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How We Work

We make data-driven decisions.

Office staff looking at data

© Louis Kravitz

With our homegrown electronic health record (EHR) system, we track the needs and care of each beneficiary so no one falls through the cracks. Using tablets, our medical providers and community health workers can access and update beneficiaries’ records whether in the clinic or in the field. The system also visualizes data so that beneficiaries can easily see their progress.

Our EHR helps community health workers provide the right care at the right time. The system prompts community health workers to ask questions and address topics that are relevant to each beneficiary. Based on beneficiary data, the EHR also suggests appropriate follow-up services, such as referrals.

We use aggregate EHR data to continuously monitor and evaluate our programs. Our team meets monthly and reviews data for all of our key indicators, such as number of immunizations completed and number of severely malnourished children. We identify which parts of our programs are working and we adapt those that have room for improvement.

To help other NGOs maximize their impact, we have made our open-source EHR software publicly available.

We take a public health approach.

We focus on preventing illness before it starts. That’s why services that keep people healthy, like food assistance and immunizations, are so integral to our programs.

We prioritize catching illness early and providing timely, high-quality treatment. For this reason, our medical staff and community health workers regularly connect with the women and children we serve. If a mother-to-be has high blood pressure or a child isn’t growing normally, we intervene before the issue becomes serious.

Our community health workers provide personalized health education. Leveraging community health workers — trusted members of the community who promote public health on the ground — is a tried-and-true public health practice. Our community health workers deeply understand the community and have training in health education and providing basic care. This combination makes them uniquely positioned to impart accurate, individualized health information that our beneficiaries trust and use.

We partner with the community.

three home visit workers

© Louis Kravitz

Our approach to program development is bottom up, not top down. A 2005 community needs assessment revealed the devastating state of maternal and child health in Fakir Bagan. These findings drove the development of our objectives and programs.

We involve trusted, knowledgeable members of the community. From the outset, we hired people who were respected and well-known in Fakir Bagan. Their good will enabled us to build trusted relationships with beneficiaries and with local champions and partners. We are proud to have sustained and grown that good will over time.

We iterate based on community input. In 2016–17, our team conducted focus groups to understand the needs of adolescent girls in Fakir Bagan. The girls who participated told the other young women in their lives about the unique opportunity they had to talk openly with trusted “didis” (older sisters) about their health and other sensitive topics. Over the next week, the girls’ friends, sisters, and cousins showed up on the Calcutta Kids doorstep, hungry to have these conversations, too. The research itself became an intervention, and informed the development of our adolescent girls program.

We act on our values.


© Louis Kravitz

  • We treat everyone with kindness, respect, and equality. We don’t tolerate unfair treatment based on gender, caste, religion, or ethnicity.
  • We prize honesty. The trust we’ve built with our beneficiaries and partners is priceless and makes our work possible.
  • We embrace a “no hobe na” mentality. “No hobe na” is a Bengali phrase that roughly translates to “try even in the face of great obstacles.”
  • We lead from wherever we are. Each Calcutta Kids employee has the power to think creatively, identify solutions, and effect change within the organization.