Smart mothers, the champions of learning
Learning must go on, even during a pandemic. When Indian schools were closed, Getinge’s partner Pratham mobilized mothers through phone-based outreach and resources, to enable them to become champions of learning.
During the pandemic, large parts of India were in strict lockdowns and many schools in the Assam region were closed. For Getinge’s partner Pratham, an innovative learning organization working to improve the quality of education in India, there was no doubt: learning must go on.
“A supportive learning environment at home can be a big contributor to the overall development and growth of a child. The mother is typically the one who spends the greatest amount of time with children, she plays the role of a long-term influencer,” says Ingrid Eelde Koivisto, Founder & Secretary General at Pratham Sweden.
Even in ordinary times, Pratham works continuously to empower mothers to be able to play a more active role in their children’s development, improve developmental outcomes and influence the household environment to make it conducive to their learning needs.
“When schools closed this became even more crucial. We identified mothers who showed motivation and willingness to engage, and found means to reach them and share information. We called these mothers, our smart mothers. Access to regular and smartphones enabled them to be in regular touch with Pratham and gave them access to teaching material,” tells Ingrid.
This way, the mothers could share activities with children in their close surroundings and also help Pratham deepen engagement with more mothers in the community.
“During COVID-19, smart mothers and other volunteers have personally taught younger children by using the messages and videos they received from Pratham on their phones. Additionally, they also assisted us in conducting classes with children of their hamlet”, says Niharika Gogoi, a Pratham volunteer in Titabor block, Jorhat district, Assam.
“In this challenging situation the mothers have really stepped up and acted as champions of learning, which gave us the possibility to continue our important work and ensure that learning could go on.”
Pratham is the first major organization to achieve lasting, wide-scale success in India's educational landscape. Established by UNICEF and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in 1995, the foundation uses high-quality, low cost, and replicable activities to counteract gaps in the education system. Getinge participates in the initiative ‘Swedish Industry for Quality Education in India’. Initiated in 2017 and organized by Pratham Sweden, the project focuses on helping children in the Assam region learn to read and count.