The Kudumbashree Story



Kudumbashree is the poverty eradication and women empowerment programme implemented by the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) of the Government of Kerala. The name Kudumbashree in Malayalam language means ‘prosperity of the family’. The name represents ‘Kudumbashree Mission’ or SPEM as well as the Kudumbashree Community Network.

Thus, what is commonly referred to as ‘Kudumbashree’ means two entities:

  • The Kudumbashree Community Network
  • The Kudumbashree Mission

Kudumbashree was set up in 1997 following the recommendations of a three member Task Force appointed by the State government. Its formation was in the context of the devolution of powers to the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in Kerala, and the Peoples’ Plan Campaign, which attempted to draw up the Ninth Plan of the local governments from below through the PRIs.

Kudumbashree has a three-tier structure for its women community network, with Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs) at the lowest level, Area Development Societies (ADS) at the middle level, and Community Development Societies (CDS) at the local government level. The community structure that Kudumbashree accepted is the one that evolved from the experiments in Alappuzha Municipality and Malappuram in early 1990s.

Kudumbashree community network was extended to cover the entire State in three phases during 2000-2002. The Kudumbashree network by March 2015 had 260,252 NHGs affiliated to 19,773 ADSs and 1072 CDSs with a total membership of 41,14,097 women. Kudumbashree membership is open to all adult women, limited to one membership per family.

Kudumbashree Community Network (March 2015)

Number of neighbourhood groups (NHGs)


Rural – 2,28,555

Urban – 31,697

Number of area development societies (ADSs)


Rural – 16,656

Urban – 3,117

Number of community development societies (CDSs)


Rural – 978

Urban – 94

Total members


In 2011, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India recognised Kudumbashree as the State Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM) under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).