Raipur, Dec 8
In an innovative initiative, grandmas and elderly women in Dantewada district will promote health and nutrition in all 239 villages of the district. The initiative, titled as ‘Baapi Na Uwaat’ (means ‘tips from grandma’ in Gondi language), is led by the District administration and supported by UNICEF. It will be launched on December 10 in Dantewada.
Under the initiative, there will be one ‘Baapi’ (grandmas) each for all 239 villages in the district. They will interact with families and villagers and advise them on key behaviours to improve nutrition, health, hygiene, sanitation, childcare and COVID prevention. These elderly women will be assisted by village volunteers of Mahila Shakti Kendra.
The ‘Baapi’ initiative has a mascot and a theme song, composed by anganwadi workers. Baapis will be selected from villages and it is voluntary. Baapis and village volunteers will be oriented on interpersonal communication skills, government programmes like ‘Mukhyamantri Suposhan Abhiyan’, and on how to reduce child malnutrition, child death and anaemia.
Job Zachariah, Chief of UNICEF says “This is a unique initiative as this the first time a cadre of village-level communicators and influencers is formed to address child malnutrition, anaemia and child death. Baapis will be able to boost the demand for government services in villages on immunization, nutrition, anaemia reduction, adolescent health and hygiene. This could emerge as a model for other districts and states to emulate”.
Deepak Soni, Dantewada District collector says “Baapis are respected in the community for their wisdom and therefore they will be able to motivate mothers, frontline workers and the community members to practice key behaviours on health and nutrition. UNICEF’s technical expertise will help these influencers to dig deeper on long-term benefits of child and adolescent wellbeing.”
Abhishek Singh, C4D Specialist of UNICEF adds “These special communication envoys in villages will help bridge gap between the essential services and those left-out in the community.”