About Rural Entrepreneurship Division (RED)
Rural Entrepreneurship Division was first conceived with idea of converting the rural vicinity of Pilani into an advantage and using entrepreneurship as an effective tool to empower the village folk. The essence of RED has always been to ideate on self sustaining ventures which when implemented in adjoining villages will potentially generate both income and employment. RED then aims to identify commonly available resources which can be used to bring out products that are economical and competitive in the market. Contrary to popular notion however, it is not the students who are the entrepreneurs here but the rural workers for whom these projects have been initiated.
Over the years RED has assisted the setting-up of multiple enterprises which have provided a sustainable source of income to villagers in surrounding areas and have helped in giving the village community in Pilani a facelift.
Recently, a survey was conducted in Raila, a village near Pilani, with the aim of collecting data which could be beneficial for the villagers in setting up a small scale revenue generating enterprise. The purpose of the survey was to discover any skill which could be utilized to set up a small scale business leading to an additional source of income. The survey also brought to light the broad minded approach of the villagers in setting up new small scale industries.
The information gathered through this survey was used to formulate Project Raila wherein people from the village, bake a Rajasthani snack (mongouri) which can later be sold in the Pilani market and inside the BITS campus.
Literally meaning ‘capable’, Saksham redirects all of the paper waste generated on campus and is fed sustainably to the framework. This includes the process of segregation where the reusable wastes are ameliorated and bounded into notebooks. The same are sold throughout the campus. The capital generated goes to these rural areas and a percentage is circled back into the enterprise. The other half of the waste is diverted to recycling units in return for recycled paper which are again bounded and sold.
The rural workers are from two different groups, the Natbasti SHG and the Baas Gaon SHG. These women assemble in their community centers after work hours, making ready to sell stapled notebooks.
Community-led Total Sanitation
Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) focuses on igniting a change in sanitation behavior rather than constructing toilets. It does this through a process of social awakening that is stimulated by facilitators from within or outside the community and entails the facilitation of a community's analysis of their sanitation profile, as well as their practices of defecation.
Under this project, participatory rural appraisal methods were used to enable local communities to collectively internalize the impact of open defecation on public health and on the entire neighborhood environment, leading to collective action to become open defecation free.
Although the project's goal in pursuing CLTS was to achieve an open defecation free status in nearby villages, the real and long term objective behind it was to identify potential leaders through CEL’s CLTS initiative. It additionally helped identify enterprising individuals who were willing to work for rural entrepreneurial ventures in the future.