budget to provide her financial assistance. Ashraya gave
us an opportunity to help the poorest of the poor in our society”, comments
Vijayamma Joseph, the president of Ayyappankoil Panchayath.

     “We have done a survey to identify the destitute families in our
panchayath through Community development societies and shortlisted the
beneficiaries. Kuttiyamma’s case was the worst of all. Her life is an open book
and everybody knows about her miseries. Then we made a micro-plan to
rehabilitate her family”, narrates the Panchayath President about the Ashraya
project that gifted Kuttiyamma with new existence.

      “Local people also contributed for the construction of the house. Some of
her neighbours sponsored kitchen utensils and furniture. Some of her well-
wishers came forward to do voluntary works to minimize construction costs”,
reveals Vijayamma who took personal interest to complete the construction in
time.

     Large number of villagers came forward to help Kuttiyamma and her
family. The villagers have shown great seal of social commitment to help the
family in the rehabilitation process. When her neighbours found that she has
no water connection, they dig a well for her. Now the Panchayath is trying to
provide her family a means of livelihood. So she can live comfortably.

     When the house was completed, the whole village joined her family to
celebrate the glorious moments. They gifted her with all the things that
helped to start her life fresh.

      Today her small drawing room is decorated with the pictures of Mother
Theresa and Virgin Mary whom she worship and pray. “I prayed to God all
the time in my life. Now God has given me everything that I have prayed. I’m
grateful to all”, says Kuttiyamma whose life has pitched in pleasant turns.


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      20
                                                                   Kudumbashree



     “We have solved most of her problems. But few more things have to be
sorted out. Her eldest daughter who was married, has returned home as her
in-laws were demanding more money. Now she has find a way to pay the
money”, reveals Reena Jacob, President Community Development Society.
Kuttiyamma is now confidant that she will be able to pay the money within
two months. Now she has number wellwishers in the village who are ready to
lend a helping hand. And she is no more a destitute and her life has become
more colourful.

Making a difference - Aishwarya Enterprises, Kattappana

      Archana never dreamt that her life is going to change when she joined
Kudumbashree Neighbourhood Group in Kattappana, a township in Iduukki
district of Kerala. She has joined the group out of compulsion from her friends
and neighbours. Today Archana and her friends in Aisharya unit are
managing St. John’s Hospital canteen successfully. These poor women are
showing a way to the rest of the world how poverty can be eradicated
through successful micro-ventures.

    Forty-one year old Archana has a tale to tell. An innocent divorcee with
two daughters of the age of twenty and seventeen, she was struggling to
make a living. She cursed her life when she found there is no hope and
prayed to all Gods to save her from misery.

      Archana and her friends were looking for a right opportunity to start a
micro-enterprise in their area. They discussed various possibilities and tried
to learn about each venture. They were all worried about the risks involved
availing bank loans subsequent loss. They were confronted with more
stumbling blocks as they debated over the risk factors more critically. It was
Usaha, one of the group members who came up with idea of running a hotel
in their township. She has managed teashop for a year and closed it after
incurring loss.
      It was beginning of seeing a ray of hope. Then they started looking for an
ideal spot to open their hotel. But the rent was high and they were not sure
about the returns. They almost abandoned the idea of running hotel. But luck
was in their favour.

    Then they saw advertisement in local newspapers inviting tenders for
running a canteen in St. John’s Hospital, Kattappana. They went and met the
hospital authorities and applied for it.

    “We never thought that we would win the open tender. Most of our
group members never had the expertise of running a hotel. But we
approached the Director of the hospital and explained our situation. We



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      21
                                                                   Kudumbashree


assured him that we would do our best and provide good food at a
reasonable price. He was convinced about our intentions” narrates Jolly,
Secretary of the group who are running the canteen in profit for the last seven
months.

     They were given premises on lease for Rs. 1000 per day and have to pay
Rs. 7000 as electricity charges. Aisharya catering unit has availed bank loan
for Rs. 200,000.

      “We feel happy today as our venture is running in profit and we have
started repaying our loan amount” says Archana who dreams of diversifying
their business venture.

      “We have realized that we can do things in better way and we are
inferior to none. This awareness has filled new meaning in our lives. Now our
husbands listen to us and consult us before taking a decision”, says Usha, a
team member.

     She is looking at life with new enthusiasm and vigour. She has taken
loan of Rs. 50,000 to build her house and she has saved Rs. 10,000 in her
account and repaid Rs. 31,000 of her loan amount. She earns Rs. 2400 while
working in the canteen as her wages. More than that now she can maintains
her family budget within her resources. Like her friends, she too dreams of a
better tomorrow where her daughter and son do not have to struggle like her.
“When I told my husband that our group is going to run the hospital canteen,
he didn’t like the idea. He discouraged me and told me that our experiment
would fail. Today he appreciates our efforts and support us”, says Usha who
believes that poor women can change their destiny if they have the
determination and the will.

     Marykutty Joseph, another group member has a different story to tell.
She had to borrow Rs. 10 to open her thrift account two years back. Her friend
s motivated her to save the thrift amount. Now she is earning Rs 2500 per
month and helping her husband to run the family smoothly.

     “We have learnt how to work together and earn together. If we need
money, we can take loan from our thrift fund. Our savings and our
enterprises have given us new status. People around us are treating us with
respect and regard”, replies Marykutty Joseph who is busy with serving tea in
the canteen.

      These poor women who is running a micro-enterprise and earning good
sum of money for their livelihood are helping the poor patients who seek
their help. They provide free food to 10 to 12 poor patients who are admitted
in the hospital. They donate Rs. 300 to Akasha Paravakal, a destitute home in



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      22
                                                                  Kudumbashree


Kattappana and Rs 50 to an orphanage. They also give money for buying
medicines for the poor people as a social commitment. These semi-literate
women who had changed their destiny with immense fighting spirit and hard
work, are showing way to the rest of the world.

     “We are helping them because we have experienced similar situations in
our lives. We are happy to share our profit with the less privileged and poor.
Because we believe it’s our duty to help them”, says Archana whose initiative
and leadership qualities have helped the group to scale success with rare
social commitment.

Information Technology brightens their lives....

     Kerala IT wiz-kids made a name and money in Silicon Valley years back.
Many followed their path and IT became a short cut to instant career success
in India. Money, glamour and technology fascinated millions of Indian youth
to IT world. But not many poor was provided with this global opportunity in
Kerala, the southern Indian state. They were not techno savvy and IT was
beyond their reach.

     But Kudumshree changed these misconceptions about IT and used it as
an effective tool to eradicate poverty in Kerala. New Info IT solutions,
Kattappana is one of such models where eight women entrepreneurs from
Below Poverty Line families making their venture a grand success.

      New Info IT established in Kattappana, an urban village in Idukki
district of Kerala has become an icon of women empowerment in the high
ranges. They have initiated their IT intervention with a loan amount of Rs.
2,50,000 and offering various courses in IT at an affordable fee. They also
undertake various job works for the government department.

     “When we started this venture, many predicted that we would end in
loss. But we were determined to make it a success. In fact, their
discouragement helped us to make it a success”, says Shelgy Abraham,
President of the unit.

She has come a long way from her despair. Seven of her promoters are
graduates and post graduate diploma holders in computer application.

      “Our knowledge level has increased as Kudumbashree provides good
training for running the micro-enterprises. We have learnt a lot by running
our enterprise for the last two years. If everything goes normal phase, soon
we all cross the BPL index ”, she admits. A dream Kudumbashree cherished
for long.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                     23
                                                                   Kudumbashree


     The success story of New Info Unit in Kattappana tells dramatic changes
taking place in the villages and townships in Kerala. The poor women who
were ignored in their families have joined together to make each enterprise a
big success and earning good amount money and changing the social
perception about the gender equality.

      They are giving training in various IT related courses. “We started with
basic courses in IT and lots of poor students benefited out of it. Earlier IT
courses were very expensive and poor students were not able to afford their
fees. We changed the scenario and other institutes were forced to reduce their
fees when we started training programmes at reasonable fees”, says Shelgy.
Now their competitors have slashed their fees to outsmart them in the
business. But they have decided not to yield their pressures.

     “Our profit is not limited to monetary terms or balance sheet of our unit.
Today people take us seriously. Even our family members are looking at us
with great respect. We are no more the silly girls who can be taken lightly. We
support our families when they need financial assistance”, narrates Shelgy
who experiences a sea of changes after she become successful entrepreneur.

     Today each member is getting Rs. 2500 as their remuneration and they
have repaid 50% of their loan amount. Now the group is planning to buy a
space in the town and shift their unit to new place. They also wanted to
upgrade their skills in programming to diversify their service area and grab
opportunities.

     “We are planning to develop software packages for shops and hospitals.
We are sending two of our colleagues to specialize in software development.
Then only we can better our profit margins and compete with others”, reveals
Shelgy about her future plans. The group is diversifying into other areas of
Information Technology to withstand market competition.

     “Now we can dream a lot and plan for tomorrow. We have money,
credibility and confidence. We have learnt hard lessons through our
experience. Now we want to help others who wants to better their life”, says
the team leader with a warm smile. They feel proud about what they do. It’s
not just money alone that motivates them to work hard. The enterprise gave
them new identity and opportunity.

Rabbits saving families from mass suicide in Idukki

     Semi-literate poor women of Neelivayal love their rabbits more than
their children. It’s the only hope they have during the time of economic
depression and drought. The cute rabbits in their little cages are their only
means of livelihood making their lives easy.


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      24
                                                                   Kudumbashree



      Neelivayal, a sleepy village in Thankamani Panchayath in Iddukki
district of Kerala found a way out to beat economic depression and price fall
of cash crops. The poor farmers of are the victims of drought and floods that
visit them annually. Globalization also resulted fall of their cash crops. But
Kudumbashree intervened through its Community Development Society and
mobilized them to develop the cluster of Rabbit Rearing units in the
Thankamani Panchayath.

     The poverty Eradication Mission of Kerala trained the poor women of
Neelivayal to initiate rabbit rearing as a micro-enterprise in the Panchayath.
Today the poor women of Neelivayal are happy as their initiative helped
them to have an easy life during recession.

     They changed the course of their destiny through their unity and
determination when many of their villagers committed suicides, as they could
not bear the brunt of recession. The success stories of these women become
glorious as the Idukki district constitute highest number of suicides among
the agrarian families.

     “I never believed that rabbits could save our family from poverty. But
today each member in our group is earning Rs. 3,000 per month from rabbit
rearing”, says Elsy Joseph who is the president of Chaithannya Rabbit
Rearing Unit in Neelivayal. The 15 member group started this venture three
years back, has more than 1,000 rabbits in different stages.

      “Rabbit rearing is ideal for us. We have started this enterprise with a
loan amount of Rs. 2,00,000. One of our members had undergone training for
Rabbit rearing also helped us initially. She taught us how to rear rabbits. In
fact this was the only consolation we had when recession followed by drought
and flood hit our village”, comments Elsy Joseph.

