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Ethnography of the Anganwadi - The JSLH Interdisciplinary Class

JSLH places a heavy emphasis on field studies. Working with local communities is one of the prime objectives in many of the courses in the school curricula. Engaging students in an undergraduate research project is an excellent opportunity for JSLH students to become familiar with field research methods and the academic rigor required of such an endeavor. JSLH integrated the Anganwadi project into the second year curriculum of the BA programme in Liberal Arts and Humanities. Students in the required course, Interdisciplinary Studies 3 (I.D.3),engaged in a study of the economic, social and cultural context of the Anganwadi in two Haryana villages, Saveli and Manoli in Rai Block. Students worked in four Anganwadis, two at each school. A substantial amount of time of their study was based in these Anganwadis. They were required to write a report of their initial findings. Their work consists of three phases over a three year period. In the first phase, students carried out an ethnographic study of the school through observation, interview and participation with the children and the Anganwadi workers, school principals and mothers. Phase Two will focus on the needs of the Anganwadi through Participatory Action Research (PAR) in which all stakeholders define the anticipated goals of the Anganwadi from their perspective as well as the government perspective and map the places where the goals are achieved or where failures are evident. Phase Three involves brainstorming with students and stakeholders to determine what is needed to achieve the goals and how to move forwards. This last phase may include a combination of actions, such as, seeking government support, stimulating community engagement and training villagers to have meaningful participation. Through the three phases, the JSLH students are facilitators whose role is to guide the stakeholders through the process of defining their needs and
finding solutions.
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