Anganwadi was started in the year 1975 with the intention to combat malnutrition among children. The term Anganwadi is derived from the Hindi language. The meaning of the word Anganwadi is “courtyard shelter”. It was initiated as a part of the Integrated Child Development Services Program (ICDS) by the Government of India with the intention to eradicate child mortality and ensure the health of mothers and pregnant women. This program mainly focuses on the development of children and nursing mothers. It is also a part of the Indian health care system that primarily provides health care and education to children.
The main objectives of the ICDS are
- To improve the health conditions of children that fall between the age group 0 to 6 and their mothers.
- To ensure the proper social, physical, and psychological development of the children.
- To educate the children and to decrease the dropout rates.
- To combat malnutrition among children and nursing mothers.
- In order to spread awareness among mothers about the importance of nutrition and health.
Anganwadi’s provides health care services for pregnant women and lactating mothers. It also provides pre-school services to children till age 6. The duties of Anganwadi workers are outlined in guidelines provided by the Ministry of Women Development and Child Welfare. Anganwadi system encourages families to employ family planning and also educate parents about a child’s growth and development through awareness programs. Between 40 and 65 Anganwadi employees are under the supervision of a Mukhya Sevika, who also gives them job training. The nation aims to provide local communities with accessible and affordable healthcare through the Anganwadi system.