Through its flagship sports program, Magic Bus Foundation (MBF) India 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. MBF is a non-governmental organization founded in 2001. Its sports program currently serves over 270,000 adolescent children residing across 11 states in India. 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 objective of this study is to assess the impact of MBF’s 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.
The Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, is conducting this study, with Ramanan Laxminarayan (CDDEP and PHFI) and Jere R. Behrman (University of Pennsylvania) as the joint principal investigators. Arindam Nandi from CDDEP is involved as a co-investigator.