Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) are already overburdened with numerous challenges and while ICDS was meant to be an outreach service, the most vulnerable populations are excluded from its services. Consequently, children under two years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers and communities at the periphery of the AWCs — such as migrant workers — tend to get excluded. Moreover, community members are often unaware of the services offered through ICDS and their right to access such services.
UNI worked to form and train mothers’ groups for each Anganwadi center, to supervise ICDS service delivery and ensure accountability of service providers. By empowering community women to access government schemes like the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), UNI ensures that Anganwadi centers function at an optimal level. Mothers’ groups supervise the distribution of Take Home Ration (THR) and monitor the quality of meals, ensure that anthropometric measurements are taken on a monthly basis—thus holding each Anganwadi worker accountable for quality and timely service delivery.
Besides monitoring services, mother-to-mother support groups in the community are also an effective strategy to enhance maternal and child health. Through the UNI program 490 Mothers’ Groups have been created across project areas till date.
Immunisation saves millions of lives and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. As per WHO reports, immunisation averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles; however, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves.