By Anupam Bajracharya
Student – BBA
With the project theme of ‘CSEB Interlocking Bricks Impact Assessment’, two faculty members from CERAD team along with two undergraduate students visited different places in Province 1 & 2 for a week in April 2021. This project was under Buildup Nepal’s assessment of the impact their initiative had created both for the entrepreneurs and the community.
Buildup Nepal is a social business focused on empowering rural entrepreneurs and communities to build affordable homes and resilient incomes by providing machines that help entrepreneurs in producing innovative Interlocking Bricks (CSEB). This initiative has enabled entrepreneurs to build their villages by the utilization of local materials whilst providing them at a lower cost and with less CO2 emissions.
Visiting the different entrepreneurs from different backgrounds, we got to see first-hand the impact that an idea can create in society. There were stories of entrepreneurs who had come back after years of hard work abroad and invested that money on this venture through which they are making a living and at the same time providing employment opportunities to fellow Nepalis.
One insight gained was how lack of consistent work in the village areas was the main reason that youths made the decision to work in Gulf countries. Yet, with the employment provided by the rural entrepreneurs, some youths have been able to receive full time employment here. One such example was a young 19 year old in a place called Dumre in Udaypur district who was earning around NRs.1200 per day through working with CSEB bricks. Reading about how an idea can transform society is one thing but witnessing ground realities of people who have positively benefited from an idea really strikes deep in your heart on what the implementation of a good idea can do for society. If such ventures continue to prosper, this could contribute to long-term economic development in the villages of Nepal.
I was pleasantly surprised to know how technology has reached areas that seem remote and how it is adding value to people’s lives. One of the sites was in a place called Dudhauli in Sindhuli district. The area seemed to be remote yet when we interviewed the rural entrepreneur there, it was found that he had known about interlocking bricks and how they work through Youtube videos. Through research on the platform, that eventually led to getting the venture started.
This intertwined convergence of technology reaching areas that have vast potential of development along with increasing road connectivity made me realize that perhaps not all is doom and gloom in our country as it can sometimes be seen. Actually, it is the other way around. With proper infrastructure in place along with access to information that otherwise would not be possible to people, this could unleash motivated entrepreneurs who are more than willing to start ventures in their own areas. This trip definitely made me realize about the potential of growth in entrepreneurship we can expect in the coming days in the rural areas of Nepal.
I came upon this conclusion because of the will in entrepreneurs seen in this trip. Be it on the hill-top somewhere in Illam or deep within a village in Siraha, entrepreneurs have defied the different challenges and uncertainty they face to persevere and make their ventures a success. In the case of Nepal, they are the early ones adopting this innovative brick technology which is sure to make even more sense in the future as we move towards sustainability in society.
Overall, the rural entrepreneurs have their own set of challenges such as the ongoing pandemic, availability of certain raw materials, and logistics which are unique to their regions that are still in an early level of development. But the possibilities were clearly seen during the travels. It is a sapling waiting to grow into a tree and bear beautiful fruits creating a more equally distributed form of development for people all over Nepal.