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Magic Bus' Impact

Magic Bus completed 18 years in 2017. Anecdotal evidence of the impact of our work has been available since the organisation began operations. However, evidence at scale began being collected and collated in 2010.

Impact Area: Education

For a country that is still struggling with the basics such as literacy rates, what is significant is that the Magic Bus programme works on education in a holistic way. For us, participation in school has two major dimensions: 
  • Enrolment at school: Enrolment rates among children who take part in Magic Bus programme is 99%, as against the national average of 90.8%
  • Regularity in school: Compared to the national average, Magic Bus children are also more regular at school.

Impact Area: Livelihoods

The Annual Survey 2014 was also conducted with 1646 volunteers across the areas where Magic Bus has an intervention. It was found that a large number of Magic Bus volunteers opt for higher education. 70.4% of youth on the programme have completed 12th grade and are attending college. When asked about their aspirations, 83.3% said they would like to continue their higher education.

From 2014 onwards, Magic Bus rejuvenated its focus on this aspect of youth aspirations by formalising and repackaging the programmatic offer for youth. This youth-centered Magic Bus Livelihoods Programme connects the aspirations and potential of young people to existing or new market opportunities, and is based on the premise that livelihoods must be sustainable. Our plan for a young person takes into account the resources he/she has, as well as his/her interests, to map his/her job potential based on strengths and mobility.

  • 67% youth enrolled in the Livelihoods Programme belong to Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/ Other Backward Classes/ Minorities.
  • By the end of March 2015, a total of 224 youth were in jobs with an average salary of INR 7454. Of these 78 are women and girls.

 Impact Area: Gender Equity and Rights

Significantly expanded access to formal education: 98.5% of adolescent girls attending Magic Bus sessions go to school. 14.6% of these girls are in primary school and 85.1% are in secondary school.

Access to public spaces: In India, public spaces are seen as a male domain. This is most visible in public playgrounds, spaces that are universally occupied by males of all ages across the country. In Magic Bus, however, the playground is reclaimed for both boys and girls - a first step to ensuring that more girls move out of the private sphere of the home into the public sphere, and participate actively in public life.

Altogether this year, Magic Bus has ensured that 2917 playgrounds across the country are more accessible to girls. This puts girls on the path to reclaiming other areas of growth and development as well.

Better confidence to live and work in mixed-gender settings:  The programme has changed attitudes around some of the restricted views about how adolescents are expected to behave.

Better understanding of consent and violence: A Government of India report on child abuse published in 2007 indicated that more than 50% of children in the country face abuse at some point in their lives. While this report brought to light that boys are as vulnerable as girls, other incidents over the past two years have shown the extent of brutality and violence that is meted out to women, both in public spaces and in their own homes.

In this context, it is important to note that 77% of children accept that it is inappropriate to touch someone else's body without their consent. Magic Bus also helps build children's confidence in dealing with situations of inappropriate touch. As a result, 70% of children say that they feel empowered to say 'no' if someone touches them inappropriately. As many as 88% of children feel confident about seeking help if someone behaves inappropriately with them.

Children from Magic Bus programme display a significant increase in regularly washing hands with soap, thus making them less vulnerable to falling ill.

65% of Magic Bus children wash their hands with soap before they eat. This percentage is considerably higher than the 32% of children nationally who wash their hands before eating, according to a PAHELI Survey conducted by Pratham in 392 schools in seven states in India.

Magic Bus children also learn to be fitter. 96% of Magic Bus children play regularly, even outside of the Magic Bus sessions. Since most Magic Bus sessions involve engaging children in physical activities, the speed, agility and leg strength of children improves year on year, thus making them fitter.

About the Impact Overview

The data used in the current Impact Overview has been collated from research studies as well as our third Annual Survey, conducted across programmes running in India.

The Impact Overview combines quantitative data from these studies, to give a representative picture of our work in 2500 poor neighbourhoods in the country.

Every year Magic Bus collects data from a sample of children across all districts where the programme operates, selected randomly. The sample size is calculated for a confidence level of 95% (1.96), an expected value of indicator 50%, and with a 4% margin of error. This is further adjusted for the population size of each district. The sample is calculated for a proportionate number of boys and girls.

Sharing the Magic Bus Impact Overview is our attempt to make sure donors and supporters have a measure of the change they are creating in the lives of the children and youth we work with.

This change is visible both in quantitative metrics and qualitative parameters such as improved negotiation skills among girls, enabling them to get the support for their environment, to grow and flourish. This is our attempt at addressing the disconnect identified by the India Philanthropy Report 2013 by Bain & Company between what donors expect and what NGOs believe is a true measure of the impact.

If you want to get a copy of any of the report, please write to → Havovi Wadia, Head- R&D, [email protected]