      According to her, rabbit rearing is very productive, reproducing rapidly
and producing good quality meat and can be maintained on kitchen waste,
non-toxic weed, locally available leaves, agricultural by products. They are
useful animal for individual farmers, and village groups. The rabbits can
easily be maintained on high forage, low grain diet that is unsuited for human
consumption. Moreover, as compared to other livestock, they require low
level of nutrients and energy.

      “It’s cost-effective and highly profitable. We have learnt the skills for
raising rabbits with seven days training”, says Lissy Mathew who trained her
neighbours the skills of breeding and raising rabbits in Neelivayal.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      25
                                                                    Kudumbashree


     Lissy, poor housewife turned to rabbit rearing as a backyard venture to
earn some money and help her family. It was difficult for her to market the
meat and the venture collapsed when her rabbits died of virus attack. When
Kudumbashree was formed in her village, she joined the Neighbourhood
Help Group and Bank linkage helped her to restart her old venture.

      “I was convinced from my experience that rabbit rearing is a profitable
venture. But when I told my friends about this they were doubtful. Many of
them felt that we were not able to market the meat at a good price as the
villagers are not money rich to consume rabbit meat and we have no
knowledge about marketing it outside”, narrates Lissy the saga of their
success.

      Rabbit meat is now consumed in small quantities in India. The nutritive
value of rabbit meat is very high as compared to other meat. Rabbit meat is
easily digestible, the protein content is higher than that of many kinds of meat
and the protein value of domestic rabbit rank higher than any other meat
used for human consumption besides rich in vitamin B and low in fat and
cholesterol contents. Under Indian conditions, broiler production has touched
2.2 kg live weight per animal in the age group of 12 weeks.

     “Like all other micro-entrepreneurs, our major concern was marketing.
But Kudumbashree district Mission Coordinator assured us marketing slot if
we rear rabbits in large number. He told us if we rear rabbit in small numbers,
the marketing will be difficult and we would not get good price. We decided
to follow his advice”, says Lissy who learnt from her experience that rabbit
rearing could be more profitable if done in clusters in the village.

     “If the production is more in numbers, we get better price and regular
order. It will help us to avail the service of the veterinary doctors and reduce
the cost of production”, says Lissy.

      Breeding management and maintenance of breeding stock play an
important role in rabbit farming. The ratio of male and female for breeding is
1:5. Breeding is quite easy but should be used only after fully grown-normally
around 8 months old. Choose only healthy, large rabbits which have come
from large litters for breeding.

     Mating is done within buck’s cage and if females are ready, mating
should take place immediately and may last for 30 seconds to a few minutes.
After successful service, the buck usually falls to his side and the doe is
removed to her cage. If the doe refuses to mate, it can be presented to another
buck very next day. Abdominal palpation 10-14 days after mating is a reliable



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       26
                                                                    Kudumbashree


method of diagnosis of pregnant does. Three weeks later, move the pregnant
females into a separate cage with a nest box containing bedding material. She
will give birth a month after mating. The nest should be checked as soon as
after kindling and dead litter if any, are removed. Litter size generally range
from 7-8 for medium/heavy breeds. Weaning of young one is usually done at
6-8 weeks of age.

      Lissy has mastered the techniques of breeding and helping her group
members with her skills. Her experience and training help her to identify the
common diseases that are fatal in rabbit rearing. Her story is a real example of
how a micro-enterprise empower a poor semi-literate woman economically
and with technical know-how. She feels confidant as she is donning in the role
of a trainer in rabbit rearing.

      “Rabbit rearing not only helped us economically but also reshaped our
lives. Now we don’t sit ideal or involve in silly talks. Our family members
also involve in our venture and motivating us to do better. More than
everything, now our villagers are coming to us and seeking our advice on
rabbit rearing. These rabbits have brightened our lives”, says Elsy Jacob.

     Rabbit rearing helped them to increase their thrift amount and support
their families for better education and medical care. Some of the group
members have taken loan for the construction of their house. They are
planning to increase the production to generate more money to repay their
loan amount. And rabbits make their lives more comfortable and dignified.

Shakthi Hollow-Bricks Unit Iddinjangode, Kairadi , Palakkad
Women of iron will vs Muscle power

     Women of Iddinjangode, a hilly village in Palakkad district in Kerala,
fear none, not even the organized trade unions. They have proved beyond
doubt that none has the right to deny their livelihood through a legal battle in
High Court of Kerala.

     They filed a petition in the High Court and won the case when the trade
Unions in their village obstructed loading and unloading of Hollow bricks
that they manufactured in their premises. Shakthi Hollow Bricks Unit in
Iddinjangode showed their mettle when they fought the case against the trade
unions. Now they are confidant as the legal battle helped them to unite
together and fight together. Their story reveals that women can match men
and outsmart them when they fight each other.

     “We ventured into cement hollow bricks manufacturing just to make a
living. We took a loan of Rs. 1,00,000 to start Cement Hollow bricks unit as


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       27
                                                                    Kudumbashree


there is a great demand for bricks in our area. But when we manufactured the
hollow bricks, trade unions demanded more money for loading the bricks in
the lorries. We struck a deal with them paying 40 paisa per brick initially.
After two months they demanded a hefty raise and insisted that we should
pay Rs. 1.50 per piece that was not acceptable to us. If we pay such hefty
amount for just loading the bricks in lorries, our unit would have closed
down. We tried to reason with members of all trade union who are our
neighbours. But they were very adamant and told us to close down the unit or
pay their hefty loading charges”, says Bindu Aliyar, the president of Shakthi
Hollow Bricks unit, Idinjangode. Bindu along with six others of her
Neighbourhood Group started this venture in 2003 after attending one week
training in manufacturing hollow bricks provided by Kudumbashree.

      “We have spent more than Rs.1,25,000 to purchase machinery and
electricity connection. We have pledged our gold ornaments and borrowed
money from our friend to start the enterprise. How can we close down our
unit?”, Bindu reveals her struggle and dilemma.

      They approached the political leaders and Panchayath authorities and
convinced them about their pathetic conditions. But none was ready to
intervene in the matter as the trade unions were politically organized. So
Bindu and her friends filed a police complaint in Nenmara police station
seeking police protection for manufacturing and loading the hollow bricks in
their unit. The reconciliation talks failed and all trade unions despite their
political difference united together to close down their unit. And the poor
women were out of business as trade unions threatened them with dire
consequence.

       “We cried as we nobody to help us. The police official told us if we get a
favourable court order, he could give us protection. Finally we decided to
fight our case”, narrates Bindu her ordeal of becoming a successful
entrepreneur. The poor women of Idinjangode went all the way to
Ernakulam, 100 Kilometers away from their native village to file their case.
They were for the first time visiting the city alone. They have only vague idea
of filing a case in the High Court and never in their life they had gone to court
or seek the help of an advocate.

    “We went to the police station for the first time in our lives to file a
complaint. It was the first we went to the court”, says Sally Saji, a group
member.

     They filed the petition through Advocate Balasubramanyam in the High
court and the court issued an order in favour of them. And police



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                        28
                                                                 Kudumbashree


implemented the court order very next day and today they are not paying
loading charges to trade unions. And their unit is running in profit.

     “Our bitter experience taught us a good lesson. Never dishearten with
the resistance. Today we can face any challenges”, says Bindu confidently.
Their legal battle has earned them name and fame in their village.

      “When we had problems, we never sought the help of our husbands or
relatives to solve the problems. We wanted to prove that we would not yield
to pressure tactics or threats. They (trade unions) thought that we were poor
women and would not challenge them in the court. The legal battle boosted
our morale and confidence. Now nobody dares to challenge us”, says Priya
Vijayan, a group member motivated the group to fight back.

    “If we had succumbed to the pressures and yielded to their demands, we
would have never become successful as entrepreneurs”, remarks Priya.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                    29
                                                                      Kudumbashree




               Micro Financing and Linkage Banking


    Deprivation is a curse that leads the poor people to the acute misery of
poverty, and it all starts when money plays a major role in increasing the
magnitude of their misery.

     Poor people usually are of that socially and financially insecure class,
who are daily laborers or depend on other meager sources of money for their
survival. In this era of increasing prices, people try to save their earnings to be
financially secure. But even here the poor are cheated by their fate, they are
hardly able to meet their needs with the small amount they earn, how can
they think of savings. And thus day-by-day they are pushed deeper and
deeper into the vicious grip of poverty.

      The mission thus felt the need to promote the saving habits in the poor
families, and thus evolved the concept of micro financing. The basic concept
of micro financing is that, to promote small savings from the poor families in
the form if thrift in their NHGs; and help them raise bulk loans from that
small savings. The first step to this may be said as micro credit.

     Clara from Needakara gramapanchayat, a fish vendor says “I used to
take Rs. 1000 as loan daily for buying fish. The moneylender used to give me
only Rs. 900, which after my day sales I had to return as Rs. 1000. I had no
other choice as who else would lend money to poor people like us. But now I
can take loan from my NHG Sagara that to at as low rate of interest as Rs. 10
per month on 1000. It is now that I realise how much money I have lost to the
moneylender. As the rate of interest paid by me then was Rs. 100/day for Rs.
1000 (whereas now Rs. 10/month). It is not only the easiness in taking loans,
but also that its me and my neighbours in our NHG who manage our money
and decide whom to give loans”.

Micro Finance For Poverty Reduction

     Micro finance is being used by Kudumbashree as a major tool for
poverty eradication. Not only finance at their door step; they themselves
manage it. Put together they have mobilised Rs. 432.34 crores and lent Rs.
874.78 crores; They are the owners, managers and officers of their bank!. The
mission follows a simple model of micro finance to facilitate easier availability
and better utilisation of loans for the poor people.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                         30
                                                                        Kudumbashree


Kudumbashree model of Micro Finance
   Start with Thrift
   Sanction of credit
   Repayment and monitoring of credit
   Grading of NHGs- system regularisation & perfection
   Linking with banks
   Development of Micro Enterprise by availing loan from NHG
   Training
   Market development
   Generation of income and repayment of loan to NHG
   Repayment of Bank loan by NHG

Micro Credit

The small credit that the poor people take with the help of their thrift is termed as
micro credit.

i)    Thrift & Credit

        Kudumbashree promotes Thrift mobilization by setting up Thrift &
Credit Societies at NHG level to facilitate the poor to save and to provide
them cost effective and easy credit. Thrift and credit Societies help to provide
easy and timely credit to the un-reached. A member can avail loan up to a
maximum of four times of his savings. The amount of loan and the priority of
disbursement are decided by the NHG. The repayment is collected weekly
during the routine NHG meetings. The income towards interest from thrift is
generally used for re-loaning. The most important aspect of the thrift and
credit societies is the prompt repayment of loans.

