The early childhood period, the time from when a mother conceives a child to eight years of age, is considered to be the most important development phase in the human lifespan. Early years strongly influence a child’s development trajectory and life course. These early years of life lay the basis for lifelong outcomes due to the rapid development of the brain architecture. But during this stage, children are also vulnerable to negative influences of a host of biological and psychological factors such as malnutrition, illness and un-stimulated environments. The impact of poor nutrition during the first 1,000 days (from conception to a child’s second birthday) is considered irreversible.
Parental awareness about the importance of nutrition (food and feeding), health (immunization, basic health awareness, water and sanitation) and the stages of development is critical to creating a healthy environment for children. Our module, K.I.R.A.N - Knowledge and Involvement for transforming Research into Action for Nutrition, health and overall development is an effort to address these critical early-year domains. K.I.R.A.N is an attempt to make a unique entry point to directly connect with communities that are at higher risk of under nutrition and poor stimulation - both of which affect learning and development. For a detailed understanding of K.I.R.A.N, its relevance and application, click here.
Broadly, the programme has been designed to build capacities to address the critical domains in early childhood development by drawing from ASER / Pratham's expertise in simple assessments in education and community participation, and this is being delivered through:
1. Program mode: A multi-partner, collaborative Randomised Control Trial is using K.I.R.A.N content to reach out to less than three year-olds across three rural districts in Odisha, Delhi, Gujarat and Bihar Urban Preschool program teams; Pratham Cuttack, Odisha urban teams have taken up K.I.R.A.N as an exclusive program to reach out to around 750 less three year olds across 40 communities.
2.Course mode: Through Pratham Open School Program (POSE), K.I.R.A.N segments are offered as a life-skill course to the alumni across 8 states where POSE is currently established. Not only do students, but communities too, reap the benefits through community engagement activities and assignments.
3.Workshop / Activity mode: Simple activities on K.I.R.A.N nutrition and health are being used by Pratham ITC-supported preschool teams to engage with the community; a three-day workshop on Water & Sanitation was conducted with government middle-school students in Solan district, Himachal Pradesh; a seven-day ECD workshop followed by shorter duration periodic workshops with Punjab Technical University students wereconducted as part of a NSS camp in Hoshiarpur, Punjab.