A World Bank-ICDS III medicine kit was in the equipment room – well stocked with eye-drops, tincture, paracetemol, etc. The 21st of every month was declared as the health day when the ANM visited. The ANM came regularly and administered the injections. The Mothers Card was also well kept though the mothers themselves didn’t seem to keep a copy. Referral services too seemed to function though Munni Devi mentioned that she had to put in her own money on the transport on some occasions. In most cases, however, there was a vehicle with the ICDS project office, which would be at their service if somebody had to be taken to the PHC. She updated the Family survey register 3-4 times a year and proudly told us she had preserved all the records of the past 15 years.
At his AWC, the supervisor came personally to deliver the murmure every month and there were no logistical problems at all. The supervisor also appeared to make unannounced visits to the AWC, something Munni Devi mentioned with some trepidation. She has been attending training programmes regularly and her worn out training material suggested that she was using it a good deal (especially the pre-school education material).
Caste didn’t seem to be an issue at all here. There were as many as 6 castes in the village and there was no problem either at the Anganwadi or outside. Indeed, her registers showed SCs, meenas, jats etc. Just like the AWWs we met the previous day, she too thought that Panchayati Raj was an inconvenience.
Regarding mothers meetings, we couldn’t get a sense of whether they were happening at all. Munni Devi mentioned that she helped create and establish 3 mahila mandals – self-help and thrift groups. She was the liaison between the groups and the bank – and she mentioned with deep regret that she had been excluded from some activities on account of politics within the group.
Unfortunately by the time we finished with the first, and proceeded to the second, the AWW there had already got wind of our presence and seemed to have rounded up all the children into the Anganwadi in an attempt to impress us. Our visit was to this centre was not fruitful since we began to sense that much of it was staged.