Last Updated:  08/06/2020

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Project Pitch By: Centre for Learning Resources

 

Proposed Project Title


Caregiver Coaching for Nurturing Care

 

Thematic Area

Promotion of education, special education and vocational skills

Sub Thematic Area

Education Programs

Project Synopsis

Coronavirus has disrupted the functioning of the anganwadis and other institutional mechanisms for delivering developmental inputs to children. This project, therefore, seeks to build the capacities of the ICDS system, ranging from the district level officials to anganwadi workers, to coach parents in creating a nurturing, supportive environment for their children at home. While the messages are delivered to families of children under 6, where ICDS operates, other parents can also benefit. This project started in Chhattisgarh in April, 2020 and has received very favourable reviews. Centre for Learning Resources (CLR) produces the messages, and provides on-going implementation and capacity-building support to the ICDS functionaries in all 27 districts of the state, with about 52,000 anganwadis. These anganwadis serve about 30 lakh children. Of these, we estimate that families of about 5 lakh children can be reached by this project.
 
 
 

Overview of the Proposed Project

Estimated Budget
INR 0.6 Cr - INR 1.0 Cr
Proposed Location
27 districts of Chhattisgarh

Key Project Partners
Government

Project Status
Active
 

Facts

Beneficiary Type (Primary): Children
Beneficiary Type (Secondary):
Estimated No. of Beneficiaries: 1000 and above Families
Status of Baseline Survey: Yet To Be Done
 
 
 

Proposed Project Description

Background and Rationale

COVID-19 presents a unique challenge to humanity, un-encountered for more than a century. It has brought a frightening disease to our doorstep, and also made difficult the traditional means of bringing succour and knowledge to those who need it most. In the context of Early Childhood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE), the physical coming together of childcare workers and children, which we had so far taken for granted, is under severe restrictions in a period of lockdown which could last several months.

 

ECCDE, the foundation for overall development during the critical early years faces the danger of being undermined in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency. With lockdowns continuing for a few months, perhaps off and on, there will be a loss of livelihoods, undermining of nutritional status, social contact and emotional support. 

 

For young children:

  • a lot of the progress against child malnutrition can be set back,
  • social-emotional isolation can lead to long-term scarring
  • lack of on-going stimulation can cause all-round developmental deficits

As Anganwadis remain closed, increasingly, parents and other caregivers are coming into focus – they are expected to play multiple and crucial roles during these challenging times, offering the children much needed succour. For this, the adults need to be themselves prepared and supported.

 

The presence of the parents and children in one, relatively confined, physical space over an extended period because of the lockdowns also provides an opportunity that has traditionally not been available in poor families. Because of the pressures of the pursuit of livelihoods, parents have had little time to spend with their children. Given the enormous impact the affectionate engagement of parents has on the all-round development of the children, any enhancement in the time they spend in such engagement is highly desirable. At a time like this, this is well worth attempting.

 

Opportunity

This crisis has presented an opportunity to introduce parents to the ideas of “touch, talk and play” that were introduced in Chhattisgarh by a Centre for Learning Resources (CLR) - UNICEF collaboration in 2013 through a parenting education program called ‘Sajag’. It emphasised the ways in which parents could engage their children of different ages in developmentally sound activities at home. The activities were incorporated in the form of a parenting manual produced by CLR titled “Chakmak Mein Aag”. The programme was widely appreciated and CLR was requested to incorporate the ideas into the state-wide Mitanin training programme of State Health Resource Centre (SHRC) as well as a pilot programme in Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRC) of the department of health. Both these offshoots were supported by UNICEF. Rigorous studies of the impacts of the Sajag program by CLR showed significant all round developmental gains for children.

 

Accordingly, CLR proposed to UNICEF and the state government, through a concept note dated April 2, 2020, that key ideas of nurturing care at home be conveyed to the parents through anganwadi workers. Given the current context, the following pathway for operationalising this objective was proposed to and accepted by the state government.

