ECCD Community Watch (CW) is a project where community members learn about their entitlements, monitor the delivery of these entitlements and hold relevant agencies accountable for seeking the rightful entitlements for their children. They do this by collecting data on a monthly basis from the Anganwadis, which is then uploaded into a web-based MIS, visible to all in the public domain. This provides an opportunity to policymakers and government agencies to understand the gaps in the implementation of schemes towards ensuring the rights of citizens. The information collected through the project is transparent as it is a first-hand account of community members whose children benefit from Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
The primary aim of the programme is not only to create an MIS database but to use it as a tool to empower the community to seek their entitlements through the use of information. NEG-FIRE believes that this process will lead to a nationwide movement and an advocacy drive towards ensuring children’s rights.
For the CW project, NEG-FIRE has identified nodal agencies to lead and guide a cluster of partner organisations. These organisations identify, train and coordinate community volunteers (CVs), who implement the project at the village level. Youth from within the community, who can read and write (studied at least till Class 8 ) have been motivated to become volunteers. Each volunteer is responsible for implementing the project in his/her village. The nodal agencies are responsible for overall coordination, training, advocacy and implementation of project activities at the level of partner organisations, as well as, within their own organisations. The idea is to develop nodal agencies as resource organisations that would in turn manage and build the capacities of partner organisations.
A few important steps were taken during 2012-13. These were:
>> Every month from September 2012 – April 2013, data was collected from 150 AWCs using four questionnaires based on the implementation of the ICDS.
>>The partners have used this data to communicate to the community members the disparity between entitlements that are due to their children as per ICDS and the services that their children are currently getting from the AWC. This has motivated parents to seek their entitlements from the relevant authorities.
>>The partners have also used this information to advocate for the better implementation of ICDS with relevant ICDS officials like supervisors and Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs).
Based on the outcomes and learning from the current approach, NEG-FIRE intends to scale up the model of CW and take it to its other intervention areas in the near future. Moreover, it is not enough to limit the scope of CW to early childhood care, but to extend it to bringing about holistic development and addressing issues of children’s rights and needs in totality. The next phase will therefore focus on evaluating the impact made by the ECCD project so far and identifying the gaps and challenges.
For more information, log on to http://www.negfire.org/?p=3257