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‘Thousand Rupees is Very Little for all the Work we did During the Pandemic’

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Q. Have regular activities started inside the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) since it reopened? What instructions have been given regarding maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour?

Anganwadi Worker (AWW): All types of services are being provided at the centre. All community-based activities are being conducted here. Initially, we did not receive much response, but now all the beneficiaries attend these programmes.

When we received information about the centre’s reopening, our Panchayat got the centre cleaned and ready for the same. Earlier the rules were being followed very strictly, but since the COVID-19 situation has improved, all the restrictions have been relaxed at the centre.

Q. Is hot-cooked food being served to children?

AWW: Even though children are coming to the centre, we are not able to serve them with hot-cooked food. Instead, Take Home Rations (THR) are being given like before. Every two months, we receive the THR at the centre which is then distributed to all beneficiaries.

Q. Looking back at the past two years, what do you think you could have done better if you didn’t have additional COVID-19 related responsibilities?

AWW: We had to fulfil many additional responsibilities during the pandemic. Even though these responsibilities are gradually decreasing, our core work has suffered because of it. Because of this additional work, we have not been able to pay attention to children.

Due to the closure of the centre, we were not able to meet children and even our home visits did not go as planned. When we were able to go to their homes, their family members did not cooperate with us. Also, we had very little time during that period to do our work properly, as we were mostly engaged in the COVID-19 related work and couldn't even complete our records well during the time.

Q. Are there any challenges in your work that you are currently facing?

AWW: At present, our mobiles do not work properly, due to which it is difficult to complete online work. The machine we use to weigh pregnant women has been damaged, due to which we have to bring it from another centre of our village whenever the need arises and return them soon after.

Along with this, we also receive additional work from departments other than Women and Child Development. Our work is suffering because of the same.

Q. According to you, during the COVID-19 pandemic, were there things which the government should have provided but did not? On the other hand, what necessary things have been provided?

AWW: The weighing machine which have been damaged should have been replaced, but nothing of the sort has happened yet.

During the pandemic, we received masks, sanitiser, and an honorarium for our work.

Q. Have you received any financial incentives in the past two years?

AWW: Yes, we were awarded ₹1,000 for our work during the COVID-19 period. But we did not receive any additional money after this, and a thousand rupees is very little for all the work we did during the pandemic!

This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi Worker in Maharashtra in Hindi on 22 May 2022, and has been translated.

Source: PEEP Survey

Also see: Health and Nutrition Services during COVID-19

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