The following approaches were effectively used to disseminate childcare information to every parent, as well as, family under the aegis of the Aarambh project.

Home Visit

Home visits are an effective way to pass on the information to the family directly. However, the home visits from the Anganwadi and Asha workers were initially one-sided. They were reaching out to the mothers with the sole purpose of conveying the information they had to them. They did not have a stable structure. The approach of the home visits was systematically written with the view that this medium could be used effectively under the Aarambh project. The Anganwadi and Asha workers now plan their home visits in advance (including a list of children’s names, age- appropriate play materials, parental care magazines, sports and communication agenda). They inform the family about the home visit prior and ask for their time. All members of the family are involved while sharing the information. By learning about the activities that the child has been doing in the past, and demonstrating the age- appropriate activities using easily available household objects, they explain how the holistic development of the child can take place through games, interactive activities and mother and child care manuals. They also provide all necessary and new information as per the need. This dialogue between them is bilateral and in the form of an active discussion.

Parents’ Meet

Palak Melava - Kumbhephal Aurangabad9

Mothers’ Meet (Maata Sabha) is an effective means of reaching out to several mothers at the same time as a group. Initially, Anganwadi workers used to call the mothers of children of all age groups together and impart all the information they had about child development. The information was always the same, with one-sided communication and only mothers’ involvement.

As part of the Aarambh initiative, the Mothers’ Meet, an existing medium, was effectively used to disseminate information on childcare to all the parents. The role of the father is as important as the mother in bringing up a child. Therefore, not only mothers but also fathers were invited to these meetings, thus naming them as Parents’ Meet (Palak Sabha). Instead of inviting all the mothers of the children to the meeting at the same time, four groups are formed according to the age of the child and each group meets once a week. Teenage girls also have a separate group. The entire group of teenage girls meets once a month. All parents belonging to the group that has a scheduled parents’ meet are given prior information to come to the meeting with their child. Teenage girls are also invited to this meeting.

In this meeting, instead of giving uniform information to all parents, necessary and age- appropriate information is given to the parents of the children belonging to a specific age group. This Parent’s Meet and all its preparations, which include pre- planning of the meeting, group selection, date, time, choice of game, toys for all children, counseling manuals; are undertaken by both of them (the Anganwadi and Asha workers) together. During the meeting, everyone is given toys according to their age, parents are asked to play with the child along with the toy and the development of the child is explained by observing their activities. At the same time, they are given information about food, health, hygiene, and a safe environment through discussion. Additionally, they encourage parents to perform good activities at home with their children and also discuss the difficulties they face in childcare. After this, the time and date of next month’s parents’ meeting is decided and the meeting is concluded by thanking everyone.

Parents’ Meet (Palak Sabha) groups

First Week

The Pregnant mothers to parents of six- month- old infants and teenage girls

Second Week

The Parents of children aged 6 months to 12 months and teenage girls

Third Week

The Parents of children aged 1 to 2 years and teenage girls

Fourth Week

The Parents of children aged 2 to 3 years and teenage girls

Fifth Week

Teenage girls

Parents’ Fair

Parents’ Fair (Palak Melawa) is an effective medium through which we can convey the importance and message of child development to every section of the community. The Parents’ Assembly is a very important and effective means to positively change social rules, norms and create a more conducive environment for child development.

Through the Parents’ Assembly, all the important stakeholders in the society such as the Integrated Child Development Services, the Health Department, the Panchayat, the Education Department, and other departments can come together and come up with a plan to contribute to child development. With this, it will be easily possible to bring about positive social change and every child in the community will be able to reach developmental milestones according to their abilities. To this end, the Parents’ Assemblies have been and continue to be very effective. It is possible to conduct a Parents’ Assembly in two ways.

A Small Parents’ Fair

This type of assembly can empower the family for the holistic development of the child by holding a small scale Parents’ Assembly at the village level in one village or four to five small villages with the Anganwadi workers, Asha workers, youth of that village as well as Anganwadi and Asha Supervisors.

A Large Parents’ Fair

Such Parents’ Assemblies take place at taluka level or area level with the help of all the Anganwadi workers, Asha workers, youth from the surrounding villages and all the Anganwadi and Asha Supervisors to empower the family for the overall development of the child.

Other Community Events

Food Consumption Day

After the child completes 6 months, the family members are called together at the the Anganwadi Center. The importance of starting food after 6 months, what should be the ingredients in the food, how to feed the meal, what is the role of the family members in all of this is discussed in detail. With the aid of demonstrations, it is also explained to the family how to ideally take care of the child.

New Registration (Pregnancy)

While meeting the newlyweds, the couples are advised to register at the Anganwadi Center as soon as possible after missing the menstrual periods. Accordingly, the newly registered couple can be called on a specific day and informed about how to take care in such a situation. They are guided on what needs to be done to keep oneself healthy. They are also given information about how the child develops from the time they are in the womb, what everyone in the family is expected to do, and so on.

A Baby Shower

Pregnant mothers are provided guidance about diet and health. Through this approach, the information about childcare (sensitive parenting, play and communication activities, responsive diet, health, safe environment) is disseminated to every family.