By Bibhuti Tripathy, Block Coordinator
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme is an initiative of central government for overall development (health, nutrition and education) of children under 6 years. This scheme also includes health care, vaccination and counseling sessions for pregnant and lactating women. Anganwadi Centers are set up in every village to implement ICDS. But there are many hamlets and villages all across the country, including Odisha, where many beneficiaries are not able to access these services due to distance and inaccessibility.
Bhaluhuli hamlet is a tagged village of Chasagurujang Anganwadi Centre at Pallahara block in Angul district of Odisha. Chasagurujang is situated on the Pallahara and Debgarh road and Bhaluhuli is located at a distance of 2.5 km from the Anganwadi Centre.
APAA conducted a community awareness meeting at this village with beneficiaries (women and children) and explained about ICDS services, importance of first 1000 days of an infant’s life, and nutrition rights using a pictorial job aid. The Anganwadi worker (AWW) was also present at this meeting and she informed us that a lot of the beneficiaries were unable to avail AWC services in summer and rainy season because of the distance. She said that pre-school children are also deprived of ICDS services.
It was at this meeting that we realized the need to open a mini AWC. The AWW and the community discussed about the guidelines (a mini AWC can be set up at a tagged village where total household number is 47, population is 230, and eligible number of children to get AWCs pre-school services is 10).
With the agreement of the community, an application was written with beneficiaries and other villagers’ signatures. To strengthen this and make it more effective, the community and APAA members met with the Sarapancha of Chasagurujang and got approval on the application. Finally, community members went to Pallahara block and submitted their application at Angul District Collector’s Grievance Cell.