Local leadership by Sarpanch helps beneficiaries access ICDS

By Santosh Kumar Debata, District Manager

A Sarpanch is a leader of a Gram Panchayat and is a leader and a person who the community members listen to.

Several Sarpanch headed meetings (SHM) have been held in the Angul district to create awareness about nutrition in general, and scheme entitlements in particular, with different stakeholders associated with the schemes, especially the beneficiaries. The meetings also focused on collection and resolution of any grievances which the beneficiaries have with regard to accessing the two nutrition schemes – the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) and Mamata Yojana.

Most of these meetings have been facilitated by APAA and have helped Sarpanch to take ownership of the issue of nutrition of women and children and to ensure there is commitment to the issue from their end.

One such meeting was organised by the Sarpanch of Kothabhuin in Angul block on 13 June 2019 at Kothabhuin UP School premises with an objective to improve awareness about nutrition and scheme entitlements. The meeting also aimed to ensure resolution at Gram Sabha of any issues faced in accessing ICDS and Mamata services and to improve access to the two schemes for women and children.

Members of APAA participated in this meeting and discussed the services available under ICDS. Various details of the schemes including importance of growth monitoring, sanitation and health check-up were also brought up. Beneficiaries from different villages of Kothabhuin GP, Anganwadi workers (AWWs), ASHA worker, (self-help group) SHG members participated in this meeting.

The programme was inaugurated and presided over by the Sarpanch.  During his deliberation, the Sarpanch focussed on communicating about the scheme benefits to the community. He also urged the community to access their due entitlements at the Anganwadi Centre. The Sarpanch also requested the AWWs, ASHAs and ANMs to ensure on-time service delivery to the community.

The immediate outcomes of the meeting was very helpful as beneficiaries and participants became aware of malnutrition and its effects, Anganwadi services, role and responsibilities of Janch Committee and Matru Committee and MAMATA Yojana. All participants took a pledge to eradicate Malnutrition.

The meeting had a very positive impact on the beneficiaries. The Sarpanch, who was not aware about nutritional schemes earlier, is now directly monitoring the AWCs. One such meeting and ownership of the issue by the local leadership resulted in submission of a mini AWC application to the District Collector. The beneficiaries are also getting their full entitlements, Village health and nutrition days have been regularised and JC and MC members are now attending the distribution of Take Home Ration (THR) under SNP of ICDS.