India’s poverty: Help the poor help themselves, by Kirsty Hughes

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

India’s government is backing a third, developmental approach that aims to improve the social and physical conditions of the rural and urban poor. This means more and better roads, improvements in water supplies and rural electrification; it also means big steps forward in education and health, together with efforts at microfinance.
The fourth and most ambitious approach seeks to exploit the unused entrepreneurial abilities of the poor.
In the state of Kerala, near India’s southern tip, bureaucrats work with the poorest women in a program called Kudumbashree, or Family Prosperity. The aim is to identify the women’s needs – from literacy and training to housing, health care and jobs – and to put them in charge of managing their own development.
The women set up self-help savings groups, move on to microfinance and loans, and then establish their own micro-enterprises; the government helps them identify opportunities and gives them training in areas like information technology and marketing.
Story found here.

Source: International Herald Tribune