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ECCD

The Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) was established as a separate directorate in 1975 during the International Year of the Woman.

In 1956, the Karnataka government had set up the Department of Probation and After Care

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services under the Social Welfare department.  At that time, the focus was on giving services to correctional institutions and implementing social legislations. With the establishment of the DWCD, the focus shifted from welfare to the all-round development and empowerment of women. Its present aim is the economic development and integration of women into the mainstream and their development as individuals with a right to human dignity.

The DWCD’s jurisdiction extends throughout the state. It has a staff of about 200 at its headquarters in Bangalore and many more at various levels in the districts. The department has programmes for women and children and social defence programmes.  

ICDS
Of all the programmes run by the DWCD in the field of ECCD, the ICDS is the most prominent.  It started in 1975 with a pilot project at T. Narsipur in Mysore district, with 100 anganwadis. The programme today has 185 projects with 40,301 anganwadi centers. Of the 185 projects, 166 are in rural areas, 10 in urban areas and 9 in tribal areas.  

The ICDS aims to improve the nutritional and health status of young children and pregnant and lactating mothers; and to enhance a mother’s capability to look after the nutritional needs of a child through proper health and nutritional education.  The ICDS offers a package of six services – nutrition for children, 0-6 years; services for pregnant and lactating mothers; pre-school education for children, 3-6 years; health, immunization and referral services for all; and health and nutrition education for mothers.  

The focal point of the ICDS is the anganwadi center. One anganwadi is set up for a population of every 1000. The centre works from 9.30-1.30; when children, 3-6 years, are given non-formal preschool education and supplementary nutrition.  A minimum of 10-12 gms of protein and 300 calories of energy is provided to each beneficiary.  Severely malnourished children are provided double the amount.  Children are immunized against six preventable diseases: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, TB and measles.  Pregnant women are given tetanus toxin.  The health check-up includes: ante-natal care of pregnant women; post-natal care of lactating mothers and care of new-born infants; and care of children below six years, especially those severely malnourished and those born with congenital defects.  

DWCD has also introduced CBR Portage in 16 districts. This programme is to provide for early identification and early stimulation of children with disabilities. This will help in preventing primary and secondary handicaps.

While the administrative expenses for ICDS are borne by the Central government, the state government funds the supplementary nutrition programme at the anganwadi centers.

Preschool Education
DWCD’s focus in the area of ECCD is the holistic development of the child and pre-school education is a crucial component to ensure it. A new initiative in strengthening pre-school education is the integrated approach, wherein 42 themes have been developed and are taught on a weekly basis. To support this, the DWCD along with UNICEF and other groups has developed an “activity bank”, which is a collection of 100 stories, songs, creative activities and games for the overall development of the child.  Having received funds from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to help attain universalisaton of elementary education, it plans to start preschool centers where there are no anganwadis.

Creches

To cater to children, 0-3 years, who need to be looked after while their mothers are at work either in the fields or as casual labourers or in other occupations, the DWCD has a scheme of assistance to voluntary organisations for running crèches. The crèches offer a safe environment for healthy growth and thereby help lower infant mortality.  It has also been found that the main cause for girl drop-outs from schools is their need to look after their younger siblings when their parents go to work.  Providing these crèches would help mitigate this problem as children, 3-6 years, can attend balwadis or anganwadis.

DWCD has given grants-in-aid for about 389 creches in different districts of Karnataka. The crèches serve 25 children from 8am-5pm with sleeping and play facilities, health care, supplementary nutrition and immunisation.

National Children’s Fund

The objective of the Central government’s National Creche Fund is to provide day-care facilities for children, 0-5 years, whose parents’ income is less than Rs 1800 per month. This is also a grant-in-aid scheme that assists voluntary organisations and mahila mandals to set up and run general crèches. Assistance is also given to convert some of the anganwadis to anganwadi-cum-creches.  The crèches with a maximum of 25 children are required to provide nutrition, pre-school education, entertainment and medical facilities.  Anganwadi-cum-creches are required to extend their working hours from 4 hours to 8 hours.  The DWCD’s role in this scheme is limited to the inspection of the voluntary organizations and forwarding their application to the Centre.  Fourteen voluntary organizations have been funded to run 64 creches in Karnataka.

Training
It has been recognised that the training component is an important key to achieving the objectives of the ICDS programme.  For regular monitoring and evaluation of the training component, a state-level training task force has been set up. The purpose of the task force is to integrate and coordinate all aspects of the training and to recommend changes in curriculum, strategies and methodology.
DWCD maintains a training calendar for its ICDS functionaries.  Anganwadi workers are trained at the state’s 25 Anganwadi Training Centres, 10 of which are run by KSCCW while the remaining are run by different NGOs.  New anganwadi workers attend the 52-day Job Training Course (JTC) and every two years are sent for a 2-week refresher course.  Supervisors are sent for the JTC and the refresher courses to the Middle level Training Centre at Ujire, Dakshin Kannada; while the Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs) and Assistant Child Development Project Officers (ACDPOs) are trained at the Administrative Training Institute, Mysore.
During 1993-94 the DWCD undertook the decentralized training of its anganwadi workers in Gulbarga, Dakshin Kannada, Bellary and Shimoga.  This was evaluated by NIPCCD and found to be successful; and extended to other districts too.  Along with the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, the DWCD conducted a two-day training course for anganwadi workers and lady junior health assistants.  This too will be extended to other districts.

Evaluation
NIPCCD, being the apex body of the ICDS programme, conducts evaluations and studies DWCD’s anganwadis.  Apart from these, the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) has evaluated the anganwadi programme. The Government of India has conducted an evaluation of the anganwadis and a similar evaluation was conducted by MODE.

Partnerships
DWCD welcomes more participation from the community and NGOs. In Deodurga taluk of Raichur district; Samuha, an NGO, has adopted 28 anganwadis and is providing buildings, play equipment and is assisting with wall paintings to colourfully depict fruits, flowers etc.  IBM is supporting the “Kid-smart” early learning programme and has supplied 10 computers to 10 anganwadi centers.

Though not a member of any advocacy or network, the DWCD has also sought the assistance of NGOs in its awareness programme.  A case in point is the involvement of BPNI during the breast-feeding week from Aug. 1-7.  

Its resources are its communication material such as posters, exhibition, booklets, cassettes and CDs on aspects such as health, nutrition, girl child etc that it can share with NGOs and others.

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