Supported by: Wipro Cares
About Makkala Jagriti
Makkala Jagriti is an organization working towards providing holistic learning and development opportunities for children and youth in underserved communities since 2003. The organization has been working primarily with children in government schools, communities and childcare institutions in Karnataka. In recent years, Makkala Jagriti has also expanded its work to cover children going to Anganwadis through its ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education Program) and youth, through its Yuva Jagriti program. In the year 2019-20, the organization was able to reach out to more than 18,000 beneficiaries.
Prior to the pandemic, the organization’s work was spread across 5 districts in Karnataka – Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Gadag, Koppal, and Tumkur. The interventions encompassed working with 50 government schools, 198 anganwadis, 2 government-run childcare institutions, 3 community-based learning centers, and 2 youth centers.
New approaches adopted in response to COVID
Makkala Jagriti’s program interventions heavily depended on in-person interactions with the children and teachers in the schools, Anganwadis, communities, and childcare institutions. The lockdowns imposed for the COVID-19 pandemic put a sudden brake on all the activities.
The organization was, however, quick to respond to the situation and geared up to provide access to learning to the children, while also adapting to new work styles and use of technology. Learning content and instructions that comprised elements of holistic development were created in quick time in the form of worksheets, video-lessons, voice-notes, and images. We were aware that not all children would have easy digital access and hence a multi-modal dissemination and follow-up approach was used. This included:
- Printing and distribution of workbooks, stationery and trackers (Learning kits) to children of the government schools that we worked in – approximately 18,000 workbooks have been distributed to children in two phases
- Creation of WhatsApp groups of parents through which lessons and instructions for learning and engagement of children were sent on a daily basis
- Telephonic follow-up with children and parents who did not have access to smartphones
- Community visits (wherever possible, and in support of the government’s Vidyagama initiative) to reach out to children who barely had any access to phones
- Learning content covering holistic development elements has also been created for children in childcare institutions. In collaboration with the state government, this content is disseminated across all childcare institutions in the state – both government-run and privately operated.
- Creation of video content for daily engagement of children going to Anganwadis – these videos are primarily aimed at parents and contain instructions on how to engage with their children and initially covered parents of 198 Anganwadis that MJ worked with. Subsequently, in collaboration with the state government, the program expanded to cover all Anganwadis in the state (~66,000) and it continues in full swing. The videos, which are uploaded in a Youtube channel, have been viewed over 1.3 million times and have unique viewership of 1.2 lakhs.
- Online events including workshops and trainings (on Zoom and Google Meet) with children, parents, teachers, anganwadi teachers and youth have been conducted on a regular basis.
Plan for the next 1-3 years
The plan for the forthcoming years is guided by the very same belief. The broad program strategy of the organization for the next 1 to 3 years includes:
- Strengthening the holistic development program at schools by using an integrated approach to SPICE (Social, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional) development
- Strengthening and expanding our work with other stakeholders, namely, parents and teachers
- Working at the level of Cluster Resource Centers and Block Resource Centers to be able to make our intervention more sustainable and impact more schools in the areas where we operate
- Continued collaboration with the government to reach out to all anganwadis of the state
- Expanding our work with childcare institutions in Karnataka to cover all government Children Homes and Observation Homes
- Increasing the reach of the youth program to include government colleges and more at-risk youth from underserved communities