Upgrading Anganwadis In Delhi
In August 2015, DDC initiated a study of Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) within the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The objective of the study was to undertake an extensive survey of the present status of AWCs in Delhi and suggest key measures to improve the system. DDC undertook the surveys of 30 AWCs located in different areas of Delhi i.e. south, east, north, west and central, and also met various AWC workers, helpers, supervisors and parents.
The extensive survey was based on 6 key parameters namely:
- Attendance of Beneficiaries
- Operating Hours & Supervision
- Supplementary Food
- Early Education Activities
- Healthcare Measures
The key learnings of DDC from the survey were as follows:
- The number of beneficiaries enrolled in 10,897 operational AWCs in Delhi was 8,41,520, averaging 70-80 beneficiaries per AWC. However, there was a gross mismatch between the number of enrolled beneficiaries and the actual beneficiaries, especially in the number of children.
- As opposed to the standard 3 hours of operations, most AWCs in Delhi operated for an average of 1 hour in the entire day with most workers absent from duty.
- The food served at these AWCs was mundane and tasteless such as soaked gram, daliya or khichdi. This further discouraged the attendance of beneficiaries to the AWCs.
- Most AWCs were operating out of houses of workers with only 100 sq ft of space.
- Limited activities were undertaken to impart early education to the beneficiaries as most workers or helpers were not adequately trained themselves. As such, AWCs were operating primarily as sources of food distribution centres
- Except for immunisation, no other governmental drive, initiative or health check-up was conducted in the AWCs.
On the basis of the learnings from the survey, DDC made the following recommendations to the Department of Women and Child Development in May 2016:
- Mapping the existing AWCs, number of children and Govt. schools / Basti Vikas Kendras and relocating as many AWCs to nearby Government Schools / Basti Vikas Kendras to immediately increase access to good infrastructure and effective monitoring.
- To avoid duplication of enrolment, AADHAR-based (parents/children) digital enrolment of children should be initiated.
- To daily record real-time attendance of children and staff, electronic attendance-recording devices may be installed.
- Substituting the present source of the food supply with a Centralised Kitchen and revising the food menu.
- Integration of health monitoring system with the nearest 'Mohalla Clinics.'
- Revising the educational qualification criteria for employment of AWC workers.
- Some AWCs may run as AWC-cum-Day Care Centers with 6 hours of operation to support working women.
- Setting up a committee to develop an early education curriculum for children and training programmes for AWCs' workers/ helpers.
- Bringing non-governmental sector support for awareness among parents to increase participation in AWCs such as setting up of Toy Bank, etc.