Project Lead(s): Aarti Kumar
More than 60 million under-five children in India are unable to reach their developmental potential, adding to the vicious cycle of intergenerational transmission of poverty. While there could be multiple approaches to this problem, the innovators find that a critical opportunity lies in the universally prevalent practice of infant massage. Massage is a very integral part of the socio-cultural system, and is believed to strengthen bones and improve motor development of children. At the same time, infant massage has also been scientifically proven to improve neurodevelopment outcomes. The practice of massage, therefore, lies at the cusp of science and traditional wisdom, and can be leveraged as a conduit to layer a more holistic set of early child development interventions.
The practice is supported by a network of massage specialists who traditionally provide massages to mothers and newborns in the first few weeks after birth. This already established traditional network will be leveraged as 'agents of change' to train and support mothers and families in adopting the proposed package of ECD interventions. The intervention aims to improve infants’ development outcomes, and to lay a strong foundation for these children’s future life courses.