Module 2 Training empowers Meghalaya ECD trainers

The training was activity-based and experiential, taking a hands-on approach to help communities grasp concepts related to ECD effectively.

Recognizing the importance of parental involvement and the role of frontline functionaries in disseminating training and knowledge within communities, the Meghalaya Early Childhood Development (ECD) Mission, in collaboration with Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, the Aarambh project, and UNICEF Maharashtra, successfully concluded its comprehensive training program. This event marked the conclusion of Module 2 for Key Trainers on the “Importance of Early Years.”

Empowering Key Trainers

The Key Trainers, who are Block and Cluster level officials from various departments involved in ECD interventions, participated in this training. These departments include the Social Welfare Department, Health and Family Welfare, and Community & Rural Development. The training, which ran from May 7th to May 10th, 2024, featured simultaneous sessions for different departments and joint sessions on the first day.

Training Objectives and Approach

The primary objective of the training program was to build and strengthen the capacity of department officials, enabling them to train their peers and field-level workers. Following the training, these Key Trainers are expected to disseminate their knowledge by training Supervisory staff to ensure all Frontline Workers (FLWs) within their respective departments and districts are proficient in ECD practices. The trainers were selected from the first 15 blocks identified during Phase 1 of the Meghalaya ECD Mission project rollout.

Special Sessions by Dr Simin F. Irani

The first two days of Module 2 featured special sessions by veteran neonatologist Dr. Simin F. Irani, founder member of the National Neonatology Forum and Senior Advisor and Consultant at UNICEF. Dr. Irani conducted sessions on “Why ECD?” and “Developmental Milestones in the Womb.” She also engaged with the District Early Intervention Center (DEIC) staff to support the state in identifying existing gaps.

Dr. Simin F. Irani explains the challenges in early childhood development.

Dr. Irani covered various aspects of early childhood development, including recognizing developmental milestones and understanding cognitive, language, social, and emotional domains. She emphasized a holistic approach, stating, “The ages of 0-2 years are crucial for intervention, encompassing physical, psychosocial, and emotional growth.” She highlighted the interaction between biology and the environment, including parental and community influences.

Significant Insights and Statistics

Dr. Irani’s thought-provoking questions prompted attendees to reflect on the challenges and opportunities in child development. She also highlighted a sobering statistic: “Over 250 million children worldwide have yet to reach their full potential, with 40-42% in India facing similar setbacks.”

Participation of Key Officials

The session was also attended by the Development Commissioner and Principal Secretary Mr. Sampath Kumar, IAS, Government of Meghalaya. Mr Kumar emphasized the critical significance of such training initiatives, underscoring the need for children to attain their maximum potential through early interventions like the ECD mission.

Development Commissioner and Principal Secretary Mr Sampath Kumar discusses how 90% of the brain develops during the first five years of early childhood.

Mr Kumar also highlighted the need for enhanced training for AYUSH practitioners in Meghalaya and proposed initiating in-service training for Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) Medical Officers. He stressed the importance of developing software to predict and address health issues and recommended including home births in the birth registration process to better understand maternal health.

Interactive Breakout Sessions

An interactive breakout session further enhanced learning, focusing on the roles and responsibilities of trainers, engaging group activities, and crafting effective training plans. Participants gained invaluable knowledge from discussions on the Importance of Early Years, the brain-wiring game, and insights from the Jamaican Study. The Jamaican Study for Early Child Development reaffirms the profound impact of early stimulation interventions, revealing that children who received these interventions demonstrated higher IQ scores, better academic performance, and fewer behavioural problems.

Home Visits and Parent Meetings

On the second and third days, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), alongside trainees, conducted home visits and parent meetings to demonstrate and promote best practices. These activities were joined by MOs, CDPOs, Nursing tutors, Lady Supervisors (ICDS), and the Aarambh team in Mawdiangdiang, Mawkasiang, Saisiej, and Umroh.

These gatherings addressed the specific needs of children across various age groups, including pregnant mothers, infants aged 6 months to 2 years, toddlers aged 2 to 4 years, and preschoolers aged 4 to 6 years. The importance of utilizing Mother and Child Protection (MCP) cards as accessible Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials was emphasized.


The Module 2 training for Key Trainers has set the stage for a ripple effect of knowledge and skills, empowering community-level functionaries to drive significant behavioural change. The emphasis on early childhood development, hands-on training, and community involvement underscores the mission’s commitment to ensuring every child in Meghalaya can reach their full potential.