Given the rising number of crimes and atrocities against women in the state, Kerala’s Kudumbashree mission, which reportedly has over 44 lakh women members and is known to cover almost 50% of the state’s households, has now come out with an initiative.
Given the rising number of crimes and atrocities against women in the state, Kerala’s Kudumbashree mission, which reportedly has over 44 lakh women members and is known to cover almost 50% of the state’s households, has now come out with an initiative. You already know how crimes against women have been escalating in the state. Now this initiative aims to constitute women vigilante groups at ward levels across the state. The objective is not only to create safe neighborhoods but also ensure the freedom of movement of women across the state and protect their rights as well.
This Kudumbashree-backed women vigilante group will comprise of Kudumbashree workers and it will help identify victims and also provide them with legal and other assistance.
What may be a most striking factor that can contribute to the success of this initiative is the collective support of the local communities – for instance, a rape victim and family tends to be fighting a lone battle without the support of the society and often pressurized by the perpetrators to withdraw. However, with an initiative like Kudumbashree supporting it, the mass support of women at a local level will be significant and it can play a critical role in helping the wheels of justice to turn faster and more efficiently.
For those who don’t know the cultural significance of the Kudumbashree organization, here’s a quick summary:
The Kudumbashree movement is a unique women-oriented, poverty alleviation mission that began as a joint program of the Kerala government, which serves as a community wing at a local level and was implemented through the Community Development Societies of Poor Women. This initiative aimed to empower women through community-based self-help groups at the local level and has already enabled thousands of Malayali women to chart a new life at the rural level. Be it housing, urgent family requirements, the Kudumbashree initiative provides support that is specific to the individual and yet adheres to the collective framework of accountability and transparent implementation.
Are you wondering how such an initiative can work?
Firstly, it developed a methodology to identify the poor using non-economic parameters and this was incorporated into the State’s policy framework.
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Secondly, a three tier Community-Based Organisation was formed. The lowest tier comprised of the neighborhood group that has about 10 to 20 women who belong to economically backward families. Weekly meetings enable the members to bring in their ‘savings’ and this is collected, documented and recycled into the system as an effective way of sanctioning need-based loans. The second tier comprises of the Area Development Society. This is formed at a ward level. Then, there is the Panchayat level Community Development Society which has two distinct bodies – General Body and the Executive Committee.
Empowering rural women financially lies at the heart of the Kudumbashree initiative. Several cases of domestic violence have been settled through the Kudumbashree local units earlier. Perhaps this initiative may spark yet another social revolution in a state that is now fast becoming known as a crime hub against women and children.