Q. What is your opinion regarding the opening of the Anganwadi centre?
Anganwadi Worker (AWW): Anganwadi centres are already open, but the children are not coming. Parents are not yet ready to send their children. We are also not forcing them because these children are too young.
I am not sure if the impact of COVID-19 has lessened, but people are not as scared as they were in the initial days. However, parents still don’t want to take any risks when it comes to their children.
Q. What is the department planning for pre-primary education of children who are 3-6 years old?
AWW: Currently, children are being sent pictures and stories on WhatsApp, and are being taught through that. I don’t know till when this will continue. The department has not sent in relevant information as of now.
Q. What are the kind of challenges that you faced while organising the Poshan Maah in September?
AWW: Separate events were organised for pregnant women, malnourished children and adolescent girls. People were still scared of catching the infection, and hence we had to make a lot of effort in convincing them to come to the Anganwadi centre.
During the Poshan Maah, we were trying to talk to the mothers of malnourished children, who were not ready to stay in the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) for 14 days, as advised. However, the mothers are still not convinced.
"Who will cook for the rest of the children at home, if I stay in the NRC to attend to one child," they said.
Q. How has the status of nutrition changed in your area during the pandemic?
AWW: The status of nutrition has worsened during the pandemic. One of the many reasons is also lack of work. People were unemployed, and were facing financial difficulties. They were mostly dependent on the Take Home Ration (THR) that was being given.
In the earlier days, before the pandemic, people used to give this THR to their cattle. However, tough situations end up teaching us so much! Things are getting back to normal now. People have started going to work. The status of nutrition will also improve.
This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi worker (AWW) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in Hindi on 24 October 2020 and has been translated.