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Best Practices from Aspirational Districts

08 Jan 2020

1. Centralised Kitchen for Better Nutrition (District: Nandurbar, Maharashtra)

In order to tackle deep rooted problems of malnourishment and Anemia in the tribal dominated Aspirational District Nandurbar, the Tribal Department, under the aegis of District Administration has attempted to address the issue by establishing a Centralised Kitchen to provide hot and nutritious meals to children in residential schools, also known as Ashram Shalas. Operational since April 2019, the program has enabled Nandurbar to perform well on Health indicators pertaining to the reduction of Severe Acute Malnourishment and Moderate Acute Malnourishment in the district. The Centralised Kitchen is a joint initiative of the Tribal Development Department and Stri Shakti to provide healthy and nutritious meals in government Ashram Shalas. This Central Kitchen caters to 28 Ashram schools with a capacity of more than 11,000 students. The transportation mechanism with set routes, ensures hot and healthy food to the children. The Kitchen is equipped with advanced machinery, semi-automatic in nature, in order to create employment opportunities. The Kitchen strives to maintain the quality, hygiene and cleanliness of the meal, like a mother feeding her every child studying in this remote part of Maharashtra.

2. Establishing Model Anganwadi Centres (District: Ramgarh, Jharkhand)

The District Administration of Ramgarh has established Model Anganwadi Centres across blocks to encourage best practices in management and improving learning outcomes. In terms of improving learning outcomes, BALA (Building as a Learning Aid) in Anganwadis has proved as a shining example of how government sponsored facilities can be made at par with private educational Institutions. These Anganwadis also host regular outreach and awareness campaigns in the community to promote better health and hygiene, such as VHSNDs (Village, Health, Sanitation & Nutrition Days) that have been benefiting families across blocks. The Model Anganwadis include an upgraded in-house kitchen where nutritious meals are prepared for children to ensure a balanced diet. In addition, spaces around the premises such as front-yard of the Anganwadis have been developed into a vegetable garden for optimal utilization of the space and to ensure incorporation of freshly grown produce in the diets being provided to the children.

3. Kanya Taru Yojna (District: Hailakandi, Assam)

For encouraging Hospital Delivery and discouraging Home Delivery, parents of girl children born in any of the Government Hospitals of Aspirational District Hailakandi were gifted with 5 saplings (Coconut, Litchi, Assam Lemon, Guava & Amla). Parents were asked to take care of the saplings like their daughters. The fruits of the trees can be used to feed the child to develop her immunity through Vitamin C of Amla, fight malnutrition by coconut and the profits earned from the sales could be redirected to investing in the girl’s education and improving green cover of the district. It was an effort by the District to quell the disappointment of citizens on the birth of a girl child and instead commemorate her birth as ‘Ghar ki Lakshmi’ with jubilance and glorification of “Girlforce – Unstoppable”, which was the theme for 2019.

4. ‘Dakshata’ Initiative to reduce Maternal Mortality (District: Gadchiroli, Maharashtra)

Gadchiroli faces a distinct issue of High Maternal Mortality, significantly higher than even the State average (136 in Gadchiroli vs 68 at the State level). In areas with challenging road connectivity due to dense forests, scattered populations in small pockets, and heavy rainfall, the District Administration enabled the Dakshata Initiative in 2016-17 to find solutions to this multi-pronged problem. The Initiative focuses on capacity building for supply side frontline workers, routine tracking of pregnant women to enable safe deliveries, analytical exercises to examine the causal factors and bottlenecks to efficient health service delivery, and effective decentralization in decision making which allows village level contextual needs to be translated to planning interventions at the Block and District level. At all levels, pregnant mothers were tracked; due to which all the Sub-centres and PHC ANMs displayed a list of pregnant mothers. This information was also communicated to other sub-centres in case of a different expected place of delivery. Causal data collected from all Institutes in the district revealed that the major causes of maternal death at the district were Severe Anaemia, Septicaemia and SCD Disease. After analysis, an Action Plan was prepared to address key bottlenecks. Preventable death causes like PIH, PPH and Sepsis were given priority. Phase-I of the Dakshata Initiative involved ‘Capacity Building’ to tackle supply side interventions for better health. Areas with language barriers were identified and it was ensured that the ASHA and traditional ‘Dais’ were able to communicate in the local language. The effective and strategic implementation of Dakshata training led to skill enhancement of frontline workers (ASHA and ANM) and MOs of the Health Department.

