Kudumbashree was conceived as a joint programme of the Government of Kerala implemented through Community Development Societies (CDSs) of Poor Women, serving as the community wing of Local Governments.

Kudumbashree developed an innovative methodology to identify the poor using non-economic parameters. The poor thus identified are organized under a well networked Community Based Organization (CBO). For effective convergence of the programme, a three tier community based organization (CBO) is in action. This methodology has since been incorporated into the policy framework of the State for identification of the poor.

The Three-Tier Framework

The 3 tier framework of Kudumbashree CBO structure is shown below. The 3 levels of the structure are the Neighborhood Groups (NHG), Area Development Societies (ADS) and Community Development Societies (CDS).



Neighborhood Group (NHG)

The lowest tier constitutes The Neighborhood Group consisting of 10-20 women members from economically backward families. Meetings are convened on a weekly basis in the house of NHG members. In the weekly meetings all members bring their thrift, which will be collected and recycled to the system by way of sanctioning loans.


Area Development Society (ADS)

The second tier is the Area Development Society, which is formed at ward level by federating all the NHGs in the ward. The activities of the ADS are decided by the representatives of the women elected from various NHGs. The Area Development Society consists of:

  • General Body - consisting of all Presidents, Secretaries & 3 sectoral volunteers of the federated NHGs.
  • Executive Committee - The Executive Committee of the Area Development Society consists of 7 members elected by the ADS general body which include a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary.



Community Development Society (CDS)

At the Panchayat / Municipal level a Community Development Society (CDS), a registered body under the Travancore-Cochin Literacy Scientific and Charitable Societies Act is formed by federating various ADSs in the Panchayat. The CDS has 2 distinct bodies – The General Body and The Executive Committee.

General Body

CDS General Body is comprised of all ADS Governing Body members.

Executive Committee

The size of the CDS Executive committee shall be equivalent to the number of ADS including special ADS. The CDS Executive shall have the following office bearers.

1.Chair person

2.Vice Chair Person


Participation of vulnerable group

The modified byelaw provides for ensuring proportionate representation of the SC and ST communities as well as for special ADS to cater to the requirement of specific vulnerable groups.


The CDS is the representative structure of the vast network of NHGs in the Grama Panchayat /Municipal areas. It works in close liaison with the LSG and serves as both dissemination organ for government programmes and as enunciator of community needs in governance issues. A listing of its range of functions is shown below:

  • LSG liaison
  • Linkage Banking co-ordination
  • Information Dissemination
  • Community network Strengthening Activity
  • Facilitating Income Generating Activity
  • Facilitating Identification of Poor for the purpose of LSG led Development Programmes.
  • Articulation of Community demand for Development
  • Leadership of NHGs
  • LSG Plan Intervention
        - Anti Poverty Sub Plan,
        - Women Component Plan,
        - Local Economic Development
  • Legal Literacy
  • Facilitation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes
  • LSG Plan Intervention




Kudumbashree is a network of community based organizations (CBO) for women, who have been registered as Community Development Societies under the State Charitable Societies Act. There is a common byelaw which provides the policy and functional framework for the network.

Salient Features of the CDS Byelaw
  • Membership matter of right
  • Attention to representation of vulnerable communities like SC, ST, disabled - special provisions
  • Independance from and complementarity to the local government clarified
  • Evaluation Committee of the CDS
  • CDS Action Plans (Micro Level Demand Plans)
  • Accountabiity framework incorporated
  • Independent election process ensured


Ten years of experience have indicated the various areas for clarity and modification in the Kudumbashree CDS byelaw. The CDS byelaw was comprehensively amended by Govt. wide G.O(P)198/2014/LSGD dated 13-11-2014. The new byelaws made the CDS more inclusive and representative, and clarified election procedures and LSG space vis a vis CDS, It also brought in role clarity and accountability to the system. A subcommittee of the Governing body had developed the modified byelaw through an intense, interactive, consultative process. After imparting training to all concerned which included NHG members, officials of Kudumbashree and LSGs and elected representatives on how to change over to the new byelaw, elections were conducted throughout the State at NHG, ADS, CDS levels. The election process was in a free and fair manner throughout the state in almost all CDSs and has brought in a more transparent and democratic system.


«»Bye Law




Elections are guided by a set of Election Rules applied by Government. Elections to the community network are held once every 3 years as per the byelaw of 2008. At every stage the elections are independently held by the network. The whole process of election is notified by the District Collector.

The first stage of election is at the level of the NHG, which decides on the 5 office bearers. The office bearers of an ADS then meet together to elect the 7 member executive committee of the ADS. Each executive committee of the ADS selects its representative to the CDS, who in turn elects from among themselves the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the CDS. At every stage the elections are independently held by the network. The whole process of election is notified by the District Collector.





