Our Anganwadi workers play a very crucial role in society. Educating preschool children, supporting pregnant and lactating mothers, spreading awareness in the community are some of the many things they do. Given they are a key point of contact, It is very important that they are trained and upskilled on a regular basis.
We were fortunate enough to get an opportunity to work with the Women and Child Department (WCD) to conduct training of over 2000 Anganwadi workers across 5 districts and 30 Project areas in Delhi.
In pre-covid times, Anganwadi workers would have residential training and filler training, not as often. These training would be conducted in centers at a common space that could accommodate the Anganwadi workers. As Covid hit, these trainings moved to virtual settings such as Google Meet and Zoom. Although all Anganwadi workers were provided with smartphones for data entry purposes, the level of digital literacy was quite low, as stated by trainers from Indus Action. It also became a challenge to share last-minute schedule changes, content, and to track engagement. They also shared their hesitance to move to a new app to facilitate training. This is when we decided to use a chatbot to solve all the logistical pieces for the training where all the communication around the training before and after the training was done over WhatsApp while Google meet was used as the platform to facilitate the training. The idea was to build on apps that were familiar to them, where WhatsApp stood out.
A group of 6 organizations came together to facilitate this training process. These organizations brought in their domain expertise across health, nutrition, financial literacy, rights-based curriculum, responsive caregiving, and mental wellbeing. We built the training program on a WhatsApp-based Chabot. Since Glific, an open-source two-way communication platform built on WhatsApp met most of our requirements, we decided to go ahead with that and customize it to our program needs.
Whatsapp Chatbot used for onboarding Anganwadi Workers
Some of the key processes enabled by the chatbot were:
We sent a some questions and a form link to capture some detailed responses which got captured in our database
We had scheduled automated messages to share content. This helped as the content was prepared prior to the training an we could trigger it immediately once the training was over. Training schedules were prescheduled, automated and shared in advance.
We used automated nudges and reminders to ensure maximum participation and engagement, WhatsApp enabled us to use it both for sending content and notifications on a frequent basis.
We shared a small list of questions immediately after the content was shared to get quick feedback on the content shared and also to track if the workers engaged with the content shared. The questions and the responses were collected through the bot itself.
Given that all the Anganwadi workers were familiar with Whatsapp it was very easy to communicate with them and keep them engaged through the process. After the initial setup, information dissemination became an automated process with low time investments from the operational and the tech team.
The platform has the functionality of scheduling triggers and categorizing people in specific collections. This made it really easy for us to nudge the workers with reminders for training sessions and send district-specific / domain-specific content to them.
In a conversation with Chris Kollian, she shared that, “The chatbot has been successful in establishing a steady communication between Organizations and field workers. It also has challenged the upscaling of Anganwadi workers in the space of Digital literacy. The pilot has been a success and we plan to make the content open-source to all the Anganwadi workers through the bot. We will be proposing the WCD to scale the program through Delhi through other spaces, whilst we use the mode of communication as the BOT.
Anganwadi workers engaged in multiple virtual training sessions on Financial literacy, Mental Well being, Health and Nutrition etc.
Glific has helped us solve communication roadblocks that have helped us enable our frontline workers. The potential of such platforms is huge, I hope we can continue leveraging technology as a tool to solve social challenges.