       Kudumbashree is the largest micro finance institution in the State that
encompasses 1,51,406 Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs), 13,924 Area
Development Societies (ADS) and 1,050 Community Development Societies
(CDS). This federated network has a membership to 30,98,011 lakh poor
families. The thrift mobilised by the NHGs amounts to Rs. 432.34 crores and
this has been circulated as loan amounting to Rs. 874.78 crores. The Thrift &
Credit Societies at NHG level motivates and facilitate the poor to save and
provide them with cost effective and easy credit. The poor families bring in
small sums according to their capability, pool them together, form a corpus
and take back loans to meet their immediate needs without depending on the
whims and fancies of money lenders, formal or informal. It's their money and
it's their decision to invest and withdraw.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                           31
                                                                                        Kudumbashree


      The thrift operation
also necessitates a formal                                           Thrift Growth
bank account that is                                   1000
operated jointly by the                                900
                                                                      T hrift                             874.78
President and Secretary. In                            800            Loan




                                    Amount in Crores
rotation all the members                               700
of     the   NHGs       get                            600
opportunity to attend the                              500
                                                                                                     456.82
                                                                                                       432.34
bank, involve in the                                   400
transactions and learn the                             300                                    286.59 278.17
banking procedures. This                               200                             189.73 210.99
                                                                                       172.99
gives them confidence,                                 100 3.47       48.78 44.72
                                                                16.77
builds self-esteem and                                   0     2.35 13.71         51.91
                                                                            41.62
awareness of their rights.                                 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2003 2003 2004
                                                            Jan Dec Dec Jan Feb June Dec Dec
      A member can avail
loan up to a maximum of four times of her savings. The amount of loan and
the priority of disbursement are decided by the NHG. The repayment is
collected weekly during the routine NHG meetings. The income towards
interest from thrift is generally used for re-loaning. The most important aspect
of the thrift and credit societies is the prompt repayment of loans with market
rate of interest.



                                                                           12%                Consumption Needs
                                                                                 6%
                                  12%
     71%                                                                          4%          Contingency Needs


                                  10%                                                         Festivity Needs
                             7%
                                                              78%                             IG Activity

       In 1998, Rs.11.15 Mn                                         In 2004, Rs. 293.87 Mn



a)     Informal Banks at the Doorsteps of the Poor

     Thrift and credit societies facilitated by Kudumbashree are growing as
Informal Banks at the doorsteps of the poor women. It is a bank that is open
24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days in a year. It is operated and
managed by themselves, they are the owners, officers and beneficiaries. Most
of the thrift societies have even become capable of providing assistance for
income generating activities.

           The Salient features of the Micro finance is given below


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                              32
                                                                              Kudumbashree



       Poor can save – “We are poor, we cannot open a bank account. We
        wanted to save; but them was no opportunity. Now we have thrift &
        credit society of our NHG; quite simple carry and flexible. We make
        our decision in NHG meeting. Ours is an informal bank. We put
        money; we get a pass book; we can withdraw money; we decide who is
        to be given loan; what amount; `we manage our money’ ” says
        Narayaniamma, Venganoor gramapanchayat, Thiruvananthapuram
        district.
       Flexible financial service
       Enables to undertake Micro Enterprises
       Informal bank
       Easy to avail
       Facilitate timely credit
       Low transaction cost
       Poor can pay interest at market rate
       Weekly repayment
       Transparency in operation
       Loan disbursement – Need based
       Loans at the convenience of the poor
       No collateral security
       Time saving
       Credit at the doorstep
       Prompt repayment due to peer pressure
       Leap in self-confidence and building up of self esteem

The Present Status of Thrift & Credit Operation in Kudumbashree is given
below

        As on 31.12.2004

                              NHG           ADS           CDS     Thrift         Credit
Urban                 8614                   725           59    27.80 cr.      29.39 cr.
Rural                140743                 13199         991    400.97 cr.     841.14 cr.
Tribal                2049                                        3.57 cr.       4.25 cr.
Total                151406                 13924         1050    432.34         874.78
ii) Bank Linkage Programme

     The financing pattern when promoted among the poor, it received a
response to which the mission felt the need to involve various banks, so that
the poor can get better loans. To facilitate the process in a better manner, a
linkage programme has been evolved with the help of NABARD. Efficiency
and effectiveness of NHGs are to be verified on the basis of some easy



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                 33
                                                                                                            Kudumbashree


parameters. NABARD has developed a 15-point index for rating NHGs on
the basis of which they will be allowed to link with various banks under the
Linkage Banking Scheme. Once the groups are linked they will be eligible to
receive finance in the ratio ranging from 1:1 to 1:9. The assistance so received
can be utilized by the groups for internal lending and taking up of Micro
Enterprises. Under the leadership of Kudumbashree District Mission Team,
efforts are being taken to verify the performance of NHGs through out the
State. About 44325 NHGs are linked with NABARD under the linkage-
banking scheme and about Rs. 153.69 crore is mobilized as loan from banks
(The district wise position of Linkage Banking Programme is attached). This
shows that our NHGs are equally competent to channel resources to the local
bodies from banks.

The 15-point index rating Criteria for the linkage-banking Programme for
the evaluation of the NHGs are;

    1. Composition
    2. Age of the group
    3. Weekly group meetings
    4. Attendance
    5. Minutes
    6. Participation in group discussion
    7. Savings (frequency)
    8. Savings and loan recovery
    9. Style of functioning & group decisions
    10. Sanction and disbursement in of loans
    11. Interest on loans
    12. Utilisation of savings on loaning
    13. Recovery of loans
    14. Books of accounts
    15. Bye laws/group rules

                           From Micro Finance to Micro Capital to
                                    Micro Enterprise

                      Identification                                MH
                                                                              Micro Housing
                      Formation      CBO
                                                                           MI       Micro
                      Leadership
                                                                                    Insurance
                                                                                     Income generation
                     Thrift &
                     credit                                                           Capacity building
                                               MF
                     Self help &                                                      Networking
                     Mutual help
                                                                                      Local economic
                                                                                      development
                      Capital                  MC                    ME
                      formation                                                       Poverty reduction


            Reaching out the families through women & Reaching out the community through families …    39




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                                              34
                                                                Kudumbashree



              Information Technology Winning Tool
                       for the Poor Women

The origin of Kudumbashree IT Units

       During July, 1999 Smt. Vasantha, a widow aged 35 came to
Kudumbashree office in search of a part time sweeper job. She was a degree
holder and also had done some computer courses. Her husband died due to
cardiac arrest who was a truck driver. Vsantha has two children and
struggling hard to earn their daily bread. Dire necessities forced here to
request even for a part time sweeper job. But Kudumbashree had no other
option at that time but to refuse her request. Already there was a sweeper,
who is an abandoned lady. On further enquiry, we came to know that
Thiruvananthapuram Corporation was imparting training on Computer
applications to girls and boys under Peoples Plan Campaign, but there was
no scheme for settling them either for wage employment or for self
employment.

     Around this time there was news from the Directorate of Panchayat that
the Hon. High Court has initiated steps against the Department for contempt
of court for non-complying the court order to issue Provident Fund credit
cards to their employees for the last 8 years. There were about 10500 odd
employees working in 991 grama Panchayats and 14 district offices. It is was
a Herculean task to prepare all these credit cards manually. They have
approached KELTRON and some other agencies for computerized
preparation of the credit cards, but their estimates were quite high and the
department could not meet the expenditure from the budget immediately.
Up-to that time only big business houses having hundreds of computers and
other facilities have tried to enter into the bulk data processing field.
Moreover, there was an unholy understanding between the players of this
area that prevents the entry of new comers especially the small players.

      This situation has prompted Kudumbashree to think about starting
computer data processing units of women belonging to poor families by
harnessing different self-employment programmes of central and state
Governments. The message was conveyed to the Kudumbashree district
Mission and Thiruvananthapuram corporation CDS and asked them to
identify qualified, women from the NHGs of their CDS those who are willing
to work in a computer data processing unit. The response was tremendous
and about 40 women belonging to 3 ADSs came forward for first round
interview and training. After a series of discussions and capacity building
trainings 10 poor women were selected for starting the first data processing
unit of Kudumbashree. The unit was named as "Technoworld Digital


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                   35
                                                                    Kudumbashree


Technologies". Smt. Shammema was the leader of the group and Smt. S.
Rajam was the Group Secretary. Smt. Vasantha who came for the part time
sweeper job was also one among the members of the group. The unit started
functioning on 15th September 1999 at Thiruvananthapuram with 5 PCs, one
Dot matrix printer and one 3 KVA On-line UPS. Initially, Kudumbashree has
provided some space at the ground floor of the District Mission Office for
starting the unit and later on they have shifted the centre to a rented building
near Kumarapuram, Thiruvananthapuram. The project cost was Rs.2.90 lakhs
out of which Rs.1.50 was arranged from Syndicate Bank, Fort Branch as loan
under SJSRY scheme, Rs.1.25 was given as subsidy from Kudumbashree and
Rs.15,000/- was came from the unit members as their share.

     Meanwhile Kudumbashree has canvassed the PF credit card preparation
work of Pachayat Directorate at an estimated cost of Rs.6.28 lakhs and the
work was entrusted with this unit. The unit has also got good response from
private, govt. and semi-government institutions for data entry, DTP, Software
Development, Web Site Designing, Hosting and Maintenance, Supply of
manpower to computer related jobs         etc. Presently they are having 27
computers 1 High Speed Laser Printer, 1 Dot Matrix Printer, Scanner, CD
Writer, Three 3 KVA UPS etc.        Up-to December, 2004 they have earned
Rs.78.28 lakhs through these works. The unit is functioning in 2 shifts and
providing employment opportunities to another 55 poor women mostly form
the Neighbourhood groups. They have completed the loan repayment during
February, 2003. Now they are planning to buy a piece of land and construct a
building of their own in the prime space of Thiruvananthapuram city.

Scaling up

      After carefully studying the progress of the first           IT Unit,
Kudumbashree has decided to start more units in the Urban areas. By March
2000, 48 such units were started in 34 Municipalities. Gradually the number
has increased and by December 2004 there are 78 Kudumbashree Computer
Units functioning in 54 Urban Local bodies and 8 Grama Panchayats. Most of
the units have 10 to 20 computers and other accessories. At present 780
women are members of Kudumbashree IT Units. They are also providing
employment to another 642 women on contract. 44 units have completed
their loan repayment. On an average the unit members are getting Rs.2000/-
to 3500/- p.m. In the meantime Kudumbashree has established the brand
names "Technoworld", "Technoshree", and "Technoinfos" in the data
processing field.

    Kudumbashree IT Units are capable of doing any type of data processing
works in English, Malayalam and Tamil. There is no other single organisation



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       36
                                                                Kudumbashree


in Kerala having the capacity of doing bulk data entry work in a distributed
manner covering all the 14 districts. By executing the work in a distributed
manner will help the speedy completion of the work as well as cost effective
to the customers.

Other initiatives in the IT field:

1.    Vidyashree IT @ School Units

     Kudumbashree has facilitated to start 151 Computer Education units at
Govt. and Private Secondary Schools under IT @ School project of Education
Department, Govt. of Kerala for imparting computer education for High
School students. The group size is from 5 to 10 members depending upon the
number of students in each school. 910 women got employment under this
project.

