SHILLONG: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday inaugurated the ‘Dissemination workshop’ on Meghalaya’s experience of improving ECD (Early Childhood Development) and nutrition outcomes which are results from an integrated community-led pilot programme at Rongram in Tura during a daylong workshop led at the Asian Confluence, Laitumkhrah, Shillong.
Delivering the keynote address and sharing Meghalaya government’s vision for the provision of integrated services for young children’s development, Chief Minister Sangma said that ECD and nutrition of children, pregnant and lactating mothers are areas to which the government is focussed on and taking up on a priority. “While there are challenges of containing the IMR and MMR rates there is a parallel challenge of dealing with the high fertility rate which results in a woman giving birth to five-six children, which has innate challenges of its own,” said the Chief Minister.
While highlighting the various aspects of the programme ‘MOTHER’, the Chief Minister said that economic empowerment and making the woman productive is very crucial. “The various departments — be it Health, Education, Social Welfare or Rural Development — have been working in silos; and there was no system in place for policy makers to have an insight or to have the various programmes of the departments monitored. Through ‘MOTHER’, the different departments will be integrated through technology for better and efficient tracking, monitoring and implementation of the programmes under various departments for children and women,” he informed. He also said that the Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be strengthened, adding that the SHG is the best institution for ECD and other programmes for child and mother development.
Earlier, Commissioner and Secretary, C&RD, P Sampat Kumar, spoke on what the State can do to develop the full potential of the children; and said that the shift of ECD is now from survival to thriving. He added that the knowledge acquired from the ECD pilot programme in Rongram can be used and layered across SHGs and the ECD in Meghalaya State Rural Livelihood Society (MSRLS) immediately. He also proposed setting up of knowledge institutions to work across the departments.