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Women sarpanchs to take up issues of women and children in their panchayats

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Senior Correspondent

BHOPAL: Around 40 elected panchayat members from Bhopal districts were oriented to issues of women and children and their roles in a programme held in the presence of Ritu Raj Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bhopal Zila (district) Parishad Bhopal. 

UNICEF Madhya Pradesh team members including Pooja Singh, social policy specialist, Pushpa Awasthy, nutrition specialist and Anil Gulati, communication specialist, UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh were the experts who oriented the panchayat representatives.

Singh encouraged the elected representatives to increase women’s participation in gram sabhas (village meetings) and to focus on developing child-friendly panchayats.

He suggested that the representatives should ensure that all children went to school, there were no child marriage, all children should get immunized and panchayat should perform well on nutrition. He also emphasized the need for women and adolescent girls to take Iron and folic acid tablets.

The CEO emphasized the representatives own their panchayats and they should take concrete decisions in the interest of women and children. He suggested many practices that the panchayats could take up for better working and development.

He further suggested that campaigns on birth registration, nutrition, aadhar linkage, plantation, and livelihood can be organized with the support of communities and panchayats members.

UNICEF Team oriented elected representatives on women and child-friendly panchayats and how they can take steps to constitute Mahila and Baal sabhas (working groups of women and children).

The panchayat representatives were also oriented on anaemia and the importance of breastfeeding. This was in line with upcoming World Breastfeeding Week which falls in the first week of August. Activities on impact of anaemia, IFA supplementation, de-worming and dietary diversity under ‘Anaemia Mukt Bharat’ program were also shared.

It was suggested the women representatives should start self-nutritional checkups and the same through village health programs can be organised for the children, family and entire community. They were also oriented on the full Infant and young child feeding practices, importance of colostrum, exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond along with appropriate complementary feeding after completion of 6 months of age.

In the end, women representatives shared their experiences as sarpanchs (elected village heads) and the work they were doing for their respective panchayats.