2.    Computer Hardware Units

      There was a growing demand from Kudumbashree data processing units
and IT @ School education units for computers and computer related services.
This has given birth to Kudumbashree Computer Hardware Assembling
units. At present 5 computer hardware units are functioning in 4 different
locations. They are selling computer in the brand name of Kudumbashree
Computer Links (KCL).

    Kudumbashree has a well-organized system for monitoring the day-to-
day activities of all these units. All the units have Telephone and Internet
connectivity.

Kudumbashree Support

Training:

      Kudumbashree has provided various trainings to the IT Unit members
on technical as well as managerial aspects. A six day PIP training by EDII,
Ahamedabad is a compulsory training to all units between 6 to 12 months of
its inception.

Canvassing orders:-

     Kudumbashree has helped the units to canvass the Data Processing
works of various Government Departments worth Rs. 8.22 crores. Some of
the major Govt. departments entrusted the data processing works to
Kudumbashree Units are Panchayat Directorate, State Finance Commission,
Information Kerala Mission (IKM), Municipal Directorate , Civil Supplies



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                   37
                                                                  Kudumbashree


Department, Registration Department, Kerala State Housing Board, Public
Relations Department,        Rubber Board, Employment Exchanges, Motor
Vehicles Department, Tribal development Department, Social Welfare
Department, Rural Development Department,                 Revenue Department,
Department of Public Grievances and Pensions, Govt. of India. New Delhi
etc. The units have undertaken the Web site designing and hosting of Public
Relations Department, State Planning Board and Kerala Power Finance
Corporation Ltd., Socio Economic Unit Foundation, Thiruvananthapuram
Development Authority (TRIDA), Kerala Agriculture Department, Clean
Kerala Mission., RSVY Project, Palakkad, Department of Economics &
Statistics etc and some of the web sites are still maintained by our units.

Software Development:

     Kudumbashree has a well-qualified software team at Head Office. In
some cases the Kudumbashree software team is developing data entry
software as per requirements of the customers. These will helps to canvass
more data entry works to Kudumbashree IT Units. The service of this team is
also using for trouble shooting on Software and Hardware related problems
in Kudumbashree IT Units at free of cost.

Workshops/Seminars

      Before starting any major data processing work distributed through
Kudumbashree, the representatives of the IT Units will be called for a
workshop at Thiruvananthapuram and explained the software and the entire
process. They will also be given hands of practice on the software and its
installation and data backup operations. The final data from the units is also
collected at Kudumbashree Head office for quality checking and
consolidation before transferring the data to the customers concerned.

Future Plans:

    1.    Kudumbashree is planning to increase the data processing units to
          100 units from the present 78.
    2.    Each unit should have their own buildings within next 5 years.
    3.    A federation of these groups will be formed and equip them to
          canvass and execute bulk data processing works from within and
          outside India.
    4.    Develop the units as a major BPO agency in the state.
    5.    Explore other areas such as content creation, web site designing,
          hosting & maintenance, Computer training, e-governance etc.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                     38
                                                                  Kudumbashree


     Kudumbashree used IT as an effective tool to eradicate poverty among
the poor and provide opportunities in the high tech area. By setting up IT
units in different parts of state, the Mission helps to minimize technological
divide between the rich and the poor. When the technology giants use IT for
market invasion and profit making, the poor in Kerala using IT as a tool to
win their daily bread.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                     39
                                                                      Kudumbashree



                  50K Employment for Educated Youth
        Large-scale unemployment of educated youth resulted in the slow
economic progress and social unrest in Kerala. Unemployment rate increased
as the state excelled in the areas of education and health sectors. But fewer
employment opportunities in the state created new set educated poor youth
who are sitting idle and contributing nothing to their families or state. As a
result, the development of the state took a nosedive creating wider gaps
between rich and the poor. The negative work culture among the youth and
over active political trade unions gifted the state with a label, a 'problem state'
that stayed with God's own country forever. The tarnished image of the state
kept industrial houses shying away from investing in the state. Consequent
degeneration in the economic development during the past decades a sizable
population of the state has migrated to within and out side the country. The
job opportunities became lesser and lesser and education became bane to poor
families as the educated youth were eyeing only on government jobs that are
very few in numbers.

       The poor families were the victims of the unemployment as the aged
parents had to support their children who are educated unemployed, not only
for their food but also for their daily expenses.

       Keralities are depending on other states for most of the consumer items
like vegetables, rice, clothes, toiletry items etc. This dependency to other
states can be reduced to a certain extent since most of these items can be
produced locally through small-scale micro enterprises. There is a large army
of educated unemployed youth in our state whose productive potential has
not yet canalized properly for self-employment ventures.

       The State Government in the past largely depended on the centrally
sponsored programmes such as IRDP, PMRY, SJSRY and SGSY to create self
employment opportunities for the youth in the urban and rural areas. But
very often it is seen that the annual targets and resources available to the state
under these programmes were very meager compared to the requirements.
Rigidity of the programmes too made it less attractive; Programmes such as
PMRY could not create a long lasting impact in the self-employment scenario
in our state. Most often bankers also express their dissatisfaction on the
content and coverage.

       It did not take care of the necessary pre-loan environment creation
such as providing right kind of information to potential entrepreneurs,
creating necessary awareness among the youth, developing their capabilities,
enhancing their confidence to venture into an enterprises, arranging for


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                         40
                                                                 Kudumbashree


necessary technical and managerial training to them etc. Sponsoring agencies
usually did not offer a continued handholding and facilitation services.
Repayment of loans used to be of least priority to many. This was the general
scenario when Kudumbashree started functioning in Kerala. Having realized
these lacunas in the self employment sector, it was our sincere effort among
the Kudumbashree team to create a positive change in this field.

      We tried our level best to 'do things differently' and as a result of
which, now that everybody started realizing that it is possible to establish
successful micro enterprises even by the poor people through self
employment schemes.

The Special employment programme of State Government-50 K

    The State Government have now come up with an ambitious scheme to
facilitate the youth especially who belongs to the BPL families to seek
employment opportunities. The Govt. of Kerala has announced its decision
through the budget speech in the Kerala Legislative Assembly during
February 2004 and the State Poverty Eradication Mission – Kudumbashree is
designated to implement this programme.

Objective

         To facilitate 50000 youth in securing sustainable employment
          opportunities
         To foster economic development by creating jobs for the poor
         To identify innovative areas to set up micro enterprises for the
          youths from BPL families
         To provide hand holding and escort services to the new generation
          entrepreneurs
         To capacitate the Local Self Government Institutions to take up the
          challenge
         To empower and enable the CBOs of poor women to take up the
          lead role

Methodology

       Self-employment through micro enterprises would be the
methodology for providing gainful employment to the youths. Also
improving the employability of youth for the current employment market
through various types of training and capacity building is another area of
interest.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                    41
                                                                    Kudumbashree


I.    Employment Creation through Micro Enterprise

     To generate additional employment opportunities and to bring down the
incidence of poverty, micro enterprise is the best tool and the Kudumbashree
has acquired vast experience in this field over the 5 years. The micro
enterprises set up by Kudumbashree in urban and rural areas of the State by
individuals and groups are performing well. Kudumbashree has gained
experience in venturing into innovative micro enterprises such as IT @ school
programme, Paper bag and cloth bag units, solid waste management, Vanila
Nurseries, Agri –Horti- Herbal Nurseries, Kerashree Coconut oil production,
Ornamental fish culture etc. implemented in the rural areas itself is a proof of
innovation. Similarly Kudumbashree would like to concentrate on other
developing areas such Precision agriculture, Food processing, Multi-Purpose
Job Clubs, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) etc.

Under this programme Kudumbashree is extending support to start micro
enterprises of –

     1. Individual entrepreneurs
     2. Group enterprises consisting of 5 members, 10 members or 5 to 10
        members according to the need and requirement of the activity
     3. Groups consisting exclusive female members
     4. Groups consisting of exclusive male members.
     5. Groups consisting of both male and female members (Mixed Groups).


Support from Kudumbashree

1.    Training

      It is well said by Economists that the ‘entrepreneurs are not born but
created’. Kudumbashree is always driven by this motivating observation and
entrepreneurship development is one of the major activities taken up by this
Mission. Capacity building of the various functionaries of Kudumbashree at
different levels, development of micro enterprise volunteers, identifying the
right entrepreneur for the right activity, product development, training for
entrepreneurs – EDP, skill development, Performance Improvement
programmes, Market development and diversification etc – are the prime
training areas for entrepreneurship development.

        On this line Kudumbashree has conducted -

        i.    State level workshop for micro enterprise development
        ii.   State level workshop for developing strategy for training and to
              develop training modules



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       42
                                                                   Kudumbashree


        iii. Sensitization programmes for Panchayat / CDS functionaries
        iv.  Trainers’ Training Programme (Including Business Opportunity
             Identification of at least 5 cluster opportunities per district)
        v. Scanning the entrepreneurial opportunities with the help of EDII,
             Ahamedabad
        vi. Identifying, Training and Placing of Micro Enterprise volunteers
             (283 volunters)
        vii. Training for RIS volunteers

     The process of Identification and selection of potential entrepreneurs has
been started by the Community Development Societies (CDS) during
November 2004. Up-to December 2004, 65 activities were identified. About
10500 potential entreprenuers were also identified for starting 1000 micro
enterprises and initial EDP trainings were also conducted.

     After 6 months of starting the units a Performance Improvement
Training of 6 days duration will be given the unit member with the help of
EDII, Ahamedabad.

      Based on the activities Kudumbashree will be developed Common
Facility centers and        further graduation to Business Incubator.
Kudumbashree is also working on Net working of micro enterprises for
market support.


2.    Promotional Support

      Micro Enterprises Volunteer (MEV)

      To provide effective handholding and escort services to the
      entrepreneurs Kudumbashree has tried out a best practice to develop
      Micro Enterprise Volunteers (MEVs). The MEV will help the CDS to
      identify the right entrepreneur and to develop potential product idea.
      They are also providing support to the entrepreneurs for linking their
      projects with financial institutions. The MEVs are graduates or post
      graduates belonging to below poverty line families and hails from
      Neighbourhood groups. In the present project a provision is given by
      Kudumbashree to support the MEV @ Rs.500/- per enterprise group
      having an investment of Rs.2 lakh or more. The volunteer will also get a
      promotional assistance @ Rs.100/- per month from each Micro enterprise
      for one year towards the hand holding support he/she provides to the
      groups.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      43
                                                                              Kudumbashree


3.        Financial support from Kudumbashree

     To set up micro enterprises by the youth a limited financial support is
extended to them from Kudumbashree. The amount of subsidy to be paid to
the entrepreneurs is:

                                      No. of
     Sl.
                   Item            members in the             Admissible subsidy
     No.
                                      Unit
                                                          Rs.1, 00,000/- or 50% of the
            i. Group Activity      10 or more             project cost whichever is
                                                          less
                                                          Rs.50, 000/- or 50% of the
            ii. Group Activity     5 Members              project cost whichever is
      1                                                   less
                                                          Rs.50, 000/- + 10,000 each for
                                                          additional members over 5
            iii.Group Activity     6 to 9 members         persons or 50% of the
                                                          project cost whichever is
                                                          lower
                                                          30% of the project cost or Rs
      2     Individual Units       One
                                                          7,500/- whichever is less.

