Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Impact of Anganwadi (as Rural Day Care Centre for Children) on Mothers and Elder Siblings

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Impact of Anganwadi (as Rural Day Care Centre for Children) on Mothers and Elder Siblings

Article excerpt

Introduction

Anganwadi Programme

In 1975, the Government of India launched the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to improve the health and nutrition of children. In Udaipur, as part of ICDS. Anganwadi began to work with women supporting women's groups at village level by providing child care activities at the centres to their children. Besides the main objectives of Anganwadi there is one more purpose to run this programme for children and that is to contribute to female empowerment by enabling mothers of Anganwadi going children to undertake paid work during the day. This women empowerment programme focuses on the empowerment of women in the rural areas around Udaipur and in the urban settlements within the city.

Joshi (1999) laid down two sets of variables, which help an individual to occupy a particular social and economic position. One set of variable is called 'ascriptive' which include caste, kinship network of relationships, familial occupations, income etc. Another set is labelled as 'achieved' which an individual attains or acquires, according to his or her own efforts like education, occupational skills, economic returns etc. In addition to these two sets of variables an individual's life experiences also influence his/her attitude and behaviour pattern. Scholars have tried to understand the status of women in India by taking into account different variables.

Gragnolati et al. (2006) researched the association between India's infant malnutrition rate and ICDS performance, and found that beneficiaries tend to utilize only immunization and nutritional services while local Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) provide a broader range of six services. As a result, it prevents maximizing positive outcome of ICDS.

The programme can be divided into both social and economic support. Through platforms and associations, women have become empowered to address issues that affect them while receiving respect and recognition in their homes and also in their communities. At the same time, they have started to form self-help groups (SHG) where they are able to meet, save money and with time become economically independent through the creation of micro-enterprises.

According to Reddy et al. (2005) government could benefit from encouraging educated females to be a part of massive self-help programs and activities. Self-help group formed to achieve common goals, usually consists of ten to twenty members living near one another, is an effective method to decrease poverty rate in India. These village level networks have helped in promoting women heath and financial literacy in a better way.

Palriwala and Neetha (2010) report that the salary of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) are lower than the minimum wage of India, and widows, divorced women, and women in the scheduled (lower) caste are less likely than others to be licensed by the MWCD (lower)s due to their weaker social status.

Child Day Care at Anganwadi

Integrated Child Development Scheme initiated its Anganwadi programme in 1975 and today there are an estimated 1.053 million Anganwadi centres across the country employing 1.8 million workers and helpers which are mostly female. According to government figures, Anganwadi centres reach about 58.1 million children The programme's objective is to provide early childhood care to young children in the age group of one to five and to remove the burden of childcare from the shoulders of mothers and elder siblings.

The most important aim of the Anganwadi programme today is to prepare children aged 1-5 for entry into primary school, to improve their health by providing nutrition-rich food, and to increase school attendance by both inculcating the habit of going daily to an educational institution and ensuring that older siblings do not stay at home in order to take care of young children.

Lokshin et al. (2005) also indicates that the AWC services are more likely to reach children three to six years of age than newborns, though older children are often less vulnerable than younger children to malnutrition, bad domestic environment, or poor family health management. …

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