Jaipur, December, 2020.

Tata Trusts today announced that its ‘Making It Happen’ initiative, launched in 2018, has improved nutrition and education indicators by 12% and 6%, respectively, across five districts in Rajasthan. The initiative has helped decrease the percentage of underweight children by 12%, and improve pre-school registrations by 6% and attendance of children at Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) by 8% between May 2018-February 2020. 

The Making It Happen initiative supplements the Government of India’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme across Alwar, Dholpur, Dausa, Karauli and Tonk districts of Rajasthan. To reap the benefits of ICDS programmes, the initiative observed, young mothers and children needed to attend AWCs and participate in its activities. In order to ensure community participation and adoption of AWCs, child-friendly infrastructure, adequate growth monitoring devices and skilled staff were essential. 

Towards this, Tata Trusts, through Making It Happen, adopted a multi-pronged approach to promote Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN). The approach comprised of (i) Developing model AWCs (Refurbishment) (ii) Evolving Early Childhood Education (iii) Advancing Capacity Building (iv) Supporting Government of Rajasthan’s POSHAN II (v) Engaging Panchayats. 

  • Developing Model Anganwadi Centres: Transformed 205 AWCs through a combination of repainting, re-equipping, and repair processes and equipped the refurbished AWCs with essential materials required for its smooth functioning. 
  • Evolving Early Childhood Education: Focused on Early Childhood Education (ECE) or preschool non-formal education aspect, as it is one of the integral six services provided by the ICDS at the AWC level, consistently conducting refresher trainings and orientation sessions for Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) and helpers as well as the NGO partners to strengthen the ECE components, and usage of ECE material provided. Thus far, 408 AWWs and their helpers have been trained on promoting ECE, especially on promoting cognitive development. The enrolment in ECE has increased by 7% between March 2018-February 2020.
  • Advancing Capacity Building: Facilitated convergence and training of AWWs-ASHAs-ANMs (AAA) with 266 District Officials, 666 Block Officials, 1998 Sector Supervisors and 7978 Frontline Workers. Subsequently, 7906 AWCs were provided with maps of their local areas to identify women and children who need special care. This training was appreciated by the Government of Rajasthan, and has been scaled up across five additional districts.
  • Supporting Government of Rajasthan’s POSHAN II: Supported the Government of Rajasthan’s POSHAN II Programme to identify and treat children with Moderate and Severe Acute Malnutrition, using Energy Dense Nutritious Supplement. This intervention was in partnership with The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Action Against Hunger, and UNICEF. Rajasthan was the first State to launch a State-wide, Government-led Programme to address Moderate and Severe Acute Malnutrition, using a convergent and community-based approach. The project covered 48 blocks in 20 districts of Rajasthan under POSHAN II reaching 375,533 children aged 0-6 years across 2,028 villages / hamlets, and 10,344 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition, who have been treated; of this, 6,690 children have recovered.
  • Engaging Panchayats: Sensitised the panchayats and mobilised them to contribute towards the functioning of AWCs in their villages. A total of 1782 Panchayat Raj Institute (PRI) members were orientated. Since inception, more than 50% of village PRIs have contributed towards improvement of AWC’s basic amenities, such as building functional toilets, boundary walls, drinking water facilities, and electricity supplies, towards the Malnutrition-free village initiative. 

Dr. Isha Prasad Bhagwat, Programme Manager (MIYCN) – The India Nutrition Initiative (TINI), Tata Trusts, said, “Tata Trusts has successfully demonstrated how the ICDS, the world’s largest nutrition programme, can realise its optimum potential to lay the nutritional foundations of this important population group. A multi-sectoral approach, which motivated anganwadi workers, and simultaneously mobilised communities, has immense learning for the POSHAN Abhiyaan of the Government of India.”

“Tata Trusts, through ‘Making It Happen’, has always endeavoured to build capacity and resources for better delivery of services at Anganwadi Centres in Rajasthan. The initiative adopts an integrated approach to creating vibrant Anganwadi Centres, through transformation and upgradation of basic infrastructure, and capacity building of frontline workers, to ensure adequate participation from the communities, especially young mothers and children, and pave the way for a nutrition positive region in a sustainable way”, added Dr. Nilesh Yadav, Programme Officer, Nutrition, Tata Trusts.

In addition to Rajasthan, Tata Trusts has deployed a multi-sectoral approach to combating malnutrition in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The Trusts’ strategy for combating malnutrition is an integrated approach that focuses on three fundamental aspects: a) Ensuring adequate nutrition among communities to promote optimal growth and mitigate health risks related to undernutrition; b) Strengthening existing nutrition programmes and schemes through appropriate modifications and support; and c) Providing recommendations and data-backed advocacy to policymakers by developing research-backed products and extending technology support and data analytics to help tackle the challenges in meeting the nutrition goals of the country.