Addressing the First Teachers: Education and Sustainable Development for Children, Families and Communities Through Vocational Education, Technology and Life Skills Training for Women
Supporting children’s education and development has long been a focus of institutions and non-profit organizations in developing countries. Mounting evidence from developmental psychology and neuroscience continues to point to a child’s environment, including resources and quality of caregiver interaction, as critical to healthy development in childhood and into adulthood. Since mothers most often serve as a child’s first teachers in shaping a child’s cognitive-emotional learning and values, empowering women also can support higher quality development for children. Amrita University’s AMMACHI Labs addresses children’s first teachers through empowering women with a multidisciplinary, computerized approach to vocational training and skill development, including life skills training, and personal and community development. This paper presents a case study of AMMACHI Labs’ WE: Sanitation Project with rural women in India, supporting sanitation, skills, and increased capacity through skills training in toilet building, hygiene education, and life skills training, leading to increased participation in the family, community and economy.
KeywordsVocational Training Community Development Rural Woman Open Defecation Poor Sanitation
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire AMMACHI Labs team for their unwavering support and contribution to the development Amrita cVET and the implementation of the WE: Sanitation Project. Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, world-renowned humanitarian and Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, for guiding us, inspiring us and prodding us ahead every step of the way.
- Amritanandamayi, M. (2014). Address of Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma). http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org/amma2014/. Accessed January 12, 2016.
- Barrett, D. V. (2014). World faith leaders join Pope to sign human trafficking declaration. London: Catholic Herald. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/12/02/faith-leaders-join-pope-at-vatican-to-sign-human-trafficking-declaration/. Accessed June 12, 2016.
- Bowman, B. T., Donovan, M. S., & Burns, M. S. (Eds) (2001) Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press ED 447 963. In Scott-Little, C., Kagan, S. L., & Stebbins Frelow, V. (2003) Creating the conditions for success with early learning standards: Results from a national study of state-level standards for children’s learning prior to kindergarten. Journal of Early Childhood Research and Practice, 5(2) http://ecrp.illinois.edu/v5n2/Little.html. Accessed November 30, 2015.
- Britto, P. R., Engle, L., & Super, C. S. (Eds) (2013) Handbook of early childhood development research and its impact on global policy. New York: Oxford University Press. In Lake, A. & Chan, M. (2015) The Lancet, 385(9980), 1816–1817. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61680-9. Accessed November 28, 2015
- Coffey, D., Gupta, A., Hathi, P., Khurana, N., Spears, D., Srivastav, N., & Vyas, S. (2014). Revealed preference for open defecation: Evidence from a new survey in rural north India (Vol. 1, pp. 1–42).Google Scholar
- Coley, C., Sheshadri, S., & Rao, B. R. (2014). Empowering women in India through an innovative vocational education model: Combining computerized vocational education with training with life enrichment education. Presented at the 21st International Conference on Learning, New York, 15 July 2014Google Scholar
- Fisher, J. (2006) For her it’s the big issue: Putting women at the centre of water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Water Sanitation and Hygiene Evidence Report. http://www.popline.org/node/187822 Accessed November 28, 2015.
- Harvard Center on the Developing Child. (2010). The foundations of lifelong health (in brief). www.developingchild.harvard.edu. Accessed November 29, 2015.
- Institute of Social Studies Trust. (2012). Empowering women through skill development - challenges and opportunities. Gender and Economic Policy Discussion Forum II, Briefing Note 2, 24 April 2012. http://in.boell.org/sites/default/files/downloads/Briefing_note_2.pdf. Accessed November 28, 2015.
- Kagan, S. L., Moore, E., & Bredekamp, S. (Eds) (1995) Reconsidering children’s early development and learning: Toward common views and vocabulary. Report of the National Education Goals Panel, Goal 1 Technical Planning Group. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. ED 391 576. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ed391576. In Scott-Little, C., Kagan, S. L., & Stebbins Frelow, V. (2003). Creating the conditions for success with early learning standards: Results from a national study of state-level standards for children’s learning prior to kindergarten. Journal of Early Childhood Research and Practice, 5(2) http://ecrp.illinois.edu/v5n2/Little.html. Accessed November 28, 2015.
- Meaney, M. (2010) Epigenetics and the biological definition of gene x environment interactions. Child Development, 81, 41–79. In Lake, A., Chan, M. (2015) The Lancet 385(9980), 1816-1817. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61680-9. Accessed November 28, 2015
- Rao, B. R., Sheshadri, S., & Unnikrishnan, R. (2010) Vocational education technology: Rural India. In Proceedings of the 1st Amrita ACM-W Celebration on Women in Computing in India, A2CWiC 2010, 16–17 September 2010Google Scholar
- Scott-Little, C., Kagan, S. L., Stebbins Frelow, V. (2003) Creating the conditions for success with early learning standards: Results from a national study of state-level standards for children’s learning prior to kindergarten. Journal of Early Childhood Research and Practice, 5(2). http://ecrp.illinois.edu/v5n2/Little.html. Accessed November 28, 2015
- Sheshadri, S., Coley, C., & Rao, B. R. (2015). Training India’s first female toilet builders: An argument for improving sanitation through women empowerment and social inclusion. Presented at International Conference on Sustainable Development, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, New York, 24 September 2015Google Scholar
- Transtec. (2014). Evaluation report: Empowerment of women in India through innovative vocational education and training. Submitted to United Nations Democracy Fund. www.un.org/democracyfund/sites/www.un.org.democracyfund/filesUDF-IND-10-383_Evaluation%20report_India.pdf. Accessed November 28, 2015.
- Unicef Wash. (2015). Water, sanitation and hygiene. http://www.unicef.org/wash/index_healthandeducation.html. Accessed November 30, 2015.
- Walker, S. et al. (2011). Inequality in early childhood: risk and protective factors for early child development. The Lancet, 378(9799), 1325–1338. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2960555-2/abstract. Accessed November 28, 2015
- World Bank. (2004). Reaching Out to the Child: An integrated approach to child development. Washington, DC: World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/15686. Accessed November 29, 2015.
- World Bank. (2015). World Development Report 2015: Mind, society, and behavior. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar