Evaluating MBF's Sports Program in India
Subha Mani, Assistant Professor of Economics, CIPS Senior Research Associate
Through its flagship sports program, Magic Bus Foundation (MBF) intends to improve the lives of socioeconomically-disadvantaged Indian children by enhancing their health and cognitive capability, and helping them develop self-esteem so that they can break socioeconomic barriers and elevate themselves out of poverty. The program involves weekly sports sessions at the community level, and includes components that promote gender equality, hygiene, school enrollment and attendance, learning, leadership, and personality development. The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), in collaboration with researchers from various academic institutions abroad such as the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University, is conducting an evaluation of the MBF sports program. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of the sports-based curriculum program on cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills and awareness, and practice of preventive and promotive healthcare practices among adolescents using a three-round panel data set collected over 5 years. A cluster randomized controlled trial will be carried out in 160 villages in two districts of India, covering roughly 14,400 children who are initially between 8 and 14 years of age. Approximately half of the communities will be randomly assigned the sports program for the intervention, while the other communities will serve as the control group. Progress will be measured in two equally spaced follow up surveys.