3000 CHILDREN TARGETED
The earliest years of growth plays a crucial part in child’s life. Early childhood is defined as the period from conception through eight years of age. It’s in this period that child’s survival and thriving in life is determined. This lays the foundations for child’s learning and holistic development. During this time, children develop the cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills that are critically needed to lead a successful life.
These early experiences are largely determined by supportive family and community care practices, proper nutrition and health care, learning opportunities, which in turn are dependent on enabling policies and investments for young children and families. ECCE positively impacts attendance, retention, and learning of children in elementary and higher education.
Training of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers
Training is a key element for improving and maintaining the quality of performance of the frontline Anganwadi workers in the implementation of ICDS activities and services. It is the most crucial element in ICDS since the achievement of quality services and reaching the goals of ICDS depend mostly on the sincerity and active participation of the frontline functionaries. In this regard LEADS have organized a number of trainings for enhancing the capacities of AW Workers in its intervention area which covered 54 intervention and 26 non intervention AW centres. LEADS is:
- Facilitating trainings on roles and responsibilities of AW worker & helpers, child growth & nutrition, growth monitoring and food safety practices
- Supporting the Anganwadi’s by providing play materials, first aid kits, carpets and IECs
- Using the ICDS monthly meetings of AW workers in sensitizing and promoting good practices within the AW centres
- Promoting hygiene and cleanliness practices in the AW centres and among the children. LEADS has done sessions for frontline workers and provided Hand washing platforms and soaps in 54 AW centres
Enhancing Pre School Education Practices
Early childhood education is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. In this regard the ICDS centres i.e; the Anganwadi’s play an important role in providing pre-primary learning opportunities to the children of age group 0-6 years. LEADS is directly intervening in 68 Anganwadi centres in Khunti and West Singhbhum district to promote quality Pre-schooling Education practices. LEADS have competent resource team on education and we organize regular trainings and follow ups on Pre-schooling concept and teaching methodologies for AW workers. Through these exercises the AW workers are encouraged to use playful methods like rhyming, storytelling, group games, drawing and other joyful activities in teaching the concepts of language, numbers, counting, environment, colour, shape, size, etc. Pre-schooling has become one of the regular activities in our intervention AW centres and the daily average attendance in pre-schooling has also improved to more than 70 percent which was earlier less than 50 percent. LEADS is also promoting these ICDS centres to develop teaching and learning materials through locally available materials like plastic bottles, stones, pebbles, bamboo, card boards, PVC pipes, boxes etc.
Ensuring all 6 Service Delivery by AWCs
The complete package of services of ICDS includes:
- Health checkups
- Nutritional support
- Pre-school education
- Health & Nutrition counselling, and
- Referral services
The intervention of LEADS with the Anganwadi centres focuses on the delivery of complete package of services. Team LEADS is regularly engaged with the frontline Anganwadi Workers and ICDS officials to ensure the deliverance of six services to the children. Field level intervention includes AW centre visits, facilitating Mothers committee meetings and participation in village health and nutrition day (VHNDs). Through our expertise we have facilitated more than 100 service providers in maintaining due list of immunization, keeping weight records and using Growth charts/ Tapes for measuring Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape for child growth monitoring. Mothers committees are activated to monitor and support in proper distribution of take home ration and hot cooked food. Pre-school education is regular in all the intervention AW centres. We do joint field visits with ICDS officials and regularly share field observations and gaps in service delivery with the ICDS department. Block level interface meetings are organized with the ICDS officials and community to highlight the problems and resolving the issues. The advocacy has resulted in sanction of new buildings for 34 AW centres and 03 such centres to be developed as Model centers.
Promotion of Model Anganwadi
Anganwadi centres were started by the government in 1975 as part of the ICDS/AW Centre program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. Through these centers, government provides a package of six services including supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check-up, non-formal education, referral services & health and nutrition education. It was, however, noted that most of the centers lacked essential infrastructure for carrying out these services effectively. Many of the centers are working in open spaces, dilapidated buildings and temporary structures. LEADS is aiming to transform these centers into Model one, by making them equipped with latest facilities. The Model Anganwadi’s should have all basic amenities like child friendly toilets, safe and child friendly premise, adequate toys to play, proper seating arrangements, material for informal education, clean drinking water etc.
LEADS is entering into a venture with government and CSR to renovate and make model Anganwadi centres, initially in Khunti district which is one of the aspirational districts of Jharkhand. We are determined to upgrade Anganwadi’s, make necessary repairing and civil work, do wall paintings for awareness generation, provide learning and playing materials and make conducive and healthy environment for the children of 0-6 years. We envision a safe, healthy and child friendly learning space within a village where children are getting quality educational and nutritional facility.