Nidan, the convenor organisation of Bihar Forces, organised a state-level consultation on the issue of restructuring Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) at Patna, Bihar. The programme was started by a presentation on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) by Mrs. Savitri Roy, National Coordinator, National Forces. After the presentation she addressed the programme stating that 80% of the children are malnourished, even though we have so many programmes/schemes running for children as we still lack quality. She further said that budget allocation is very important to focus on problems associated with Children, especially in Bihar & U.P. Mrs. Savitri highlighted few points which need to be included in the Mission, such as — Vibrant ECD centers, Facility of safe drinking water and supplemented nutrition, Capacity building of staff, and Infrastructure. She emphasised that the major challenge that lies ahead is to get it practically implemented.
Other dignitaries who addressed the programme included — Ms. Ruby Singh, CDPO-Phulwarisharif, Mr. Arbind Singh, Executive Director, Nidan; Mr. Ganesh Pd Singh, President, Forces; Mr. Rafey Khan, State Manager, Save the Children; Mr. Rakesh Kr Sharma, District Consultant, IMNCI, Unicef Patna; Mr. Shailesh Kr, State Manager, Aga Khan Foundation and Mrs. Sangeeta Singh, Convenor, Bihar Forces.
Mr. Rajeev (Nidan) shared his experience from Samastipur Aganwadi centers, which are facing the problem of sanitation and they do not have enough resources.
Mr Shailesh Kr (Aga Khan Foundation) said that percentage of malnourished children in India is 48% while in states like MP, Jharkhand and Bihar the percentage is 50. He elaborated how we can improve the impact of our work by planning carefully and implementing it properly. He also said that we usually work for children of 3- 6 yrs but a child’s first thousand days after birth are very important as 90% of a child’s mind gets developed in this period. He also said that a strategy should be made for how we can accomplish such goals.
Mr. Manoj (AIPAD Nidan, Bhagalpur) mentioned some drawbacks found during the survey in Bhagalpur district where the focus is given only on THR and dress material (Poshak Yojna). He also said that gram panchayats do not support Anganwadis; they are only present on the day of THR.
Dr Rubi (CDPO, Phulwarisharif) said that in Bihar out of 38 districts, 19 districts are taken in first phase. During the survey it was observed that people are not getting THR, and children are not getting admission in the Aanganwadi.
Dr Rubi suggested that each and every ward should have at least one Aanganwadi, mini Aanganwadis should be there at wards with less population; Anganwadis should have their own buildings. She also laid emphasis on Human resource development and said that they should be trained for capacity building; even changes are required in selection process along with regular monitoring and supervision.
Mr. Rafey Khan (Save the Children) said that NGOs are playing a pivotal role in running AWCs. He focused on Capacity Building training of PRIs to improve the quality of program. He said 10% Aanganwadis will be managed by NGOs and PRIs (GOVERNMENT NEEDS NGOs AND NGOs NEED GOVERNMENT).
Mr. Rakesh (IMNCI, Unicef) said that for restructuring of ICDS we need to observe and give weightage to each and every point. He said that in UNICEFF they are having a training course of IMCC (integrated management of childhood care) for diseases which are occurring in children under 3 years and to refer them to nearest hospital for checkup and treatment.
Ms. Parul (UNICEF) said they are going to start early childhood education wherein children under 3 yrs will be linked to school. She highlighted the challenges of Aanganwadi centers and suggested that pre-school education should be like that of private schools and ratio of children to teacher should be 60 :1 and condition of government schools needs to be improved.
Ms Geeta (ECE) said that children of 3-6 years should be given education. She explained how surveys are being done, wherein they select 2 blocks and from each block one panchayat is selected and observed. Some findings of the survey, which she shared, are — All AWCs were opened timely and functioning, children were available at the centers, and the teachers present were also skilled, food is also being served at Aanganwadis. She said that these findings prove that progress has been made.
Mr. Tushar (PLAN) said that work analysis of Aanganwadi sevikas needs to be done as their time is not properly utilised. He said encouragement of Community participation is required and we should focus on 0-3 years of children and monitor whether THR (Take Home ration) is being disbursed timely or not. He also said that infrastructure development is an important problem that needs to be dealt with.
P.K. Praveen (Oxfam India) highlighted some important points like –Job description issues needs to be covered, to rationalize number of supervisions, how to link malnourished children with NRC and language barrier. He also supported the idea of linking centers with private organizations.
Mr. Ganesh Pd. Singh (President, Bihar Forces) said that child protection and manpower should be taken care of and facilities provided during first thousand days of children needs to be enhanced.
Dr. Chandani (Assistant Director ICDS) explained how restructuring can be implemented in a better way in 19 districts of. She further explained the newly adopted procedures of new MISSION MODE, such as:-
i) Rates have been revised.
ii) On the state level ICDS’s director will be there
iii) On the district level with the district programme officer there will a assistant district programme officer for support
iv) With CDPO there will be an assistant CDPO
v) And also many supervisors will be there
Anganwadi buildings will be made at every place
Many of the Anganwadi buildings are completed, and around 45000 constructions are going on
One additional sevika will be appointed for each Aaganwadi.
Budget for uniform will be increased.
Fund flow has been increased and it will now come directly from govt. of India
In this reconstruction all the information will be provided and maintained online. There are 10 to 11 types of register in the centers which will be of same name and color in all Aanganwadis across the country which are :-
i) Family detail register
ii) THR register+ Poshahar
iii) Immunization register
iv) Vitamin A register
v) Attendance register
vi) Referral services register
vii) NHE Register
viii) Tikakaran register
ix) Summary register
Summing up the session, convenor Sangeeta Singh shared her experience of Bihar Forces. She mentioned that in a decade of functioning of Anganwadi centres, it has improved a lot. In 1998-2000 when Bihar Forces had done social audit of ICDS centres, situation was very pathetic as most of the centres used to be locked but now it’s not the case. She said we can not blame AWW; system needs to be strengthened. Restructuring or mission mode should be implemented in the same spirit.
ACTION PLAN AND STRATEGY:-
1- Wherever a Gram Sabha is being held, an exposure visit should be organized for all the Forces partners.
2- Wherever the Mother Committees are Proactive, an exposure visit should be organized for the less active Mother Committees.
3- Preparation of Micro planning at the Panchayat level and will be submitted to DPO level for further action.
4- In the Anganwadi register a column should be included which will represent the malnourished children identified at the Anganwadi.
5- To maintain a record of refusal cases.
6- The immunization program ICDS (Vitamin A) should be given same priority like NPSP, including Mobilization of resources.
7- PRI Members should be sensitized.
8- Capacity building of the PRIs should be done.
Arbind Singh, Executive Director of Nidan gave the vote of thanks.