Lively Minds, in partnership with the Institute for Fiscal Studies and The Education Commission, is one of ten finalists out of 627 proposals for the LEGO foundation’s ‘Build a World of Play’ challenge. The LEGO foundation’s initiative will award approximately 117 million USD to five organisations focused on solving the early childhood development crisis.

Lively Minds, a UK charity, runs a scalable model where illiterate parents in deprived rural communities are trained to run free educational Play Schemes in Ghana and Uganda. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found in its baseline study on over 2,500 parents in rural Ghana that only 13% of parents had conducted any form of play or stimulating activity with their child in the past three days, and only one in three of 2,500 pre-schoolers surveyed could count three counters.

IFS’s Randomised Control Trial between 2017–2018, however, found that the Lively Minds programme significantly improves children’s cognitive skills by the equivalent of an extra year in school, enhances social skills and reduces malnutrition by 20%.

Commenting on the nomination, IFS Deputy Research Director and University of Manchester’s Sonya Krutikova said that "It is an honour to have such strong acknowledgement of the potential of our team to take the Lively Minds program to scale, as well as of the work that we have already done to prove that it is effective and build evidence generation into the heart of the ongoing scaling process.”

“Lively Minds’ commitment to being guided by rigorous evidence in the development of their program and scaling strategy sets a great example for the wider community of stakeholders engaged in ECCE policy and implementation. I look forward to continuing our long-standing collaboration and realising the potential of our work to transform approaches among global practitioners, policy-makers and researchers.”