Impact and process evaluation of BRAC’s Childcare Model in Bangladesh

Last registered on June 24, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Impact and process evaluation of BRAC’s Childcare Model in Bangladesh
Initial registration date
June 04, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 24, 2024, 12:08 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information

Primary Investigator

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University
PI Affiliation
BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University
PI Affiliation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
PI Affiliation
Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
A growing body of evidence demonstrates the crucial importance of access to quality childcare services for child development, women’s economic opportunities, and by extension the wellbeing of families and communities (Aliga et al., 2023). Early childhood care has a central role in fostering children’s physical, intellectual and psychosocial development, with effects experienced along the life course (Black et al., 2017). As women fulfill most care responsibilities across societies, access to childcare services also has transformative potential for women’s engagement with the labor market (Evans, Jakiela and Knauer, 2021).

The effects of interventions focused on early childhood care on children and mothers have been well documented across higher-income country settings (Del Boca, 2015; Morrissey, 2017). A growing body of evidence highlights the empirical relationship between childcare access and women’s employment outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (Halim, Perova and Reynolds, 2023). These studies, geographically dispersed across Africa, Asia and South America, find positive impacts of access to childcare services on women’s economic activities (Berlinski, Galiani and Mc Ewan, 2011; Martinez, Naudeau and Pereira, 2017; Clark et al., 2019; Halim, Johnson and Perova, 2019; Nandi et al., 2020; Attanasio et al., 2022; Bjorvatn et al., 2022; Hojman and Lopez Boo, 2022).

The evidence of the impact of access to quality early childhood care across children and mothers has led to the acknowledgment that investment into childcare reaps a ‘triple dividend’ – fostering child development, promoting women’s labor force participation, and stimulating employment opportunities in the care economy. (UNWomen, 2015).

Recognizing this transformative potential of access to quality childcare services, this project investigates the impact of an accessible and affordable model of home-based entrepreneurial childcare provision on low-income urban households. The participants of this study live in and around Dhaka, Bangladesh. Using a randomized controlled trial (RCT), we will evaluate the uptake and impact of accessible home-based childcare on child development outcomes, women’s economic activities, and their psychosocial wellbeing. In addition, we will qualitatively document the decision-making processes on both the supply and demand side of the home-based care model, to understand the priorities that shape how low-income urban households interact with available childcare services and how this implicates mothers’ labor market participation.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ahmed, Shaila et al. 2024. "Impact and process evaluation of BRAC’s Childcare Model in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. June 24.
Experimental Details


To create access to childcare services for low-income urban households, BRAC piloted a model of home-based care entrepreneurship that connects local care entrepreneurs with households in need of childcare. Their "home-based childcare model" is designed to be a low-cost solution for labor-based, low-income communities by systemizing informal childcare practices and improving service quality through capacity building and technical guidance in play-based pedagogy and entrepreneurship to the care providers. This project is designed to work with both existing care providers, to improve their quality of service with the primary objective of meeting children’s developmental needs, and new caregivers to add and further strengthen care-based elements that build on everyday functioning to ensure socio-emotional well-being. This will be referred to as a ‘Care Model’.

Drawing on the lessons learned from the interventions to organize entrepreneurs to improve quality of childcare while maintaining the informality and affordability, BRAC’s Urban Development Program (UDP) and BRAC Institute of Education and Development (BRAC IED) will create new entrepreneurs offering this serve. The participants who will be entrepreneurs, will receive training on play-based childcare services, mental health support for children, and entrepreneurship skills (similar to the support that existing entrepreneurs receive to improve the quality of services) from BRAC IED.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome of this experiment is to measure the impact of (the quality of) childcare on mothers.

For the RCT, there are different layers of outcome measures. For variations within treatment clusters, the main outcome measure will be the uptake of the childcare services by “info only”, “info + cash transfer” and “info + fees paid” arm. For this outcome, when comparing fees paid vs. cash transfer groups, the minimum detectable effect (MDE) is 8.8 percentage points assuming 30% uptake for one group and 90% power. If the comparison is made between fees paid (or cash transfer) with 4 observations per clusters from 150 clusters and the information only group (8 observations per cluster), the MDE of uptake comes to 7.7 percentage points. These impact estimates will be important to estimate market analysis such as – which type of mothers are mothers are more likely to avail the services under the three treatment conditions – as heterogeneity of impact on accessing services.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
The secondary outcome of this RCT is to generate formative evidence of the “enterprise economics” of home-based childcare for new entrepreneurs.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
BRAC UDP will identify 200 potential home-based daycare entrepreneurs and 16 target mothers for each provider.
150 entrepreneurs will receive play-based childcare and entrepreneurship training, forming the treatment group and the other 50 entrepreneurs will be the control group. Within the treatment group, mothers (potential clients) will be randomized into three arms -
T1: information-only,
T2: information+ cash transfer,
T3: information+childcare fees paid
to assess childcare impact on mothers' employment, mental health, and trust, with a focus on securing entrepreneurs' revenue. he study incorporates both experimental (randomized client support) and non-experimental (pre-post comparison) components, including a comparison of service quality between existing and new entrepreneurs.