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


The micro demand plans of the NHG are consolidated at ADS & CDS level to form the CDS Action Plans. After a process of consultation with the LSG Standing Committees and Evaluation Committees, the CDS Action plan is given formal approval by the LSG. Implementation is monitored by the evaluation committee.

Evaluation Committee

The Kudumbashree byelaws provide for an LSG led Evaluation Committee to monitor and coordinate the CDS Action Plan. Evaluation Committee will also oversee the execution of the different programmes on the basis of plans prepared by the CDS.

The committee is chaired by the head of each LSG. The composition of the 25 member committee is as follows:-

1. LSGI President/chairperson/mayor
2. CDS Chairperson
3. CDS Member Secretary
4 LSGI Secretary
5. LSGI Vice president/Vice Chair person/ Deputy Mayor
6. Development and Welfare Standing Committee Chairperson
7. Heads of Departments under LSG
8. CDS vice chair persons
9. Women(not more than 5) elected representatives nominated to CDS by the LSGs
10. 2 Experienced former CDS office bearers
11. Income generation , health education and infra structure volunteers of CDS
12. Representatives of Banking/Financial Institutions

The major responsibilities of the committee are as follows.

1. To assess the progress of the CDS action plan for poverty alleviation and to support and give guidelines where necessary.
2. To integrate the different poverty alleviation programmes of local self governments with Kudumbashree programmes.
3. Support the CDS by the appropriate utilization of different resources available with the local self government.
4 Outsource possible economic-technical services for the maximum effectiveness of the CDS programmes.
5. To support micro enterprises and marketing of products.
6. Facilitate the women empowerment programmes of Kudumbashree.






The Kudumbashree network of community organizations now covers about half of the total families in the State. In addressing issues of poverty from multiple angles, the efforts of Kudumbashree are focused in three key areas – economic empowerment, social empowerment and gender empowerment. Capacity building of stakeholders is a very important part of these efforts. Kudumbashree’s training programmes are pro-active, and are aimed at being more than mere knowledge or information delivery. Training programmes are seen as opportunities to engage with the stakeholders, help them understand and assimilate organizational priorities, and at the same time, give feedback from the grassroots.


Institutional tie-ups have been made with established training agencies. Services of Kudumbashree’s training enterprises are utilized for conducting training programmes. Pools of resource persons have been developed at different tiers, with specific orientation to deal with capacity building at their respective levels.



Organizational training to help enhance the quality of functioning of the organizational network, focusing on developing abilities of the women in leadership and management. About 30 lakh women have been involved in organizational training, so far.

Enterprise training to help individual and group entrepreneurs enhance their business capabilities. Involves constant inputs at different stages of the enterprise cycle-General Orientation for potential entrepreneurs, Skill Development initially and Performance Improvement programmes on a periodic basis.

Financial services training on services in the area of Micro Finance and additional support to the community organization for engaging with financial institutions in an effective manner.

Social and Gender empowerment training for mainstreaming issues of the marginalized, particularly the women and SC-ST communities. A separate training and self learning programme for assessing and addressing rights based issues.


Kudumbashree imparts training through several means. Institutional tie-ups have been made with established training agencies like Entrepreneur Development Institute. We have linkages with specialized agencies for performance improvement programme. Services of Kudumbashree’s training enterprises like EKSAT and KAASS are utilized for conducting training programmes for entrepreneur development and financial services.

In line with the multi-tiered structure of the Kudumbashree network, a cascading system of training is adopted. Pools of resource persons have been developed at different tiers, with specific orientation to deal with capacity building at their respective levels. This system ensures high cost-effectiveness in planning and delivery of training programmes and at the same time, participation of local volunteers helps create a suitable social environment for development.

All training programmes conducted by Kudumbashree follow participatory methodologies right through content development to delivery.


Story behind the 1st Women Industrial Training Centre

They told her that there was no way her group of determined women were going to bring an Industrial training centre to the mountains of Idukki. Her first attempt brought failure and derision. But that steeled the resolve of the band of women under the leadership of Mini Sabu, the chairperson of the Community Development Society (CDS) of Vathikudi panchayat in Idukki. They got the District Panchayat to help with infrastructure, learned the ropes of administering an ITC from the Prinicipal of Government ITI in kattapana, positioned faculty and equipment, and petitioned the inspection team from Delhi for a second visit. That paved the way for the first ever all - women Industrial Training Centre of the state, opening new avenues for skill development for the poor women of the high ranges.