From Aspiration to Action: ‘Rural Rising’ brings positive change in Wayanad’s Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat, Sulthan Bathery Block, Kerala

Rural Rising Wayanad

Broadcom, under its CSR initiative, in collaboration with NGO United Way of Bengaluru (UWBe) and Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat, proudly announced the official inauguration of the ‘Rural Rising,’ an innovative integrated rural development program at Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat in Sultan Bathery block, Wayanad. The Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat has a population of 14,133. It is the second largest tribal-populated gram panchayat in the state. Recognizing the pressing need for comprehensive interventions, ‘Rural Rising’, an integrated rural rising program, was kickstarted.

Grounded in a meticulous need assessment, the initiative strategically addresses critical needs such as the health and nutritional needs of children through a unique Cooked Meal intervention and early education facilities for children.

Addressing the health and nutritional needs of children, particularly those malnourished and from the tribal communities, the Cooked Meal intervention was conceived to ensure the availability and accessibility of nutritious meals three times a day, six days a week, benefiting 315 children across 26 Anganwadi Centres. Six Community Kitchens have also started in six Anganwadi Centers, involving mothers in food preparation to foster healthier food habits at home.

Fifteen nutrition promoters, serving as influencers, are actively engaged in community mobilization under this initiative. They play a crucial role in conducting awareness sessions for mothers emphasizing the importance of consuming healthy and nutritious meals.

The positive outcome of the Cooked Meal intervention is evident, with a substantial improvement in children who were initially underweight. In September 2023, 79% reached a normal height-to-weight ratio, marking a positive trend with 81% in October and an impressive 85% in November.

Addressing the need to create a conducive early learning environment for children, 26 Anganwadi Centres have been revamped, aligning with ICDS guidelines. The transformation of Anganwadi Centres to safe and conducive learning spaces includes new facilities and services, infrastructure support, and the establishment of play areas.

Recognizing the crucial role of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) and Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs), the ‘Rural Rising’ initiative also focussed on building the capacities of 200 AWWs and AWHs in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) related skills. This is helping to enhance the quality of services at the AWCs and interactions between caregivers and children, making the entire Anganwadi ecosystem child-friendly.

As expressed by one of the retd. Anganwadi Workers, “In my 39 years of service, I have seen many AWCs located in the forest area grapple with challenges. Today, I express heartfelt gratitude for the positive changes in the AWCs – the introduction of play areas and other improvements ensures a nurturing and vibrant environment for children’s growth and well-being. “

For the initiative, a new milestone was achieved today, as one of the refurbished Anganwadi Centres was inaugurated in the presence of Dr. Renu Raj IAS, the District Collector and District Magistrate, who was present at the event. Dr. Raj said, “Ensuring kids aged 0-6 grow up in a safe and nurturing environment is crucial. This early phase is a big chance for positive development. Investing and putting effort into these early years can build the foundation for a thriving society in the next 20 years.”

Other delegates present today included govt. officials from the Women and Child Development Department, representatives of the Panchayat and team from United Way Bengaluru.

“The intervention is designed on a ‘convergence model,’ focussing on the strength of every stakeholder. In partnership with the local administration and our CSR partner Broadcom, this collaborative effort is significantly contributing to SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being and SDG 4 – Quality Education,” said Rajesh Krishnan, CEO, United Way Bengaluru.