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Gujarat Anganwadi Transformation Challenge organized by Government of Gujarat & UNICEF

Ahmedabad, 5 December 2023: The Department of Women and Child Development Department, Government of Gujarat, UNICEF and Elixir organized the ‘Gujarat Anganwadi Transformation Challenge’ workshop here today.

Anganwadi centers, the cornerstone of early childhood development, play a critical role in shaping the foundation of a child’s growth, learning, and overall well-being. However, there exists a significant opportunity to enhance the quality and effectiveness of these centers, aligning them with the principles of child-friendliness, gender-sensitivity, inclusivity, and climate resilience.

To address this need, the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Gujarat is collaborating with UNICEF organize the one-day workshop with the aims to harness the power of creativity, technology, and collective intellect to make Anganwadi centers truly child-friendly, gender-sensitive, inclusive, and climate-resilient spaces. It brings together the realms of education, innovation, and social responsibility.

Speaking during the inaugural session, Ms Moira Dawa, Communication, Advocacy & Partnership Specialist, UNICEF said, “We have adopted a twin-track approach where we will initiate new challenges and hackathons while at the same time identify, validate, and scale up existing solutions through modelling in identified locations. The workshop today is a combination of both approaches where we will explore how startups can leverage their agility to adapt and tailor solutions to the specific needs of Anganwadi centers, encouraging the development of solutions that cater to the diverse needs of children, mothers, and communities.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. K K Nirala, Secretary of the Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Gujarat, stated, “Anganwadi centers play a pivotal role in nurturing the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of young children. I invite the teams with the shortlisted ideas to collaborate closely with the Department of Women & Child Development and UNICEF to further develop and refine their solutions. This collaboration is a critical step in translating ideas into actionable projects.

Mr Prasanta Dash, Chief UNICEF Gujarat presented the outline of anganwadis in Gujarat – the stakeholders, services and schemes. He said, “The Anganwadi Transformation Hackathon is a bold and necessary step towards revitalizing Anganwadi centers as centers of excellence in early childhood care and development. I am grateful to the participants for contributing their skills, expertise, and passion to bring about positive changes that will have lasting impacts on children, communities, and society as a whole. Through this collaborative effort, we can create a more equitable, sustainable, and nurturing environment for the youngest members of our society.”

The workshop brought together a diverse lineup of stakeholders dedicated to crafting innovative strategies. Eminent speakers included Mr. Pavan Bakeri, Director at F(x) Data Labs and Managing Director at Bakeri Group and Prof UT Rao from MICA. Experts and mentors from UNICEF – Ms Amita Tandon (Education Specialist), Ms Kavita Sharma (Nutrition Specialist) and Mr Nagesh Patidar (WASH Specialist) presented the problem statements under the identified themes and helped the groups flesh out the idea canvas presented before the Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Gujarat during the Ideas Showcase.

This workshop not only signified a shared commitment but also laid the groundwork for developing sustainable and impactful solutions for Anganwadi centers helping positively impact the lives of children and women across Gujarat. The outcomes and impact of the implemented solutions will be shared with the public and relevant stakeholders so it can inspire others and contribute to the broader discourse on improving early childhood development.

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