ESRC NGO Data Fund


Building collaborations to support sustainable day-care for under 5 year olds in disadvantaged communities in Jharkhand, India.

The lack of safe, stimulating and health promoting environments for children under 5 years hinders their physical, social and cognitive development, known as Early Childhood Development (ECD) [1]. Improving ECD not only impacts on children, but when incorporated into day care provision, can improve educational attainment for girls, who often care for younger siblings, and employment prospects for mothers [2]. Developing and evaluating the impacts of ECD programmes within childcare or health programmes needs to assess a range of social, health, educational and economic impacts.

The “crèche” intervention part of the Action against Malnutrition (AAM), affects 3,200 children and 20,000 women in four states that have high poverty levels, chronic malnutrition, and a lack of provision for childcare for under-five children.

Overall aim: To build collaborations with the local NGO’s (eg. PHRS) implementing the crèche intervention in the four states. This collaboration will help us to analyse secondary data emerging from the intervention. In close collaboration with the NGOs, we will then present the findings to policy makers to advocate for improved opportunities for ECD. This work builds on our existing work funded by the MRC developing day-care intervention in slum neighbourhoods in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Specifically, our objectives are to:

  1. Explore the potential of secondary data (existing literature on AAM; primary data collected from interviews with implementation partners, block teams and a sample of field staff, observation of crèche implementation; logs from community meetings; Crèche MSI, Growth charts, training manuals); analyse and produce outputs such as policy briefs and academic papers to accentuate their impact for a sustainable scale-up.
  2. Share experiences, best practice and document approaches to ECD in different low middle income countries (example India) and within high income countries (UK).
  3. Facilitate detailed discussions with local NGO’s, UoL researchers, policy makers and social scientists on future collaborative research with the aim of submitting future GCRF ESRC/MRC research proposals, identifying PhD topics and joint publications.

[1] UNHABITAT. State of the world’s cities 2006/7. , 2007, UN-Habitat: London, UK.

[2] Walker, S.P., et al., Inequality in early childhood: risk and protective factors for early child development. Lancet, 2011. 378(9799): p. 1325-38.

Nair, M.K. and Radhakrishnan, S.R. Early childhood development in deprived urban settlements. Indian Pediatr, 2004. 41(3): p. 227-37.

WHO, Global report on urban health: equitable healthier cities for sustainable development, 2016, World Health Organization and UN-Habitat: Geneva.


  1. Strengthen our partnerships with research and development NGOs working on ECD and health in LMICs to enable success in collaborative funding
  2. Explore, identify and analyse the value of existing data with the NGO on the day-care intervention in Jharkhand to inform the evidence for policy making in India.
  3. Strengthen understanding of trans-disciplinary approaches to developing and assessing ECD and nutrition, and links with those across UoL and globally working in this area.

The outcome of the research will be shared with public, private and NGO sectors in India, the UK and beyond, including EU members and partners. Research findings will also be presented at national and international conferences, as well as at NGO network meetings.

Further Information

For more information please contact a member of the project team directly.

University of Leeds

Dr Mahua Das - Principal Investigator


Public Health Resource Network, India

Representing the NCIHD on the project are: Mahua Das and Dr Helen Elsey