AARAMBH for Early Childhood Development

In low and middle-income countries, 43% of under-fives are at risk of suboptimal development and stunted growth. Millions of young children fail to reach their full potential leading to poor academic success and low employability due to poor health, inadequate nutrition, exposure to stress, and limited age-appropriate stimulation. 

India also faces a very high burden of chronic malnutrition, with close to two-fifth (38%) of under-five children stunted; the prevalence is further high (43.8%) in tribal regions. 

The framework for Nurturing care for early childhood development, released by the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, and World Bank, provides a road map for action for helping children survive and thrive to transform health and human potential. It outlines the importance of the earliest years, from pregnancy to age 3 years, as the window of opportunity when the brain grows faster than at any other time.

The available evidence for age-appropriate stimulation clearly indicates short and long-term benefits with the capacity to enable stunted children to catch up with growth and development with their non-stunted counterparts. For babies born in underprivileged families, intervening early can reverse harm and help children reach their maximum potential. Investing in early childhood development is a cost-effective way to boost shared prosperity, promote inclusive economic growth, end extreme poverty and break intergenerational cycles of inequity. The framework identifies five components of nurturing care – responsive caregiving, adequate nutrition, opportunities for early stimulation, good health, and security and safety.


In India, there are huge opportunities available through Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and National Health Mission for implementing the nurturing care framework. However, due to gaps at different levels, these opportunities are not being adequately utilized and need restructuring. ICDS and the health sector mainly focus on nutrition and health interventions, and early stimulation interventions are completely missing for the children 0-3 years of age. The capacity of frontline functionaries to empower caregivers is inadequate due to poor training and a lack of supportive supervision. Due to economic, geographic, cultural, and social barriers, tribal areas have add-on challenges.
The goal of the proposed project is that children aged 0–3 years will benefit from an integrated package of nurturing care towards enhanced brain development, improved infant and young child feeding, school readiness, and ultimately better health and nutrition, learning outcomes in school and higher levels of education.

Journey of "AARAMBH"

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