5. Aakar – Residential Schools for Differently Abled Students (District: Sukma, Chhattisgarh)

To ensure inclusion of differently abled students and to reduce their dropout rates, Aspirational District Sukma has started Aakar Residential School. The District has identified nearly 800 differently abled children and enrolled them in this School. Apart from education, the School undertakes other special activities catering to the overall need of these children including therapies for their cognitive development. Aakar School has specialized professionals including a physiotherapist and occupational therapist for catering to the needs of students with locomotor disability; an audiologist to help hearing impaired children; a psychologist to help mentally disabled children and special educators to facilitate day to day learning. Aakar School also has a Paralympics standard ground that provids an opportunity to students for excelling in Sports and using it for dancing and other arts-based therapy for students with cerebral palsy and mental illness. The building has been designed in a way to ensure that accessibility is not a constraint.

6. Bal Sansad (Districts: Shrawasti and Bharaich in Uttar Pradesh)

Bal Sansad has been established in more than 3200 schools across the District of Shrawasti in Uttar Pradesh. It provides a platform to young students to express their views on various issues like family, school, society, good values among other things. Students are not only informed about their rights as a citizen but also encouraged to speak freely about them. Bal Sansad also provides an opportunity to experience voting process as the school prefects and other office-bearers are elected through secret ballot, thus sensitising the young minds to absorb the idea of democracy. The initiative is promoting inclusiveness among students as they are encouraged to participate in school assemblies and cleanliness drives as a team. This initiative, pioneered by Aspirational Districts Shrawasti and Bahraich, is now being replicated across many other Districts of UP.

7. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Citizen Recognition (District: Firozpur, Punjab)

Bal Sansad has been established in more than 3200 schools across the District of Shrawasti in Uttar Pradesh. It provides a platform to young students to express their views on various issues like family, school, society, good values among other things. Students are not only informed about their rights as a citizen but also encouraged to speak freely about them. Bal Sansad also provides an opportunity to experience voting process as the school prefects and other office-bearers are elected through secret ballot, thus sensitising the young minds to absorb the idea of democracy. The initiative is promoting inclusiveness among students as they are encouraged to participate in school assemblies and cleanliness drives as a team. This initiative, pioneered by Aspirational Districts Shrawasti and Bahraich, is now being replicated across many other Districts of UP.

8. Smart Classrooms for Visually Impaired Children (District: Ranchi in Jharkhand)

Low literacy of Braille is a global challenge and has far-reaching implications on the economy of a country. The Government of Jharkhand, in an endeavour to tackle this challenge, has installed 20 Braille-teaching devices in a government blind school in Ranchi. Indian Angel Network and Anand Mahindra backed start-up, Thinkerbell Labs have supported the Jharkhand Government in this initiative. The initiative aims at bringing cutting edge technology to improve learning outcomes for K-12 visually impaired children. The devices teach Hindi Braille and English Braille to children, through Hindi as the medium of instruction. Annie has been received with great enthusiasm and fervour by the students, teachers and school administration. The interactive audio-tactile content has reinvigorated their interest in learning Braille and has introduced them to the concept of self-learning which was completely missing in Braille education. The device comes with gamified content which makes self-learning easier and connectivity, which allows users’ progress to be tracked by teachers, parents and other key government stakeholders via an intuitive dashboard. The content can be easily localised to any language and dialect, making the solution truly global. As Braille literacy rate is directly correlated to employability rate of the visually impaired, it will be promising to see the extent of improvement in the employability of the visually impaired through this efficient braille education system.

9. Green Technologies in Road Construction (District: Goalpara, Assam)

Depleting natural resources and closure of stone quarries had gravely hampered the progress of all-weather roads construction in the District. Despite of this challenge, in order to provide all weather connectivity to citizens, the District adopted various green technologies for construction of roads. Through this measure, apart from reducing dependence on natural resources and recycling waste plastic, the District has also been able to bring down the cost of construction & maintenance, thereby leading to economic benefits for the entire State. The technologies deployed by the District for construction of roads are: Waste Plastic Technology, Cell filled Concrete technology, Geogrid Technology (Tenax 3D Grids), Cold Mix Technology and Interlocking Concrete Pavement block (ICBP).

10. High Density Farming (District: Kupwara, UT of Jammu & Kashmir)

In a bid to improve agricultural productivity and maximize utilization of resources, best practices in farming are being promoted and developed in Kupwara district. Awareness drives to educate farmers about the benefits of high-density farming and the proactive involvement of the District Administration has helped in accelerating development in the Agricultural sector. This has been effectively implemented by converting traditional seedling-based orchards into high-density orchards, producing up to thrice the harvest of traditional orchards. Each kanal can now cater to 100-150 plants. The best practice has proven to create a success story, especially for crops like apples and walnuts that is being emulated by other districts.

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