Pilot Phase

Under the aegis of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and the World Health Organization, the “Care for the Development of Children” project was implemented to convey childcare information to parents from the year 2010 to 2014 in a total population of 10,000 across 64 villages. This project was implemented at the village level in co- ordination with the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme and the Health Department.

As a part of this project, the Anganwadi and Asha workers were trained in 2 phases for 3 days each. A one- day revision training was also conducted where new and scientific information on childcare was imparted to them. Information on childcare (play and interaction, diet, health, sensitive parenting, safe environment) was conveyed to every mother by Anganwadi workers and Asha workers through home visits, mothers’ meets, parenting workshops and various community programs.

During these home visits and Mothers’ Meets, the Anganwadi workers and Asha workers emphasized the importance of age- appropriate games and interaction activities. Through parenting workshops and several other activities, the information on childcare was explained to pregnant women and the parents of children between the age group of 0 to 3 years.

By conducting a survey at the beginning and after the implementation of this project, we have understood the status of childcare in the community before and after the implementation of this project. The observations made in the survey included increase in parent- child interactions, increased diet, increase in the child’s weight, increased participation of mothers in Mothers’ Meets, increase in activities between the father and child, as well as, changes in the mother’s mental state as a result of playing games and interacting with her child. All of these factors have had a positive effect on childcare.

The same project has also been implemented on an experimental basis under UNICEF for 0 to 3 age groups between the years 2018 and 2021 in 4 talukas of Aurangabad district and 6 talukas of Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. Under the aegis of this project, the Anganwadi Supervisors, Taluka Group Organizers and Asha Group Promoters from both the ICDS and HEALTH sections of the selected talukas were given a five days training in five phases each; and through them, Anganwadi workers and Asha workers were trained once a month for a period of 12 months. The information on childcare was conveyed to the parents, as well as, family members mainly through home visits, parents’ assembly, parents’ meets and various community- based programs. Information on childcare was also disseminated to the parents through other departments working at the taluka level such as Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission (MSRLM), the Panchayat Samiti the and Gram Panchayat. Surveys were conducted at the beginning and on conclusion of this project. The project has resulted in a number of positive changes such as creating a happier family environment while raising children, increase in father’s involvement, improvement in diet and developmental outcomes, and reduced the instances of short-heighted and skinny children.