As part of the project “Swastha Aahaar–Swastha Parivar ” supported by a CSR partner, which is implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation, a Digital Health Resource Centre (DHRC) has been established in the gram panchayat building of Kalyanpur block, Bihar. This center is the hub of information and training on health and nutrition for villagers. It has IEC materials such as informative posters, leaflets, booklets, and a computer system, which are the sources for generating awareness on particular subjects like health, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, government schemes related to maternal and child healthcare, and scholarship schemes for adolescent girls.
Some of the uses of the DHRC, in the words of the beneficiaries are as follows.
Rangeela Kumari, a Kishori Champion of the adolescent girls group, says, “Earlier our meetings and trainings were conducted in the open community building, where there was lot of disturbance due to transit of people, due to which many girls of our group felt shy to speak up, particularly on sensitive or personal issues. We felt the need of an enclosed training room, where we would have some privacy to discuss such topics more confidently. This desire was met when the resource center was established. Now our training through demonstrations, informative videos and presentations, games, role plays and debates, take place smoothly, and we ask questions and doubts to the trainer without hesitation. This center is very useful for us and has made learning a joy.“
Vivekha Devi, a Swasthya Saheli, states, ”This is a resource center for women like me who are mostly busy with household work and taking care of the family. In this center we come together and get exposed to much learning. Also information on nutrition and hygiene is available through pictorial posters, which is particularly helpful for our illiterate Swasthya Sahelis to learn from. We get opportunities of studying new and essential things through the medium of games like snake and ladder and ludo, which we used to play in our childhood.”
Munni Devi, the village head, immediately agreed to the tentative proposal of DHRC, and in consensus with panchayat members proposed its location to be at the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) building, since this would be easily accessible for the community to visit. Thus the MNREGA building was converted to the resource center free of cost, with the consent of the panchayat. Munni Devi remarked, ”This center will not only empower the community but will also increase the prestige of our panchayat at the block and district levels. It will be a platform for gram panchayat meetings, and interface meetings where the community can directly interact with the government officials.”
Authors: Mati Murmu and Ellora Mubashir
(Mati Murmu is project coordinator, S M Sehgal Foundation, Samastipur and Ellora Mubashir is communications specialist, Partnerships, S M Sehgal Foundation)