4.        Human Resource Requirement – Professional Managerial Support

      To set up micro enterprises in a massive way to cater the employment
needs of 50000 youth within a stipulated time frame on a campaign mode,
Kudumbashree got support of 8 highly qualified professionals from reputed
Management Schools as Entrepreneurial Development Consultants. Their
service is sponsored by Swedish Development Programe (SDC) through
CAPDECK. They are responsible for identifying potential entrepreneurs;
develop product ideas, development of training strategy, modules, organizing
training programmes and monitor the entire programme.

5.        Handholding & Escort Service

     Kudumbashree gaining experience from the past provide right kind of
information to potential entrepreneurs by holding general awareness meets,
general training programme for creating awareness and developing their
capabilities, organizing skill development programmes with the involvement
of technology centers, programmes for enhancing their confidence etc. As
part of the escort service, the post implementation training programmes



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                                    44
                                                                    Kudumbashree


organized by Kudumbashree as Performance Improvement Programme (PIP)
has high relevance in the sustainability of micro enterprises. Kudumbashree
has already entered into a dynamic tie up with Entrepreneurship
Development of India (EDI), Ahamedabad.

6.    Repayment Information System (RIS)

     Kudumbashree developed Repayment Information Systems (RIS) a
unique online information system for tracking the entrepreneurs and
monitoring the enterprises. Software for RIS has been developed and already
in operation. RIS volunteers were identified and trained and they are
positioned in the field. The RIS system provides right information at the right
time to enable the functionaries of Kudumbashree at various levels to monitor
the credit repayment and the growth of the unit.

7.      Awards & Recognition

       In the Micro Enterprise Development Programme apart from the
entrepreneurs several agencies such as Local Self Governments, Community
Development Societies, Financial institutions, NGOs, Technical and Research
Institutions etc. and individuals like Micro Enterprise Volunteers and Officials
are actively involved for the successful implementation. For making a health
competition among the participating agencies Kudumbashree has constituted
an award in reorganization and appreciation for the excellent performance of
such agencies and individuals who took active part in the process.

II.   Improving the Employability of educated Youth

    In the wage employment sector enormous employment opportunities are
emerging with the changes in global economy but the same could not be
channelised for the youths in BPL families due to the following constraints.

      1.    The poor employability of the youth
      2.    The opportunities are not accessible due to lack of proper
            information and awareness

     Tourism, Ayurveda, Bio-Technology, Banking & Insurance, Other
financial Services, Call Centre Jobs, Precision Agriculture, high quality
services in retailing etc. are some of the sectors where adequately trained man
power is not available currently. The State Poverty Eradication Mission has a
proposal to launch a massive training and capacity building programme to
improve the employability of the youths and to set up a Virtual Employment




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       45
                                                                  Kudumbashree


Exchange (VEE) to interact with the existing employers and to access the
employment opportunities both locally and globally.

Conclusion

      The State Poverty Eradication Mission – Kudumbashree since its
inception conceived micro enterprises as an effective tool for poverty
reduction and local economic development. In this direction Kudumbashree
has a good track record in formulating innovative projects and developing a
different methodology for setting up micro enterprises. The efforts so far
made by Kudumbashree have created employment opportunities to more
than lakh families. It is the right time to replicate and scale up the pilot
models already developed by Kudumbashree in a massive way. The
announcement of State Government to provide employment opportunities to
50,000 educated youth through Kudumbashree Community Based
Organisations is considered as an ideal opportunity to scale up and replicate
the experience gained in the sector in the past. It is presumed that the new
employment generation project will help to reduce poverty in the state as well
as pave way for local economic development.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                     46
                                                                   Kudumbashree



       Direct marketing - Cakewalk for Kudumbashree

      Marketing became an uphill task as micro enterprises thrived in Kerala
as a result of Kudumbashree innovations. The poor entrepreneurs did not
have the money for mega advertising campaigns or branding their products.
Kudumbashree viewed marketing problem as an opportunity and decided to
capitalize it by building a network of its own direct marketing groups in the
state. Today, Kudumbashree has the largest network of direct marketing
groups in the state that helps entrepreneurs of Kudumbashree to market their
products every corner of the state in the most cost effective way. Today even
the multinational companies are seeking the help of Kudumbashree direct
marketing groups for reaching out people. During Christmas, direct
marketing groups in Ernakulam district sold three thousand five hundred
Kilograms of cake in a day and that too while competing with the high
voltage sales blitz of big city brands.

      Various direct marketing units sold their cakes at prices ranging from Rs
40 to Rs 65 for 500 gms and at a price of Rs 80 to Rs 90 per Kg.

     This year the door-delivery system has drawn more customers compared
to previous years. 83 direct marketing groups have been established in
Ernakulam district alone empowering 830 poor women economically in
Ernakulam district.

     The Kripa Unit functioning at Palarivattom has sold the maximum
number of cakes during this Christmas, said Kabeer B. Haroon, District
Mission Co-ordinator of Kudumbashree, adding that this unit is expected to
bring in a profit of more than Rs 50,000."We deliver the cake within 15
minutes of receiving an order," said Molly Charlie of the Kripa Unit.

     The Sangamam unit based on Edakochi has sold out almost 700 Kgs of
cakes in different flavours in just two days. They have sold most of their
cakes to Christian customers and received bulk orders from various
residential flats.

     Majority of the cakes from units like Kripa Direct Marketing functioning
at Palarivattom and Dreams Unit at Maradu are being sold to individual
households. The Village Office and Krishi Bhavan at Maradu have given
orders in bulk to the Dreams Unit.

      These units functioning at different places in the city supply cakes from
their respective homes also. Their cakes are also sold in bakeries. Another



Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      47
                                                                  Kudumbashree


attractive feature is that their cakes weigh the exact quantity given on the
cover. The success of their initiative helped them to identify another
opportunity as they are planning to deliver provisions through the tele-
networking system in cities.

Annamma Abraham –

     Annamma Abraham looks back with great satisfaction and joy. She
heads the Kripa Direct Marketing Group in Kadavanthra, a suburb in
Ernakulam city. Direct marketing, a novel initiative has helped her to realize
her long cherished dreams. She has built a house with a bank loan of Rs.
3,00,000 from state Bank of India.

     Kripa Direct marketing group was established in 2000 July 3 after one
week training to market Sabari Tea, a brand promoted by state Civil Supplies
Corporation. Initially the group made small profit but as the volume of sales
increased gradually. They started marketing Kudumbashree products from
various parts of the state.

      “I ventured into direct marketing when my life was at cross roads. My
husband, the only earning member in my family who was working as an
artist had to undergo a surgery for his eye and was out of employment. My
son who was studying in the college, had to be supported. We were living in a
hut on the suburbs of city”, says Annamma who is earning more than
Rs10,000 per month from direct marketing.

     “It was not easy at the beginning. Kudumbashree training changed our
perspective and approach towards life and marketing. I have started going to
places with bundle of products in the city bus. Today I’m driving my Sunny
and have a mobile. All group members drive own vehicle and cover more
areas with greater volume of sales. My family members support me with
great encouragement and appreciation. We have proved beyond doubt that
poor women can excel if given an opportunity”, says Annamma who is also a
faculty member for direct marketing training. Five years in direct marketing
empowered the poor woman immensely. She can rule her life.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                     48
                                                                    Kudumbashree



                      Community Health Volunteer

       They came in white coats keeping the stethoscope on one hand and the
blood pressure apparatus (sphygmomanometer) on the other. In their
shoulder there was a kitbag containing some material. They posed like Para
medical practitioners. They took out the spirit lamp, test tube and test tube
holder, collected urine in a sterilised bottle they were keeping and pored it in
the benedict's solution and heated it using spirit lamp. The audience were
curiously watching the change in colour. They explained to them that the
person whose urine was tested is diabetic and need advanced check up by a
medical practitioner. After the test, with full confidence they talked about the
incidence of life style diseases causing due to blood pressure and diabetics.
They said 'we are health volunteers and not Doctors. We serve the poor for
detection of blood pressure, diabetics etc. We prescribe medicines for fever,
cold etc. and also maintain a community drug depot for providing ORS
packets and life saving drugs'. The two women who were addressing a small
gathering - a meeting of Kudumbashree NHG - are the Community Health
Volunteers (CHVs) of the NHG specially trained to test urine sugar and check
the blood pressure. Kudumbashree has an ambitious programme to create
health care system at NHG level. These volunteers are trained under the
programme, with help and support of health and family welfare department.

      The advancement made by the state in health sector is widely
appreciated. Many of the health indicators are at par with the developed
countries. The life expectancy rate, sex ratio, infant mortality rate, maternal
mortality rate etc are examples. Despite all these developments in the health
sector, the poor find it difficult to access the health facilities available. The
infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate in the state are low
compared to the national average, but if a death take place that child or
mother belongs to a poor family. The water borne diseases and poverty
related diseases are wide spread in the habitats of poor. Leptospirocis, dengue
fever, diarrhoea, whopping cough, TB, jaundice etc have become common
among poor. The poor who are affected with deadly diseases such as cancer,
paralysis, kidney problems and cardiac problems are also on the increase.

     In a recent study conducted at Venganoor grama panchayat, in
Trivandrum District revealed that most of the common diseases and deadly
diseases are very often affects the poor. The study mainly confined to 4478
families having membership in NHG and the time span is of the past two
months. The table given below is self-explanatory.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                        49
                                                                         Kudumbashree




                                No. of                            No. of
            Disease            persons         Disease           persons
                               affected                          affected
          Diarrhoea              111              Jaundice          22
          Typhoid                 37            Lungs disease      293
             T.B.                 33            Leptospirosis        6
           Rabies                  3               Cancer           27
            Leprosy                3           Mental disorder     32
                                                    Gynaec
             AIDS                  0                               71
                                                   problems
           Cardiac                                Physically
                                   98                              162
           problem                                challenged
           Mentally
                                   72
          challenged

      The poor when affected with a deadly disease like Cancer, T.B. etc the
family will be thrown to destitution. He may not be in a position to procure
costly life savings drugs. In a normal situation also the life style diseases are
on the increase and affects the man-days of the persons. In most of the
families income is largely dependent on a single person and if he become sick
the family will be forced to starve.

     Kudumbashree has taken care of this situation and the Community
Health Volunteer (CHV) of every NHG is properly trained to tackle the public
health problems. The Community Health Volunteers maintain a register
which contains the details of family members and the health problems of
each. The details regarding pregnant and lactating mothers and new borne
babies are also recorded in the register. In the weekly meetings of the NHG,
the Community Health Volunteer reviews the health situation of each family
and the NHG intervenes wherever required. The Community Health
Volunteers also liaise with health authorities and bring in health care to the
needy people. Community Health Volunteer acts as a volunteer for direct
administration of medicine to the T.B. patients under the new programme
Direct Observation Therapy (DOT).

