Community Journalist Helps Improve Mid-day Meal Schemes

The Government Primary School in Nimora Block of Raipur, Chhattisgarh, has become a shining example for other schools in the area. This is one of those rare schools where the mid-day meal scheme is being implemented properly. The video ( made by Community Correspondent Sarwat Naqvi, documenting this was shown in various schools across Raipur to encourage them to improve the quality of their mid day meals. In today's video Sarwat documents the success of his efforts. On a summer morning in 2011 Sarwat decided to go have a look at the Primary School in Nimora. He wanted to see how the mid-day meal scheme was being run there. "I didn't call ahead to make an appointment because I thought they might try to put on a show for me. What I saw was very heartening," he says. But Sarwat also knew of plenty other cases where the scheme just didn't work. He made an appointment with the Block Education Officer and other teachers from neighbouring schools. They discussed a variety of reasons as to why this was the case—corruption, apathy and overworked staff, were some of the factors that prevented children from getting the facilities promised to them. "We all decided to do something about the matter and formed a committee made up of teachers from different schools. We divided the schools in the district based on the quality of the implementation of the scheme. We started showing the video about Nimora to the schools performing badly and found out ways to improve the situation in each case," he says. The group has managed to involve women's self help groups in a more integrated way so that there is less stress on the teachers to provide services. The schools in the area are already showing signs of improvement. "The students have become more regular in school. I spoke to a teacher the other day who told me about how satisfied she feels with her job once again. The beauty of the mid-day meal scheme is that it goes beyond just the idea of providing nutrition. If implemented properly, it teaches kids about everything from hygiene to social inclusion as they eat with children from different communities. This is a golden opportunity, I feel and I want every school in this country to have students who are happy and healthy," says Sarwat
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