Interaction with the AWWs
A typical day was described to us by an AWW who had 16 years experience. In summers the AWWs worked between 8 am and 12 pm and in winters between 9 am and 12 pm. Their day began with the cleaning of the place (usually by an AWH). Soon after the children arrived (most on their own, some had to be brought) there would be a prayer. During the course of the forenoon they were taught poems, songs and alphabets, apart from manners (like saying “namaste” etc.) and hygiene (like “clean nails”). Then they ate what was given to them at the Centre and left.
For the younger children (7 months to 3 years, they said), panjiri or Baby Mix (which came every month from Jaipur) was served, for the older children, it was murmure. The latter was served everyday, but the Baby Mix was distributed to the mothers once a week, when 6 days’ quantity of Baby Mix was given “ikattha” on one day.
Their medicine kits were typically equipped with paracetemol (syrup for the younger and pills for the older), tincture, cotton, gauze, eye drops, Providon, etc.
While this was broadly corroborated by other AWWs present, there were probably differences across AWCs that we couldn’t track down or identify owing to the nature of the discussion and mood.
We then turned to something of a “free-for-all” listing of “problems”. Hearteningly, the list was initially focused on the services, infrastructure, etc. only then moving onto issues that were more personal e.g. salaries and status of the AWWs. We saw this and the manner in which these issues were discussed as a sign that the AWWs present there were in fact applying themselves earnestly to the task of managing the ICDS.
After “Shiksha Aapki Dvar”, more children are coming. Before they needed convincing to send their girls, especially the older ones since they were engaged in household work – only 1/4th used to come, now more of them are coming. Ladies don’t send in their children because they are scared “andhavishwas”. All mothers demand that they too be given a share; this was a problem. (“baantne mein bahut” problem)