     The local primary health centre used to convene special meetings of
Community Health Volunteers during the outbreak of epidemics. They
actively involve in community health education and awareness creation
programmes. They maintain an ORS depot for administering ORS therapy to
the children affected by diarrhea. They are now the representatives and
spokesperson of the community and they articulate the needs and demands of


Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                           50
                                                                    Kudumbashree


the representing households in different forums of the local bodies. They
motivate their family members and their group members towards adopting
better health practices, promoting small family norms preventing disease,
promoting physical and mental health, personal hygiene, sanitation and
control of infectious diseases. They discuss ways and means towards
community health and the community itself identifies their immediate needs.
They prefer proper sanitation facility and safe drinking water as the
immediate necessity for a healthy living

Health Entrepreneurship

      Health volunteers on proper training have proved that they can function
as service provider in the health sector. The educated volunteers selected from
the NHGs are given suitable training in the use of glucometer, pressure
apparatus, weighing balance etc. They visit houses to provide onsite medical
assistance where immobile patients, aged persons, needy elderly patients
living alone without anybody to cater their health needs. They test blood
sugar using glucometer and read the blood pressure level, take body weight
on regular intervals. If abnormal situation persists the patients will be advised
to contact the physician immediately. The volunteer gets a small fee paid by
the patients for the service rendered by her. In fact the fee charged by the
health volunteers seems to be on the lower side when compared to the
laboratories. Seeing their success of this innovation, the state government
have accepted this as a new model and a project called 'Santhwanam' is
launched in the state budget for 2005-06.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       51
                                                                    Kudumbashree



                   Sichithra, differently abled today

      Till December last, Sichithra woke up every morning only to lie in bed
for the rest of the day. Today, like every other child, she is doing what she has
wanted to do all her life. She is going to school!

     Sichithra is 14 and she is ailing from multiple disabilities under Cerebral
Palsy, and partial Blindness. Confined to her bed and the four walls of her
room she had no friends and nothing to look forward to.

      It has been six months since she joined BUDS (a special school for
differently abled children) and today she has her own circle of friends and is
an eager participant in all school activities. She is among her own and is free
to be herself here.

     In May 2004, the Kerala State Government’s Poverty Mission - called
Kudumbashree - recognised that the needs of the most marginalized of the
poor were not being addressed, during a program to create a model
environment for the poor in Venganur panchayat. Kudumbashree and
Venganur panchayat realised that disabled children in situations of poverty,
while being the most vulnerable, were not being reached by any of the variety
of poverty programs. In fact, these children often live in isolation and
alienation, neglected by the community due to social stigmas and by their
families due to already scarce resources. Their families are ill-equipped to
deal with their special needs; resulting in children who are who do not receive
proper medical attention and who do not reach their full developmental
potential.

     Recent World Bank estimates suggest that one in five of the world’s
poorest suffer from a disability and that only 2% of people with disabilities in
developing countries have access to rehabilitation and appropriate basic
services. The Spastic Society quotes 70 million people with disabilities in
India, out of which one in three are children. And schools that cater to the
physically or mentally challenged number in the thousands. In Kerala, the
limited number of schools for children with disabilities are primarily
concentrated in urban areas. These schools are practically non-existent in
rural areas. But seventy-five percent of India’s population live in rural areas
and the instance of disability is higher in rural areas. Therefore the scant
resources available to the disabled are concentrated in areas where the need is
not as prevalent.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                        52
                                                                    Kudumbashree


     Disability specialists recognize that early intervention could arrest and
diminish the effects of disability in children, whether involving intense
stimulation with developmentally delayed children, targeted exercises and
therapy with physically disabled children, orientation and mobility work with
blind children or early introduction of sign language with deaf children.
Without such intervention, these children are destined to grow up to be the
poorest members of society.

     And so – despite a lack of funds – Kudumbashree decided that they
would take on the challenge of providing for these excluded children, one
community at a time. Kudumbashree and the community of Venganur began
with the idea of building a very special school for the children.

      Their first task was to identify the children in need. Two women from
the CDS level were recruited as Health Coordinators and three women from
each of the 15 ADSs were recruited as Assistant Health coordinators, to assist
in the identification of children with disabilities between the ages of six
months and eighteen years. The CDS and ADS are part of the hierarchy of
organized groups of poor women in the community, working to improve
their lives and the lives of those in their community. The women were chosen
for this project based on their qualification and motivation. They attended a
five-day training course provided by the Child Development Center,
Thiruvananthapuram – equipping them to detect the signs of disability.

      The volunteers spent two days conducting a door-to-door search in
below poverty line (BPL) homes, initially identifying 600 children with a
variety of disabilities. A team of doctors and their assistants completed a
screening process in which the list of children was narrowed to 240. During
the screening process, any immediate medical needs of the children were also
identified and directed for proper treatment. The District Medical Officer and
his team conducted a further screening process and narrowed the list to 62
children who had the required 40% or more disability. Each of these children
was issued Disability Certificates that allow them to receive financial
assistance from the Social Welfare Department and certain concessions. They
will also be issued Disability Cards that will make them eligible for a variety
of government benefits.

     After visiting the Adarsh School for Differently-Abled Children in
Cochin, Kudumbashree’s commitment to build a school for the children was
re-enforced. They realized that, as the majority of the children identified have
60% or greater disability, integration into mainstream schools would be out of
most of these children’s reach. Therefore a school was needed to provide a




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       53
                                                                   Kudumbashree


comfortable environment where these children can fully express their unique
talents and develop to their full potential.

     Venganur panchayat graciously provided the land for the school and
funded the building. They have pledged a portion of their budget for the
day-to-day expenses of the school. Kudumbashree was able to avail of
government funding to provide chairs and tables specially designed for the
children’s’ needs, mobility equipment and hearing aids.

     Current staff includes one psychologist, five teachers who were trained
for a fortnight at Adarsh School, and a volunteer principal. They are
dedicated individuals, drawn from the community, with a commitment to
seeing the school grow and succeed.

     This is the first time in India that a Panchayat and a grassroots group of
women have come together to create an initiative to meet the needs of
children with disabilities. They have created an environment unheard of in
government- or Panchayat-run schools, in terms of the beauty of the facility.

The school is administered by a board consisting of:

        Panchayat President
        One Doctor
        Director, Bhalavan
        Program Officer, Kudumbashree
        District Mission Co-ordinator, Kudumbashree
        CDS Chairperson
        Two parents.

     With such representation from members of the local government,
Kudumbashree, and the community; the school can be assured of continuous
and consistent leadership.

     On 16 August, 2004; thirty-eight children began attending this brightly-
colored, six-room school, dressed in new uniforms and arriving in a specially-
provided bus. But outshining this lovely, new school were the smiles of the
children and their parents.

      There are thirty-eight children currently attending Buds School. Their
disabilities include Autism, Cerebral Palsy, blindness, deafness, mobility
difficulties and speech impairments. There are nineteen children with mental
retardation, of which four also have Cerebral Palsy.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                      54
                                                                    Kudumbashree


     The school day begins with exercise, physiotherapy, and yoga; based on
the needs of the child. The parent is encouraged to assist in all physiotherapy.
The children are then split into groups, according to development level, to
either enjoy musical games, listen to stories, or learn to read and write. The
teaching methods are tailored to each child and are based on the play
activities (Play-way method).

     As part of the holistic approach to developing the children, Buds School
provides the children with:

       Medical attention: surgeries or corrective measures to alleviate or cure
        disability
       Individualised Therapy: physical, cognitive, social, vocational,
        mobility, orientation, and speech therapy and sign language training
        tailored to the needs of the child
       Education
       Nutrition: a nutritious meal will be provided
       Mobility equipment, hearing aids where appropriate
       Mainstreaming: every effort is made, where possible, to integrate the
        child into mainstream schools to more fully integrate the child into the
        community and society
       Vocational training: where appropriate, the children will be taught an
        income-generating skill. The mothers will also be taught income-
        generating activities as part of a separate program to enable them to
        more easily cover the costs of raising a differently-abled child.

     The mothers are encouraged to accompany the child to school each day
so that they can learn and be involved in the therapy. This enables a
continuation of therapy in the home on days the child cannot attend school.
The parents are shown in a real way that their children can progress and
develop!

      Children, who formerly were had no opportunities, often never leaving
their bed or their home; can now be found laughing and interacting with
other children and beginning to make strides in their rehabilitation. Children
who often were minimally responsive to their environment are now sitting up
facing the world, clapping their hands in enjoyment! For most of the children,
this is their first experience leaving their homes – so even the bus ride to
school is a big adventure. Children who had little stimulation or interaction
are now growing, learning, and socializing with other children -with their
faces wreathed in smiles!




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                       55
                                                                 Kudumbashree


    As funds become available for specialized therapists, the children will
progress even further. As the school grows, it aims to provide for all of the
developmental needs of the children.

    The approach to these children’s education and therapy is interactive
and evolving - with the children and parents involved in creating the best
methods.

     Ultimately the challenge is to create a perfect environment for the
disabled-children of below poverty families. We are planting the seed of
hope, opportunity, and fulfillment for these precious buds.

     BUDS has proved a point – the State Government has provided for its
replication in 40 panchayats in this year.




Kudumbashree - An Innovative Poverty Reduction Strategy                    56
                                                                   Kudumbashree




                    Micro Housing- A Sweet Dream

       Rehne ko Ghar Nahin – saara Hindustan hamara ! The plight of the
Indian poor is well said in these statements. There is no shelter for him to
live.... when the whole country belongs to him. The poor people in our
country live in 'huts or sheds' they call 'home'. Signifying the depth of their
deprived states, as food shelter and clothing are the basic needs and they are
not able to meet those.

      Kudumbashree experienced that most of the poor people lived either in
huts or sheds or in damaged houses, which they cannot afford to repair.
Many of them live in rented house for the need of shelter though paying the
rent is too difficult for them, as it demands a major portion of their income.

      Many women having gained experience in Micro finance, thrift & credit
and managing small sums of money started aspiring for better things in their
life. Housing is surely the most important one. “New our NHG has about Rs.
35,000 as savings and Rs. 265000 as loans 12 of us need houses. We want a
loan which we can repay over 8-10 years in small sums which we can afford
to have. We waited for 7-8 years for a free home from government. Now we
realise that even without my free houses, if we have opportunity to own a safe
house, we can earn more and save more to repay. It will give confidence and
self esteem rather than waiting long for free houses without any say of hope”.
Says Karthyayaniamma, member of Aiswarya NHG of Pudussery Grama
Panchayat, Palakkadu district. These words of wisdom of thousands of poor
women, translated into a micro finance based housing programmes, first ever
conceived in the country by the mission.

     So the mission developed a programme for assisting the poor people to
build or repair their houses. This programme was launched when the mission
learnt that in spite of central many sponsored assistance programmes in
hosing like the Indira Awas Yojana, VAMBAY etc all the housing needs of the
poor are not being met. So the mission identified a section of the poor who
were in fact willing to avail themselves learns from banks provided they are
given to them at a lowest possible rate and in a hassle free manner. This
programme was specially launched for the poor people who have at least 1.5
cents (60 m2) of lands on their own or provided by the LSGs. The loans are
being arranged from Nationalise Banks such as SBI, SBT, Canara Bank,
Central Bank of India, IOB, Indian Bank, Dhanalakshmi Bank, Syndicate Bank,
UBI and ICICI Bank.




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                                                                   Kudumbashree


    This in fact facilitated better utilization of schemes as a section of the
poor people could be catered to with micro housing while the more acute
were given housing assistance under the central government scheme.

     Innovations at every steps, that is what the mission is doing to assure
that poverty is eradicated from the society. And these innovation such as
micro housing are the remarkable catalysts that gives a leverage to our efforts
and results, giving us more options and better ways to reach the goal.




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                                                                          Kudumbashree



           S3 (Self sufficient, Self reliant, Sustainable)
                         Model Panchayats
      The positive response of people towards the Kudumbashree
programmes and the way people and administrators owned the Programme
was highly inspiring for us. The development vision of people, enthusiastic
elected representatives, committed social workers and officials, strong CDS
system and the optimistic attitude of certain panchayats made Kudumbashree
think, 'why not the objectives of the project targeted in 10 years, could be achieved in
a shorter period and why not the above panchayats could be a model panchayat in the
development process all over the state'? Then came the question, how a model
panchayat, in a shorter period?

       It is not just the lack of money, or lack of education or lack of good
health alone that differentiates poor from rich. The needs of people, whether
it is their physical needs, social needs, security needs or recognition needs all
are inter related and complementary to each other. Hence, development of an
individual or a community can be addressed effectively, only through a
integrated approach. All sects of people have to be given separate attention
while thinking of the total development of a community. With this idea of
total development concept, we dream of a Self-sufficient, Self-reliant and
Sustainable communities in the state. It was in this context, we have initiated
a special project named 'S3 (Self sufficient, Self reliant, Sustainable)
Panchayats'.

      The project was opened to all panchayats, but the panchayats who came
forward with the strong determination to take up the project was selected. As
the first step, bench marking of the panchayats was done, based on the needs
projects were chocked out. Child development, Geriatric care, Mentally and
Physically challenged, Education, Ad descent care, Women empowerment,
Enterprise Development, Employment opportunities for educational your,
Agriculture / Animal Husbandry / Dairy Development, Revamping and
Repositioning of traditional sector, Basic minimum needs, Destitute
Identification and Rehabilitation were the areas of intervention emerged out
of the bench marking process.

     Kudumbashree has piloted three such innovative projects in 3 different
panchayats in Kerala to put the vision into practice – Venganoor in
Thiruvananthapuram district, Kodakara in Thrissur district and Munniyoor in
Malappuram district were identified as model panchayats in the first phase.
The local self-governments and the Community Based Organisations (CBO)
are strongly facilitated by Kudumbashree to come forward with realistic and
sustainable projects with a total development approach. In the second phase,



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                                                                     Kudumbashree


the project was extended to 14 panchayats and is going to be expanded to
another 70 panchayats.


Following are the milestones targeted for S3 panchayats.

    1. 100% coverage of BPL families.
    2. 50% increase in thrift within six months.
    3. 50% increase in loan within six months.
    4. 100% increase in the coverage of lease land farming.
    5. 50% NHGs linked with banks.
    6. Minimum of 50 number of group enterprises.
    7. 100% of housing, sanitation and drinking water facility.
    8. Formation of Balasabha completed within 3 months.
    9. Destitute families identified and project prepared for rehabilitation.
    10. Health care system instituted within NHG.
    11. All families in NHGs brought under insurance coverage.
    12. Participation of different department agencies, NGOs ensured.
    13. Special Programmes for children, aged, women, youth, physically and
       mentally challenged, prepared.
    14. Anti-poverty sub plan of the panchayat formulated.



Venganoor Stepping towards S3 Panchayat

     Venganoor panchayat in Trivandrum district selected as one of the
panchayat for S3 Project, taking into account its clear reflection of poverty, its
close access to the tourist place Kovalam, people with an optimistic
development vision, enthusiastic elected representatives, a strong CDS system
and strong relation of Local Self Government and Kudumbashree CDS.

      Kudumbashree conventions were organized in all 15 wards of the
panchayat for orienting people to take up the new project of S3 . After that
bench marking survey was held in all NHGs to analyse the needs and to
frame action plans. A clear direction and guidance was given to the
panchayat officials and charge officers to own up and plan their programmes,
through training programmes. Women empowerment, micro enterprise
development, revamping the traditional occupations, lease land farming,
agriculture development, gender sensitization for men, environment
protection etc. were the programmes emerged from the people. New ideas
like women friendly, child friendly, old age friendly, farmer friendly,
entrepreneur friendly and eco friendly panchayats emerged out of the needs
enlisted in the bench marking process.




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                                                                   Kudumbashree


Women Friendly Panchayat

      As part of converting the panchayat in to a women friendly panchayat
and gaining the co-operation of men in this venture, people of Venganoor
panchayat were gender sensitized through various awareness programmes.
A seven-day camp on the gender sensitization was organized for the
panchayat officials and men. An exhibition of theme posters was also
organized to drive home the idea. Topics related to health, women issues,
women laws, counselling, economic development etc., were discussed in the
camp. Through these programmes, Vengannor Panchayat was declared as
the first women friendly panchayats in Kerala.

Child Friendly Panchayat

     With the aim of preventing inter generation transmission of poverty,
Balasabhas were organized for children. Through bench marking, the needs
of the children were identified. Concentrating on their educational and health
needs, school going children were given remedial education, supplied study
materials, arranged vacation classes, conducted medical camps and issued
health cards. Through medical camps the disabled were identified and a
special school - Buds for their rehabilitation was started. School drop outs
were given vocational training. Teenage clubs were formed and the members
are given special awareness classes, carrier guidance and counseling by
experts in child development field.

Old age Friendly Panchayat

     The needs of the identified aged people were assessed, issued health
cards to them and were supported to avail the medical support system by
linking with the existing medical institutions, ayurvedic, allopathic and
homeopathic in and around the Panchayat. We are also planning to form
special groups for the aged and their recreation clubs. As part of meeting
their recreational needs we are planning to arrange their monthly get
together. Many cultural clubs and fine arts college students have offered their
resources to perform entertainment programme for the aged in the monthly
meeting.

Farmer friendly & Eco-friendly

     As part of converting Venganoor panchayat in to an organic/eco-friendly
panchayat, 122 hectors of land has been cultivated by our women groups.
Our farm women are not using any artificial fertilizers for the last two years.
Their products are sold as safe food in naturopathic centres and other market.

    S3 Panchayaths will lead to prosperity of the villages in Kerala -
Gramaswaraj, the great Mahatma had visioned. Kudumbashree is working
towards to cherish his lost dream.


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                                                                     Kudumbashree



             Balasabha for Empowerment of Children

     Anil sat at the backbench laying head on the desk and placed hands as
headrest. In front of him, the Mathematics teacher has opened a new lesson
and his lecture on ratio and proportion is in the air. The boy who came to the
school with an empty stomach and spent the noontime with a few glasses of
water felt much tired. He could not grasp anything that the teacher trying to
explain. He was waiting for the bell to ring. And when he reaches home, the
situation is not different. His mother was spinning the coir yarn by hand
using raw husk fibre and she has to get the provisions for the day after selling
the yarn. He sat at the side of his mother carelessly looking at the work she
does.

     The story of Anil is a real life situation in many of the habitats of poor.
The children, of course given free universal education as an entitlement but
how a child coming from such socio economic situation can swallow what is
taught in school?

      In Venganoor grama panchayat of Trivandrum district a sample study
was conducted to find out the reason for dropping out children from school.
The results are quite shocking in an egalitarian society like Kerala. A table
depicting the reason for abandoning school by children in the age group of 10
to 15 is given below:

      SlNo                           Reason               No. of Children
         1         Financial difficulties                            236
         2         Failed in Examination                             65
         3         To earn livelihood                                31
         4         To look after children below                       7
         5         Other reasons                                      4
                   Total                                             343

     “Rich parents transfer their assets and wealth to next generation. Often
through a will, more they transfer confidence, positive feelings and acquired
expertise, exposure and experience. What about poor parents? They too
transfer their belongings to next generation. Poor children also inherit many
things from their parents. Lack of self confidence; negative reinforcements;
lack of good company friendships; negative beliefs and pessimism, deep
rooted belief in fate and destiny” The result is the sedimentation of fear, lack
of confidence leading to the psychology of the defeated?

     The "intergenerational transfer of poverty" is the main concern that the
Mission has to address to make the poverty eradication efforts sustainable.


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                                                                   Kudumbashree


"Catch them Young and nip the poverty at bud" is the guiding slogan that
inspired Kudumbashree to think of focusing on poor children. A planned
assistance – in education, value building, and personality development can
induce confidence in them and equip them for the journey from poverty to
prosperity, and well being.

      The concept of Balasabha itself was inspired by the mock activity of
children. When the mothers meet in an NHG, the children often gathered
nearby, imitating the proceedings of the NHG. So Kudumbashree thought
why not use this as an opportunity to let the children learn. Subsequently the
Balasabha took the shape of a formal organisation functioning in every ward
of a local body. The membership range from 20 to 50 depending on the
number of children in that ward. The children are in the age group of 10 to 15.
They used to meet once in a week/fortnight and involve in plays, discussions
related to their academics. In Panchayats an informal organisation set up like
an academic council has since been created giving participation to social
workers to act as resource persons to attend the Balasabha and guide the
children. The academic council members include teachers, retired teachers
and educated unemployed youth with an inclination for social work and they
work voluntarily.

    As of date, 19231 balasabhas have been formed in the state with
membership of 302637 children. Each Balasabha provides a new rhythm and
harmony to children and enlightens their lives. The ultimate aim is to
emancipate the young generation of the BPL families from the vicious circle of
poverty.

Balasabha Sangamam

      During the Christmas vacation since December 2002, a mega children's
festival is being held at 3 important towns of the State for 7 days. This mega
event is known as Balasabha Sangamam. In this meet 600 children from all the
districts take part in each center. The children from other parts of the state
stay with the children of the town where the balasabha sangamam is held. A
string of interesting activities and programmes were there in the meet
including, activity oriented learning sessions, special sessions in science and
in mathematics, work experience sessions in a variety of fields, training for
making toys and learning equipments, opportunity to express talents in
dance, music, drama etc. There were also opportunities to interact with
renowned persons including Ministers, Judges, scientists, social activists
cultural doyens and men of letters. The children get a rare opportunity to
develop, sharpen and exhibit their latent talents. The meet has proved to be a
grand success in imparting education, entertainment and empowerment.


