Meet Kavita- a nutrition champion. Appointed as an Anganwadi Worker under Integrated Child Development Scheme in September 2014, Kaita’s commitment towards her work reflects from the fact that she travels huge distance everyday– from Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh to Nardan Basti– where she was appointed as Anganwadi Worker in December 2015. Apart from fulfilling her duties as a worker here, she is also raising two school-going children.
She has been teaching children below six years of age since she started working. Her enthusiasm and rapport with children this age motivated her to become an Anganwadi worker. When she started working many years ago, she knew for sure that this was her calling. During her tenure here, she received a fresher training by the Department of Women and Child Development.
Her journey, however, has not been smooth always. She had to face challenges at the community level at Nardan Basti. Only a handful children were accessing the services and the centres’ condition was in doldrums. In a course of merely two years, she says, the situation started to change for good. Now there is an increased awareness regarding growth monitoring. People now ask her to monitor the growth of their child; the pregnant women themselves come to register their name in the Anganwadi centre so that she links it with ASHA worker; and, supplementary nutrition quality. Herein, the key role of Matri Sudha is to supervise and support the work of the anganwadi worker over a period of one year.
The individuals, under this programme, champion the fight against malnutrition and work towards developing leadership to advance the agenda of good nutrition. The idea is to empower people in the existing resources and the focus is to invest more in first 1000 days of the life of a child. The goal focussing on transformation in early childhood development can only be achieved by achieving the targets on malnutrition, child mortality, early learning and violence. Nutrition Champion can be anyone who brings a difference in the lives of children by transforming the thinking and action on nutrition.
Supplementary nutrition used to be left at anganwadi centre due to quality issue and complaints from the community. She repeatedly made complaints in her monthly progress report to her Supervisor to improve its quality and quantity. Today the supplementary nutrition is in good demand among children. But the menu needs to be changed to add eggs, banana and milk to curb under nutrition among children.
Kavita felt motivated and encouraged when she was selected as Nutrition Champion. “The good work is least noticed and continued guidance and capacity building are required on periodic basis so that we all feel good and do our work effectively,” she feels. Now there is a group of Nutrition Champions in the community like ASHA worker, Aliya’s mother and others who encourage families to send their children to Anganwadi Centre. The women who have been selected as Nutrition Champions together with other champions in the community work collectively to make it a healthy and inclusive community.