 

Programme Structure

  • CLR offers short audio tutorials, once a week, intended to help anganwadi workers (AWW’s) to communicate simple nurturing care ideas to parents within their jurisdiction. CLR is producing these as a part of its collaboration with HCL Foundation, intended to be used in various settings across the country. They are of short duration of about four to six minutes, and capable of being transmitted through WhatsApp groups. The AWW’s may do this by simply playing the tutorial directly to the parents on their phones, or translating it to the local language, where necessary.
  • To ensure a system-wide commitment to the programme, the tutorials are being forwarded by the Directorate of Women and Child Development (DWCD) to the District Programme Offciers (DPO's) who, in turn, forward them to their subordinates, who do the same until it reaches the AWW’s.
  • In addition to the ideas of “touch, talk and play”, advocated in Sajag, these tutorials also address the parents’ emotional states, given the distress that loss of livelihoods and anxieties about health have been bringing.
  • The idea is to not only empower parents with ideas about how they may nurture their children, but also attempt to support their transition to a more grounded emotional state in which it is realistic to expect such engagement.
  • In spite of the lockdowns and the closure of anganwadis, the AWW’s continue to have significant touch-points with parents, chiefly relating to the distribution of take-home rations, suitable for disseminating the ideas contained in the tutorials.
  • State-wide, about two-thirds of anganwadi workers have access to WhatsApp, though there are significant regional variations in both access to devices as well as the necessary data networks. CLR also makes the messages available in .mp3 format, which can be used on feature phones. 
  • We expect that the Sajag program will initially run for about one year.
  • CLR officers provide on-going on-line engagement and telephone support to the DPO’s and randomly selected CDPO's and Supervisors to help address any implementation challenges experienced by the transmission chain. This includes a Sajag Chaupal, a fortnightly availability of senior CLR officers to district level officers in a video-conferencing mode.

After its acceptance, Sh. Bhupesh Baghel, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, inaugurated the state-wide Sajag programme on April 25, 2020. Up to now, seven weekly messages have been distributed to the field by DWCD and communicated to parents by anganwadi workers.

 

Gender, Equity and Sustainability

Sajag enables parents, in difficult and low resource settings, to care for their young girls and boys in responsive ways, helping them develop a strong foundation for their development and future learning. Messages integrate gender equity concerns.

 

The programme is inherently sustainable as it creates nurturing care capacities among caregivers and the entire chain of DWCD functionaries, from anganwadi worker to DPO’s. These capacities will remain and be reused over and over well after anganwadis reopen and this intervention ceases.

 
 

Salient Features

  1. Supports parents in developing the emotional grounding, the skills and the information for providing nurturing care to their children
  2. Creates a capacity-building opportunity for key government functionaries in Coaching Caregivers for Nurturing Care (CCNC)
  3. Establishes long-term capacities for effective child-care in communities, which can continue to bear fruit for a long time
 

About Centre for Learning Resources

Society for Educational Improvement and Innovation DBA Centre for Learning Resources (CLR) is a non-profit registered under Societies Registration Act, BPT Act and FCR Act. The organization has been working in the domains of Early Childhood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE) and Elementary Education since 1984, supporting a wide range of government organizations and NGOs across the country in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

 

CLR staff members come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, including social work, leadership and management, early childhood care, development and education, primary education, community mobilization, materials development, communication and research. They have expertise in strategic thinking, program design, implementation sciences and capacity building of and working with government systems.

Key features of the CLR philosophy and approach include:

  • Development of products and strategies for sustainability and adaptability at medium or large scale
  • Working through partnerships to ensure active and constructive role of government departments
  • Judicious use of low cost technology to suit the needs of govt. systems
  • Embedding of research in ongoing programs
  • Structuring of capacity-building programmes in an iterative, feedback-sensitive, implementation-focussed approach rather than a one-time training approach.

 
 

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