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                                                                 Kudumbashree


Remedial Education Centers (REC)

      The poor performance of the children in classrooms very often lead to
failure in examinations and affects future career of the children. The poor
socio economic situation of the child in fact prevent better performing in
classrooms. To give him additional opportunities to learn lessons and to
improve performance in school, Remedial Education Centers (RECs) are set
up in the local body. The Remedial Education Centers (REC) is run by
educated unemployed youth. This project give the opportunity to the
students from poor families to learn better and also the unemployed youths to
get a small income. The students since belong to most vulnerable families the
Community Development Society arrange sponsorship. The RECs gets
audiovisual equipments from social service organizations or donated by
philanthropic individuals. The sponsorship of the child includes educational
expense and food. The school going children as well as failed children are
admitted in the remedial education centers.

Vacation classes

     It has been observed that English, Mathematics and Science are the major
subjects for whom these students very often fail. To improve the quality of
education and self confidence special coaching classes conducted during
summer vacation every year. In each local body, depending on the number of
students appearing for the next 10 th standard examination vacation classes
would be arranged. In the vacation classes in addition to the routine
curriculum, emphasis will be given to personality development, career
development, entrepreneurship development etc. Regular counseling sessions
are also included in the module for vacation classes to improve self-
confidence.




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                                                                  Kudumbashree



       Women Empowerment - Kudumbashree Model

     Gender equality and empowerment of women is accepted universally as
an important aspect of development. It is obvious that there is a high gender
gap in literacy, high drop out rate in girl students, high incidence of crime
against women, high negligence in economic freedom, low involvement in
decision making and very low recognition for their efforts and contribution in
agriculture and allied sectors in India.

     The State Poverty Eradication Mission, which aims at eradicating
absolute poverty within a definite time frame, opted to achieve the goal
through empowerment of women. The working slogan of the Mission is to
reach out the family through women and reach out the community through
family. The process of empowerment is by following sequential steps right
from organizing them in to Community Based Organisation. A three-tier
structure has been designed and developed by the Mission with the
Neighbourhood groups (NHG) at its grass roots and a federated unit namely
Area Development Society (ADS) at every ward of the local body and the
Community Development Society (CDS) at the local body level.

      Neighbourhood groups (NHG) is the basic unit of our women folk
where they are free to ventilate their feelings, discuss their problems, share
their joy, learn many new things and make joint effort to find solutions to
their grievances. This is a platform, where, they discover themselves - their
strengths, weaknesses and possibilities - to improve their present status of
poverty. Hence, the first step of empowerment, that is self-discovery of the
poor women takes place in the weekly meetings of the Neighbourhood
Groups.

      The NHGs are strengthened by nurturing it with facilitation trainings,
education and strong support system of the Government, especially the
support of Local Self Government. These support system strongly motivate
them to come up with their dreams and Action Plans, which is the second
step of their empowerment process. Then they start acting on the dream
plans and on the process, they feel highly confident and empowered which
results in the improvement in their poverty status. The process encompasses
Political, Social, Educational and Economic aspects.

Political Empowerment

     The women identified from poor families using 9 non-economic
parameters are first admitted in the NHGs and from there, they were given



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                                                                   Kudumbashree


the opportunity to move towards the leadership of the NHG. Each NHG has a
five-member leadership team and these five member volunteer team
constitute the general body of the Area Development Society (ADS). A seven-
member team is further elected from the general body and again the elected
members of all wards in a local body further constitute the general body of
the Community Development Society at local body level. A nine-member
committee with a Chairperson and vice Chairperson is elected and positioned
at local body level. Being a member of the federation each women hailing
from poor families gets an opportunity to rise to the leadership from the NHG
to CDS. In every Village Panchayat, a slow and steady political process of
elevating women to different tiers of leadership is visible.

Social Empowerment

     The women especially of poor families once confined to the limited circle
of their    household is now enabled to actively participate in the NHGs,
discuss the issues affecting their family and society at large. They are now
organised to fight against the evils of the society such as illicit brewery,
atrocities against women, illiteracy etc. They mobilize human resource and
agitate against the social evils

Educational Empowerment through building capabilities

     The self learning process they undergo through practical experience by
mobilizing thrift, disbursement of loans, operating bank accounts,
approaching banks for loans and undertaking small livelihood activities
enables them to excel in their life and it is an educational experience that no
formal school can offer. They are also facilitated to inquire in to the
educational developments of their offspring to prevent intergenerational
transmission of poverty.

Economic Empowerment

      To eradicate poverty it is essential to bring in prosperity by actively
involving in livelihood activities. The members of NHGs are facilitated to
undertake small livelihood activities to improve their living conditions. The
starter point is the thrift and credit operation through which they learn the
basic lessons of economic development. In Kudumbashree the cumulative
thrift collected by the 151406 NHGs amounts to Rs 432.35 crores and they had
disbursed a loan amounting to Rs 874.78 crores among its members. The
members of the NHGs are further motivated to undertake large-scale micro
enterprises. As of date the women from poor families have taken up 1268
group micro enterprises and 14807 individual micro enterprises in the urban



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                                                                    Kudumbashree


areas and 19343 group enterprises and 13849 individual enterprises in the
rural areas. Involvement in the micro enterprises not only enables them to get
rid of the poverty situation by improving the living conditions but they learn
new lessons that could lead them to develop their personality, inculcate a
sense of activism, to take up an active role in their family life and ability in
decision making and beyond everything they thrive across the gender
barriers.

      Kudumbashree views this as empowerment of women.




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                                                                    Kudumbashree




                What makes Kudumbashree unique?


Holistic approach to poverty reduction

     Kudumbashree perceive poverty as a state of multiple deprivations.
Unlike the conventional theories and practices the monetary factors are not
only the contributory to poverty, but it is due the deprivation of basic needs,
basic facilities and basic rights. To eradicate absolute poverty, Kudumbashree
attempt to restore the denied or deprived entitlements by enabling the poor to
access the same.

Reaching the Unreached

      Kudumbashree has been successful in reaching the unreached. Though
we have been implementing various poverty alleviation programmes for the
last several decades, it is observed that the rock bottom poor who live in utter
distress and despair were left out from the coverage. Kudumbashree has
reached this rock bottom poor, the destitutes, physically and mentally
challenged and other most vulnerable sections of society through its unique
programme 'Ashraya' – the Destitute Identification, Rehabilitation and
Monitoring (DIRM) project.

Mission mode

      Kudumbashree functions as a mission rather than a project. It
encompasses a multi departmental and multi disciplinary team. The mission
has developed and maintained a flexible style of functioning. To address the
multiple deprivations of the poor, Kudumbashree try to converge various
anti-poverty programmes implemented in the State.

Organisation of the poor

      Kudumbashree has developed an innovative methodology to identify
the poor using non-economic parameters and organized the poor under a well
networked Community Based Organization (CBO). The non-economic
parameters are transparent and simple that can be used by the community.
The entire poor families of the state have been brought under the organization
structure. The organizational structure goes beyond thrift & credit and micro
enterprises and it tackles various dimensions of poverty.




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                                                                   Kudumbashree


Self Help to Entrepreneurship

      The Community Based Organisation of the Kudumbashree promotes self
help and mutual help. The members of the Neighbourhood Groups of the
Kudumbashree are motivated to venture into livelihood activities and micro
enterprises. The economic activity of Neighbourhood groups never confine to
thrift and credit operations alone.

Variety of Economic Interventions

      Kudumbashree facilitate the women from the poor families to venture
into micro enterprises to earn a substantial income to over come the poverty
situation. In this route Kudumbashree has developed a series of new
enterprise ideas that enable the poor women to fetch more income and profit
and make it sustainable.         Kudumbashree has instituted technology,
innovation and revolving funds to promote innovative micro enterprises. In
the realm of micro enterprises Kudumbashree has its own brand, which has
been accepted by the various stakeholders.

Beyond capacity building- building capabilities

      Kudumbashree perceive capability deprivation as one among the root
causes of poverty and building capability of poor is inevitable to make
poverty alleviation efforts sustainable. In this direction, Kudumbashree has
initiated a series of activities to build capability of poor. This includes the
human resource development programmes for the leaders of community
based organization, technical, skill development, entrepreneurial training
programmes and performance improvement programme for the
entrepreneurs, general awareness programme for the community at large.
This process enables the women from poor families to get educationally
empowered.

Linkage with Local Self Government

      In Kudumbashree the community based organizations are created under
the leadership of Local Self Government. Unlike any other SHG oriented
poverty reduction programmes, the Kudumbashree CBOs are seamlessly
integrated with Panchayat Raj system. The Neighbourhood Group, the grass
root level of organization of Kudumbashree is taken as next step of
decentralization ie. an organization structure just below the grama sabha. In
Urban Local Bodies earmarks 2 % of their own revenue for the poverty
alleviation programmes of Kudumbashree in addition to the projects
implemented through decentralized planning programme.


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                                                                    Kudumbashree


MIS and IT enabled Information backbone

      Kudumbashree has developed its own unique information flow system
right from the grass root level organization to the State headquarters backed
by information technology. Kudumbashree has a network of 77 data
processing units 151 IT @ School unit spread over the state to catch up the
data processing connected with Management Information System (MIS). The
information generated at Neighbourhood groups are transmitted over to the
Area Development Society and to the Community Development Society
within definite time-frame is carried over to district and state headquarters
through online. The enables the Mission to have effective monitoring and
supervision of all the activities from grass root level. Each and every destitute
family is also monitored online on a monthly basis. Also it enables the
mission to exercise management and control in all operations. This may be the
best networked information system in any Government programme in the
state. The Entrepreneurial IT units coupled with own brand of PCs
(Kudumbashree Computer Links (KCL)) of Kudumbashree help the mission
in achieving this network.

Brand equity

      Within a short span of time, Kudumbashree has gained reputation and
goodwill in the State and in the Country as well. It has been identified as one
among the 20 best practices of the Country by UNDP. During 2000
Kudumbashree model has won gold medal for "Best innovation" under
auspices of Commonwealth Association for Public Administrations and
Management (CAPAM). The award was received by Kudumbashree for the
country. The performance of Kudumbashree in poverty reduction efforts, the
thrift and credit operations, the linkage banking programmes and the
enterprises where bank finance is attracted have been functioning to extreme
satisfaction of the banking community. Wherever bank loans involved, 100%
repayment is ensured through the unique Repayment Information System
(RIS) developed by Kudumbashree. The Government agencies, NGOs, Banks
and other public sector undertakings, resort Kudumbashree for outsourcing
their business. In solid waste management and several other sectors
Kudumbashree has initiated lead role in developing public, private
partnership.

Positive and public action

      The wide spread coverage of community based organisations of
Kudumbashree has reached every nook and corner of the state. Community
as a whole extending support to the poverty reduction activities undertaken


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                                                               Kudumbashree


by Kudumbashree. The presence of Kudumbashree in every sphere of life is
visible and it creates enhanced demand for public services, improvement in
quality of public service and bottom up pressure for improvement in service
delivery. It acts as a delivery mechanism and respond to urgent and
imminent needs of the society during epidemics and natural calamities.
Every emerging opportunity is grabbed and tamed for the poor.



                                       .o0OOO0o.




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