Kerala to present women empowerment movement "Kudumbashree" to C'wealth countries

Kerala’s self-help initiative "Kudumbashree", which has been acclaimed for the economic and social empowerment of women in the state, has been invited to a conference of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) to be held in Cardiff, United Kingdom, from March 15 to 18.

This is the first time that a self-help group from Kerala has been invited to a meeting of CLGF, a press release from the organisation said.

The Cardiff meet of CLGF is a prelude to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Perth, Australia, in October.

The theme of the CLGF meet in Cardiff, which is the capital of Wales, is "Energizing local economic situations—role of partners from affluent societies".

The release said that exchange of sound models and experiences of local self-government initiatives was the main aim of the Cardiff meet. As a component of Commonwealth, the ideas emerging from the CLGF meeting will help in determining the policies of local self-government institutions of the member-countries. The CHOGM Perth summit will consider the recommendations emerging from the Cardiff forum.

"We are inviting Kudumbashree as a model initiative that keeps women economically active," said CLGF Deputy Secretary General Lucy Clerk.

The Kudumbashree model would be presented at a Working Group session of the meet on March 16. The delegates of Kudumbashree have been invited to present a paper at the session on initiatives that create employment opportunities for women.

Kudumbashree, which has enrolled thousands of women across Kerala, is invited to the CLGF as a "highly successful model" in empowering women and economically supporting them through local self-governments, said Ms Clerk.

Biennial meets of CLGF provides a meaningful forum for local self- government ministers to exchange ideas and experiences. City mayors, heads of other civic bodies and officials and delegates from UNDP and developmental agencies will be attending the meeting.

Key topics like the role of self-government institutions in grass-root level economic growth and steps the national governments could take in this process would be discussed threadbare by the delegates. The conference would discuss and recommend practical initiatives and successful programmes in this vital area.

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark will lead the discussions. The four-day conference is conducted with the support of the Welsh assembly.

The invitation to Kudumbashree is significant at a time when the CLGF is increasingly focussing on the theme of "women as harbingers of change".


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