35-year-old Laxman Saunta and his wife, Daimoti, live in Kathapada village in Koraput District. They have a 7-year-old boy, Durhaya and a 4-year-old girl, Saita. Both husband and wife work as daily wage earners to support their livelihoods. Their son attends school every day and there is no one to take proper care of their daughter who has to remain home. So they decided to enrol her in the local Aanganwadi Centre (AWC, village-based nutrition centre), which is meant to provide daily nutrition to children aged 0-6 years and tackle their health problems, along with their mothers. It is also mandated to serve as a crèche for children aged 0-3 and as a pre-school for the 3-6 age group.
When Laxman and Daimoti visited the Anganwaadi in their village and met with the Anganwadi Worker (AWW) to discuss prospects of enrolling their daughter, they were encouraged to do so. But when the parents finally started sending Saita to the AWC, the situation turned out to be quite different from their expectations. The AWC of the village had not functioned properly for many months. The AWW was irregular in her duties and hardly attended the AWC. To make matters worse, neither the nutritious food was provided to the children nor were the children taken care of properly. Realizing the sorry state of affairs, Laxman and Daimoti met with the AWW and insisted that she should attend centre regularly and look properly after the children. However, their efforts were in vain. The AWW was not keen to listen to what they had to say.
Fortunately, they came to know about a new platform for registering their complaint directly with the District Administration. Through the Volunteer of SOVA, a local NGO, they got information about a grievance redressal mechanism called SAMADHAN. Immediately – on January 13, 2012 – they registered their complaint in the SAMADHAN system via SMS. The District Administration of Koraput processed their grievance and instructed the ICDS department to look into the matter and resolve the issue promptly. Upon investigation, the department realized its importance and instructed the concerned AWW to attend her work regularly and do justice to the role and responsibilities entrusted upon her. Now, the AWW opens the AWC regularly and has streamlined its operations. As a result, Saita and the other children of the village are properly looked after and receive all the facilities. A big worry has been taken off the parents’ minds.