THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is a general perception that 'anganwadi' is a place where poor families drop their children during the day so that the kids will have at least one square meal a day. The social justice department is out to change this distorted understanding. The department is looking out for ways to make an 'anganwadi' more attractive than pre-schools with fancy names. A 'channel reality show' for 'anganwadis', the department feels, can do the trick. A meeting of the ICDS executive mission held in January held that a reality show would inculcate competitiveness among 'anganwadis'.
"Better still, it will showcase to a larger audience, especially the aspirational middle class, what an 'anganwadi' does," said Venu V.S., project director ICDS. Circulars have already been sent to all district offices to submit a report after identifying the best 'anganwadis' and collecting all relevant information about them. March 5 has been set as the deadline for district offices to submit the comprehensive list of 'anganwadis' under them.
The original deadline for district programme officers to submit the reports wasJanuary 5. But Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Thrissur and Kasargod districts are yet to file the reports. And among the districts that have submitted the report, some have given paltry information. Pathanamthitta and Kozhikode, for instance, have given details only about a single 'anganwadi' each. Malappuram has furnished information about two, and Wayanad only about four.
"There are many things about an 'anganwadi' that people are unaware of," Mr Venu said. "Say for instance, the scientific manner in which each 'anganwadi' measures the growth of a child. An anganwadi has to monitor growth, its workers have to make sure that a kid achieves certain growth targets at every stage No pre-school in the state does this," Mr Venu said. Growth monitoring is a regular measurement of growth which enables mothers to visualise growth, or lack of it, and obtain specific, relevant and practical growth guidance to ensure continued regular growth and health of children. 'Anganwadis' have nutritional tasks, too. "These kindergartens not just provide food but also teach mothers how to provide the right mix of nutrition for their kids," Mr Venu said.