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Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge

Shaping cities for young children and their families

The Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge is a 3-year initiative hosted by the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and WRI India. The Challenge enables Indian cities to adopt an early childhood lens in designing neighbourhood-level improvements that promote the health and well-being of young children and their caregivers.

Photo credits - Bernard van Leer Foundation

Cohort announced! Congratulations to 25 cities selected for next stage.

Who Can Apply?

The Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge is an open call to all Indian city agencies/city municipalities committed to helping young children, and their caregivers, feel safe to explore, play, and engage with their natural and built environment.


Open to all Indian cities with population above 5 lakhs, Smart Cities, and capitals of States/Union Territories.


Agencies such as Development Authorities, Smart City SPVs, Metro Rail agencies, etc., that have substantial area under their jurisdiction, can also apply.

Why Cities Should Apply?

With over 37 million children under age 5 living in urban areas across India (Census 2011), an early childhood-centric approach to city planning, design, and management helps Indian cities achieve goals of economic growth, health, safety, and sustainability.

Adopting an early childhood lens can help city leaders, policy makers and urban practitioners envision safe, inclusive and resilient cities for all.

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Key Dates

Below are key dates for Phase 1 of the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge.

Any change will be communicated to cities.

February 20, 2020

Launch of Programme

February 7, 2021

Last Date to Apply

July 31, 2021

Final pitch & Jury

November 05, 2020

Open Call for Applications

February 18, 2021

Cohort Announcement