Qualitative Research Design: The qualitative samples will consist of mothers (existing and potential childcare clients), existing and new childcare entrepreneurs, and BRAC staff. In-depth interviews with mothers (n=24), focus group discussions with mothers (n=3), in-depth interviews with childcare entrepreneurs (n=9) and key informant interviews (n=3) will be used alongside participant observation.

Childcare entrepreneurs will be sampled purposively from BRAC’s record of home-based childcare entrepreneurs.
Mothers will be identified using the census (to be carried out in November 2023), which will enable us to identify a sample with variation relating to current childcare practices and work situations. BRAC UDP support staff in each site will be identified for key informant interviews.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization at both clusters and mothers level will be done after baseline survey using stata codes
Randomization Unit
In the first level of randomisation, we will list the 200 clusters (consisting of at least one potential new entrepreneurs and 16 eligible mothers) and we will then randomly assign 150 cluster to the treatment group and 50 entrepreneurs to the control group. One entreprenuer will be trained in the 150 treatment clusters, and the mothers in the treatment group will be further subdivided into three groups.

Within the treatment group, there will be a second layer of randomization, 16 potential client mothers will be selected randomly from each entrepreneur’s clients and then divided randomly into 3 treatment arms. 8 mothers will receive only information, 4 mothers will receive information plus cash subsidy and 4 mothers will receive ‘scholarship’.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 clusters.
Sample size: planned number of observations
At least 200 clusters, 200 entrepreneurs, 3200 clients/mothers and their 3200 children. If we are able to create more than the targeted 200 clusters, we will still have 150 treatment clusters and the rest in control (i.e. potentially more than 50 control clusters).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The surveys will cover existing as well as potential entrepreneurs. While the sample of 100 existing entrepreneurs will be drawn from the ongoing projects by UDP, the potential new entrepreneurs will be selected as part of the RCT. Although the interventions will include 150 entrepreneurs, we anticipate identifying around 500 potential entrepreneurs who will be covered at baseline and two follow-up surveys. Further details are provided in the section on participant selection. The survey will include information on their employment and income, financial assets, intra-household relationships and aspirations.

The study will cover a sample of about 5,000 mothers, of whom 3,200 are part of the RCT. Survey module will cover time usage, employment, income, mental health, and stress as well as perceptions and norms on paid childcare services. While the mothers participating in the RCT will be surveyed at baseline, midline and endline, we will conduct two rounds of survey (baseline and endline) for the non-experimental sample.

Only those children who are part of the RCT will be included in quantitative survey at baseline and at endline. Since the children from the non-experimental sample categories are unlikely to observe any change in their childcare services, they will not be surveyed for impact evaluation. Despite the initial sampling of 3,200 children, the survey will be tailored to focus exclusively on the age group of 0-5Yrs, without the broader inclusion criterion of up to 8 years of age. The reason for this plan to survey younger children (0-5Yrs) is to limit the number of survey tools to be used as well as to cover children where we can expect larger effects of the interventions. Tools such as the Global Scale for Early Childhood Development (GSED), and the International Development Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) will be used to collect data at baseline and endline.

A sub-sample of study participant children will be included for tracking neurodevelopment with technical assistance from the ICDDR,B. Utilizing the Hyperfine scanner already installed at ICDDR,B, we will conduct neuroimaging on a subset of 300 children, drawn from both the control and treatment groups, at both baseline and endline assessments. The sub-sample can be drawn based on age groups (instead of a random sample of 2-5 years old) for whom the changes are most likely to be captured in the study. Measures of brain structure, childcare quality and stimulation and school readiness skills will be assessed to help demonstrate the importance and impact of (quality) childcare. With the main objective of measuring the second stage effect on children as an alternative measure (in addition to observational data collection on child development), the selection of sample from the treatment group may oversample T3 (info + fees paid) to have larger difference in service uptake between control and treatment at the first stage. The D&T resources will also be used to complement the qualitative anthropological research to identify at-home childcare practices and interactions that affect neurodevelopment across all the groups. Researchers from IED and BIGD will also participate in training to build their skills in interpretation of neuroimaging and gain hands-on experience by working with the collaborators.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The minimum detectable effect (MDE) for the labor force participation of mothers is 0.11 percentage points and for scale outcomes (e.g., average income) is 0.20 standard deviation when comparing the subsidy arm with the pure control. These MDEs for intention-to-treat (ITT) effects, and average treatment effects need to be 30% higher assuming 70% uptake. When comparing service uptake between the “information only” and “information + cash” arms, the MDE is much lower (i.e., better powered) since randomization is at the individual level.
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
Census questionnaire
Document Type
Document Description
Questionnaire used for finding eligible and interested mother and entrepreneurs that is used for creating clusters.
Census questionnaire

MD5: 331d751aadfe41063815c5d33b229abf

SHA1: a68a52565d4c95081f17080657d6dc28485cb73b

Uploaded At: June 04, 2024

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institutional Review Board (IRB) at BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (BRAC JPGSPH)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB-10 September'23-029