The Kudumbashree Story

Women Empowerment


The government of Kerala appointed a committee to formulate a comprehensive policy to curb atrocities against women in 2012. The committee was constituted in the context of rising incidences of violence against women and children.

It was a four member committee.

  • Lida Jacob, Retired Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala (Chairperson)
  • SaradaMuraleedharan, Executive Director, Kudumbashree (Convenor)
  • Sunita Krishan, Women’s rights activist and campaigner against atrocities on women
  • Mallika Sarabhai, Dancer, and social and political activist

The committee recommended:

  • Concrete measures for the creation of safe and enabling environment for women
  • Prosecution of perpetrators of crime against women and children

As part of the implementation of the new policy, the department of social justice of the Government of Kerala announced a programme called Nirbhaya.

Nirbhayais a programme with specific action points:

  • Departmental convergence for implementation of the policy
  • Multi-stakeholder cooperation for prevention of crime against women and children
  • Measures for the protection, rescue, rehabilitation, restoration, and re-integration of victims
  • Legal reforms
  • Creation of a corpus fund for addressing the problem of sexual violence

Planning and coordination of the programme was at multiple levels.

  • Jagratasamities at local self-government level with president, chairperson, or mayor of the local body as chairperson
  • Nirbhaha committees at district level with presidents of district panchayats as chairpersons
  • State level executive committee with minister for social justice as chairperson
  • State level coordination committee with chief minister as chairperson

Nirbhaya and Kudumbashree

When the State government announced Nirbhaya policy in 2012, Kudumbashree was the agency best placed for undertaking the training and educational programmes for the implementation of the policy.

Kudumbashree’s strength as a women’s organisation with a well organised community structure and the rich experience till then from the gender self-learning programme were useful in associating with the Nirbhaya policy.

Kudumbashree organised training programmes for women at State, district, regional, and CDS levels to create awareness on Nirbhaya policy. Training programmes covered:

  • The new policy
  • Atrocities against women and children
  • Importance of Jagratasamiti and Nirbhaya committee, their responsibilities
  • Agencies working to combat atrocities against women and children
  • Gender dimensions of atrocities
  • Need for local level planning for addressing the problem
  • Departmental convergence to combat sexual violence

Seventy four best performing CDSs of the state were selected for pilot implementation of the policy. Kudumbashree provided training to elected representatives, officials, and gender resource persons of these GPs.