KOZHIKODE: A combination of inexperience and lack of confidence coupled with dearth of sufficient work has given a body blow to Kudumbashree’s path-breaking initiave to provide training in masonry to females and other workers. The project was conceived with the aim of drumming in the necessary skills needed for construction activities among the women who wouldn’t need any help whatsoever from their male counterparts. Under this, 200 women underwent training in the past three years and the local self-government institutions (LSGI) were expected to support the project by giving work to the groups formed by the trained women.
Barring a handful of civic bodies — the units got works from only 19 local bodies in seven districts — the path-breaking initiative failed to deliver.Though the LSGIs spend sevcral crore on development programmes, the total amount of construction work allotted by the LSGIs came to a mere `74,85 lakh and total revenue received till date is `35.62 lakh.However, no work was allotted to the self-help groups (SHG) by the LSGIs in the remaining districts. The Kudumbashree formed 61 units and 50 of these are functional.
Besides, the female workers’ lack of confidence has proved a major setback.
P C Kavitha, Kudumbashree district coordinator, said the workers in the district received 30 days of training. But this did not suffice for them to branch out on their own. “The trained women are now working alongside the men in several construction projects. Also, the women groups undertook some small works of private parties. Taking up major works is a distant dream due to lack of confidence,” she said.
K K Soja, programme coordinator, Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development, which trained 30 women for Kudumbashree in Thrissur, said confidence is the key.“The women’s group in Madakkathara grampanchayat is doing well and the panchayat is providing works to the group. Their level of confidence was boosted on successful completion of the works,” she said.
Kudumbashree executive director S Harikishore said the mission is trying to crack the problem.
“Earlier, we got an order from the Finance Department which allows the various government departments to give tailoring works to empanelled Kudumbashree self-help groups without tendering process. In the case of construction by the self-help groups, we tried to secure the same kind of order, which will allow the LSGIs to hand over works without tendering to the empanelled groups. The government replied if the groups had experience in construction then they can be empanelled,” he said.
Barring a self-help group at Edakkattuvayal in Ernakulam which has built 37 houses, none has the necessary experience. As Kudumbashree is the nodal agency for the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY), the mission is focusing on building houses under it. The mission is seeking the beneficiaries’ nod to construct the houses by the Kudumbashree groups.In Kollam Corporation, 24 beneficiaries agreed to allow groups to build the houses. To attain the required level of confidence, the mission is planning to organise a refresher course, said Kishore.