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Multidisciplinary Approach to Innovative Social Enterprises

About the Program

The Multidisciplinary Approach to Innovative Social Enterprises Program identifies and steers innovative social enterprises based on rigorous academic research. These enterprises seek to address issues that include, but are not limited to, health and healthcare delivery, education, women’s safety, and creation and enhancement of livelihood for those at the base of the pyramid. This project is a collaborative effort with The Tata Trusts.

The Mittal Institute’s focus on facilitation of rural livelihoods, sustainability, and livability in India is rooted in the following core objectives:

  • Catalyze current efforts initiated by the government, civil society organizations, academia, and select corporations for the economic empowerment of Indian masses. 
  • Provide mentorships, trainings, and opportunities for collaborative hands-on designing of prototypes to build capacity of potential entrepreneurs across India in multiple sectors.
  • Build on the existing knowledge and generate new research using scholarly materials, scientific data on best practices, and solutions for addressing systemic problems of India.
  • Provide policy guidelines to governing bodies to initiate appropriate changes in the identified areas.
  • Create a broad network of experts from India and the US, whose knowledge will complement each other and will serve as a resource for emerging social entrepreneurs supported by the Tata Trusts Incubators and Accelerators across India.

The Mittal Institute provides a platform approach that connects Problem IdentifiersExperts, and Entrepreneurs to collaborate on innovative social enterprises across sectors and address India’s most pressing challenges. Through its key projects that translate research into practice and policy, the Institute has worked toward creating and improving rural livelihoods, advancing education, bettering health outcomes and disseminating scientific research nationwide.

 

FACULTY / PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Current Projects

PROJECT PRAKASH

Since 2005, Project Prakash has worked at the very grassroots of India, connecting hundreds of villages to the most sophisticated eye treatment available and building awareness of treatable and preventable blindness. Project Prakash Charitable Trust (PPCT) provides sight treatment free-of-cost to children whose families cannot afford it or are unaware that the condition can be corrected.   

SOFT ROBOTICS TOOLKIT

Soft Robotics Toolkit is an initiative to provide hands-on skills and practical knowledge about robotics for students, parents, and educators using physical kits and an online platform. From the interaction with the physical kits, the students get to practice fabrication, electronics, and programming skills while making their own soft robots and experiencing design thinking. The students can also join the online platform to access digital tools to continue innovation on their own as well as become a part of a community interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

TASK-SHIFTING, TECHNOLOGY, AND TRAINING (3T) IN HEALTHCARE

Through a vast network of public and private partners in India, Project 3T works on multiple nodes to develop local capacity to build and sustain health data exchange. Over the last few years, the project has provided the evidence base for policymakers to design their own framework in a way that respects the rights of individuals and uses the most advanced technology to implement these plans.

FUEL-EFFICIENT COOKSTOVES

Over 789 million people in India — nearly 60 percent of the population — depend on inefficient stoves that release toxic pollutants into the air and cause premature deaths and illnesses. The Cool Mesh Berkeley-India Stove (CMBIS) cookstoves that this project has piloted in three villages in Karjat Taluka, Maharashtra, are designed to be time- and fuel-efficient, and reduce harmful emissions that negatively affect the environment and people.

DEFLUORIDATION OF WATER

The project works toward developing affordable technology to remove excess fluoride in drinking water for rural communities in India, where there is a dearth of access to even very basic resources, like proper nutrition, education, and clean drinking water. The team is investigating bauxite ore — the raw material for producing alumina and aluminum — as a potential sustainable fluoride removal method with lower material, energy, and carbon costs.

DESIGNING A SANITATION HUB

The project is attempting to re-imagine sanitation infrastructure in under-serviced areas in India from being merely a system of community restrooms to sanitation “hubs” with multi-functional infrastructural elements that cater to a wide range of community needs.

EMPOWER

The Empower project is developing and refining a digital platform capable of training front-line community health workers to identify and treat common mental health disorders in primary care rural settings in India. This digital platform enables non-specialist health workers to learn evidence-based brief psychological treatments for mental disorders. 

MAPPING COLOR IN HISTORY

Mapping Color in History (MCH) is a digital platform to compile and organize the newly generated information on pigments. By developing the theoretical and operational framework for conducting pigment analyses in low-resource environments within India, the project promises to build and support knowledge and capacity among local experts and institutions to enable conservation of India’s art.