Context: The Aspirational District Fellows (ADFs) of Chatra district in Jharkhand have refurbished the Anganwadis based on the urban pre-school model.
About Anganwadis as Centres of Nutrition
- The prior situation before implementation of the measure:
- Jharkhand is among the eight states which have been subjected to the intensive Integrate Child Development Scheme IV (ICDS-IV) due to the high drop-out rates of students from Anganwadi Centers (AWCs).
- The team of Aspirational District Fellows (ADFs) identified that inadequate infrastructure combined with insufficient education, and healthcare facilities contributed to the low attendance rates among AWCs.
- Hence the Building as a Learning Aid (BaLA) initiative under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Universal Education) was adopted in AWCs across Jharkhand.
- BaLA proposes that the structure and design of any school space should serve as a teaching tool.
- Under the scheme, painting the walls and ceilings of the AWCs with alphabets, numbers, animals, etc. is undertaken so that the children learn by observing their surroundings.
- Also, the print rich environment becomes a child-friendly learning space.
- In turn, the Anganwadi Workers are also benefited by this initiative as they use the visual content to enhance the understanding of the students.
- Nutrition related initiatives taken up in these Anganwadi centres:
- Meals served at AWCs are a contributing factor in improving attendance rates among students.
- ‘Kitchen Garden’ has been introduced with an objective to engage AWWs in growing fresh fruits and vegetables to reduce malnutrition among students.
- Nutri-gardens, along with installation of biogas units have resulted in growing of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables such as spinach and drumstick, to nourish their students.
- Thus, the Anganwadi centres in Jharkhand have tackled the problem of lacking infrastructure, education and healthcare facilities.
- Given the potential of basic Infrastructure available at Anganwadis, there is a need to implement measures as in Jharkhand to compliment their functions as centres of nutrition.