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Kudumbashree group now part of disaster response drive


Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's all-women self-help group, Kudumbashree, which empowered over 42 lakh households through various entrepreneurial initiatives, is now part ofdisaster response initiative, a year after the southern state witnessed a devastating deluge.

Setting an innovative model for ensuring transparency and people's participation in disaster response and recovery, members of Kudumbashree have initiated collection of feedback and views of the flood affected people in the state.

Using a mobile app, the second round of the survey is being conducted by Kudumbashree women in selected gram panchayats and municipalities, out of 489 villages in the 7 worst flood-affected districts-Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Wayanad in the state.

The first round of the survey was conducted in November-December 2018, an official statement said.

This unique exercise of Kudumbashree, titled "Janakiya Pankalithavum and Punarnirmanavum" (JPP), is supported by UNICEF, KILA, Local self governments and government departments.

"Janakiya Pankalithavum and Punarnirmanavum" can be roughly translated as 'people's participation and rebuilding'.

As part of the drive, Kudumbashree members will meet flood affected people and record their needs, perceptions and views on assistance provided under different government schemes, status of complaints registered on the scheme and the most important priority needs of the people now, the release said.

Feedback of people is also sought on whether children have recovered from trauma of floods, whether people have been consulted on government schemes and recovery efforts and whether their income from livelihoods have been restored to pre-floods period.

There are also questions in the feedback survey to assess the disaster preparedness of people and government agencies, knowledge of people on mitigation measures to prevent and reduce disasters at home and community and awareness on hazards and risks in their area.

Feedback and perceptions collected from people would be shared with Rebuild Kerala Initiative (RKI), State Planning Board, state government departments, district administration and local governments, it said.

These departments and agencies could use the information for designing, monitoring and implementing programmes for flood-affected people and take measures to prevent and reduce disasters.

Besides, the feedback would inform the annual plans of local governments and government departments.

According to the statement, JPP is designed on the lines of the global approach of Accountability to Affected Population (AAP).

Kudumbashree model of JPP on social accountability is guided by an advisory council, chaired by the former state Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand.

The Council also has representatives of the State Planning Board, Rebuild Kerala Initiative, Local self government department, KILA, KSDMA, UNICEF and technical agencies like TISS, Sphere India and Riddhi Foundation, it said.

Job Zachariah, United Nations Coordinator for Kerala, said JPP programme of Kudumbashree is unique, as this is the first time in the world such an exercise is conducted by a government agency, as in Kerala.

"Besides, the scale of the Kerala exercise is large covering people in 489 local governments. Kerala sets a model on transparency and people's participation in disaster response, which other states and countries could emulate", he added.

The survey will cover eight most marginalised groups of people in the flood-affected villages.

They include migrant workers, fishing community, SC/ST, people with disability, women who head family, elderly people, daily wage earners and farmers.

Besides, Kudumbashree women, volunteers will hold separate focus group discussion with these marginalised groups in all seven worst-flood hit districts, the release added.

Over 300 people had died and lakhs of people had become homeless as the worst floods of the century hit Kerala in August, 2018.

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