December 9, 2022, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, India: Women & Child Development Dept., Govt. of Madhya Pradesh has signed an MoU with the American India Foundation (AIF) to implement SAMAGRA – an Integrated Program for Children, to collaboratively improve nutrition and promote early childhood education (ECE) for 10,000 children in the preschool age group of 0 – 6 yrs. in the Gyaraspur block of the Vidisha district. The intervention also aims to create income enhancement opportunities for women Self Help Groups engaged in the preparation and distribution of meals for Anganwadi centers.
The MoU was signed today in the august presence of Shri Ashok Shah, Additional Chief Secretary, DWCD, Government of Madhya Pradesh; Dr. Ram Rao, Director, DWCD; Shri Suresh Tomar, Joint Director Development Partner, DWCD; Smt. Tripti Tiwari, Joint Director, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). The signatories also included Dr. Mahesh Srinivas, Director, Public Health, American India Foundation, and Kriti Pradhan, Program Manager, Integrated Program, AIF.
To mitigate and reverse the enormous challenges brought about by COVID-19, ‘SAMAGRA’ – Integrated Program undertaken by AIF will strengthen and support the ongoing efforts of the Government of Madhya Pradesh through the ‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0’ program, by promoting the uptake of Take Home Ration (THR) and hot cooked-meals for the under-6 children at Anganwadi centers, strengthening the skills of frontline and health workers for providing quality home-based care to sick children and nutrition counseling, reinforce the referral linkages for the timely referral of severely malnourished children; ensure school readiness of under 6 children, and provide need-based Teaching and Learning Materials to Anganwadi centers.
The initiative aims at making the children ready for a successful transition to school. The intervention also aims to ensure that mothers and caregivers are counseled on the nutrition of young children. This pilot intervention will reach 229 Anganwadis, 184 Self-Help Groups (SHGs), and 112 SHG Kitchens across the Gyaraspur block of the Vidisha District.
Additional Chief Secretary Ashok Shah said, “it is our priority to root out malnutrition in the state. The main objective of Project Samagra is to improve the nutrition level of children, enhance their learning capacity and create opportunities for women empowerment and increase their income.”
“The department is constantly endeavoring to build a well-nourished Madhya Pradesh. To achieve this goal, it is very important to give it the form of a mass movement to prevent malnutrition. It is a matter of pleasure that AIF with its technical expertise is starting a holistic project in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh. Surely, the Learning from this Project SAMAGRA will prove useful for the department in the direction of malnutrition prevention,” opined Dr. Ram Rao, Director, DWCD.
“AIF is proud to partner with the Department of Women and Child Health, Government of MP, to better serve vulnerable children and adolescents in the Gyaraspur block of the Vidisha district. The partnership not only furthers AIF’s mission of improving the lives of India’s underprivileged, with a special focus on women, children, and youth but also aims to leverage the expertise and innovation of our public health program to improve service quality in the community,” said Mathew Joseph, Country Director, AIF. Ensuring a complete integration of this partnership, AIF will also undertake endline evaluations and periodic process documentation to assess the success of the project.
The partnership will transform the future of vulnerable children in target geographies who were impacted by multiple shocks created by the pandemic and its containment measures. The demonstration of improved nutritional and educational outcomes under this initiative will set the stage for a state-wide roll-out of successful strategies.
This article was first published in the Business Wire: