Nidan is involved into multifarious activities aimed at ensuring productive economic involvement and dignified life to the workers from unorganized sector including women population and adequate protection to their children for growth oriented childhood.
Nidan started its micro finance work in the year 1996 with the small initiative of loan support of Rs. 30,000 to three SHGs. Today Nidan has nurtured 4668 SHGs covering 58000 members with the reach among around 12448 borrowers in the 5 districts among which more than thousand SHGs are linked with bank to avail loan facility. At the end of financial year 2008 Nidan had total Rs. 39.11 million as corpus fund for lending.
Nidan has vision to be leading Micro Finance Institute (MFI) in Bihar with the capacity to lend range of financial services among two lakh families by the year 2012.
Solid Waste Management through Gainful Employment Opportunities among Deprived Youths
Nidan also supports operations of solid waste management through mobilization of Self Help Groups (SHGs) model among the rag-pickers and sweepers, who remain to be lowest in the social composition of deprives. Across the nation, including in Bihar their economic and societal status remains to be worst. This initiative has also helped to deal with domestic wastage, one of the worst outcomes of rapid urbanisation in Bihar in a environment friendly manner. Interventions like ‘Sanchay’ (Saving) and ‘Swachh Dhara’ (Clean stream) are turning to be exemplary model for cleanliness and empowerment.
Sanchay provides host of financial services among SHGs without any unnecessary hassle. Swachh Dhara is now a registered (under 25A Companies Registration Act) private limited unit- Nidan Swachha Dhara Private Limited (NSPL), as an independent collective enterprise owned and controlled by the rag pickers and sweepers. Primarily it aims to organize workers from the informal sector to avail better protection under the existing labour and other common laws. It also advocates for better policies and legislations in order to eliminate age old administrative and social empathy. Today members of Swachh Dhara have also ventured into production of Vermin Compost and taken non-farm activities like bamboo-work on commercial basis to support their earning. People who are linked with solid waste management work and their children also avail benefits of Nidan’s health and education related activities.
Poor and socially weaker sections of society are vulnerable towards dual kind of harassment- first, they are bound to face various kinds of exploitations within the existing societal power structure; second, they cannot access stipulated legal machinery for their protection and justice. In their day to day life they face hostile police personnel, anti social elements, exploitative employers. Again female section found to be worst affected. This all needs adequate and timely legal intervention in order to protect their right of dignified living. Realizing their social, economic and other practical problems within the existing administrative and legal system in India, Nidan has taken reasonability to organize regular legal aid services.
Nidan has started legal aid services based on the experience that legal intervention is one of the most important mean and sometimes only possible method for empowerment. Hence organization has started new endeavor called "Legal Clinic" which provides services to informal workers, women and children against all kind of social and economical exploitation.
Legal Clinic mandate:-
· Information dissemination and awareness generation regarding rights of unorganized workers.
· If required, it also helps them through, collective pressure, intervention through community and takes role of mediator and advocates for due assistance from police and judiciary.
Various informative booklets and handbooks about situation of unorganized sector workers, women and children have been published. These publication also details various legal and statutory provisions for the unorganized workers like street vendors, construction workers etc for the protection of labourers including female workers. Nidan also conducts and facilitates capacity building activities for unorganized sector labourers on issues related to their life and living.
In early days when Nidan started its work with micro credit activities, it faced severe setback with the death of its three SHG members. Sudden demise of these members brought unimaginable amount of pain and problem in their families. This incidence led to serious introspection within the organization resulting into beginning of social security programme in Nidan. Today social security programme is an integral component of Nidan’s work characterized with three basic components-
1. Micro Insurance 2. Health & 3. Child Care & Maternal Protection
Our insurance pursuance started with linkages with Life Insurance Corporation for Group Insurance Scheme and with National Insurance Company for Medi –claim insurance. In year 2002 Nidan conducted a need assessment study regarding insurance needs, findings of this study revealed the requirement of multiple insurance. This resulted into selection of a unified scheme which is a multiple benefits scheme of Vimo Sewa. Today more than 25 thousand people from 12 districts from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are enrolled under this insurance scheme.
Nidan believes in promotion of small, autonomous, democratically controlled business enterprises which can independently managed serving their common economic interests. Nidan plays role of facilitator in order to equip them with essential competencies and assistances. Promotion of collective enterprise work started in the year 2003 and today these organizations are involved in Financial, Trading, Services and Goods production activities.
Nidan Swachdhara Private Limited (registered under 25A Companies Registration Act) is a successful example of collective enterprise which works with rag pickers for their dignified employment.
Angana is another initiative, which as a brand promotes different products made by home-based workers at reasonable costs. With its initial success, in 2007 Angana was registered under Societies Registration Act as an independent organization. In year the 2008-2009 total sale value of Angana products was Rs. 5,82,913. Similarly, Nidan established a Kargha (Loom) unit with the investment of Rs. 3,55,000 in Rajeev Nagar, Patna.
Today under collective enterprise work several co-operative are also operating-
- Swarnjayanti Mahila Swablambi Samiti: Earlier people used to buy utensils from the wholesaler but now used to buy from the co-operative.
- Bindiya Mahila Swablambi Sahkari Samiti: This co-operative is managed by the roadside cosmetics sellers.
- Haryali Swablambi Samiti: Vegetable Vendors of Vaishali district of Bihar are members of this cooperative
- Aahar Swablambi Samiti: Rice sellers of Katihar are members
- Sangam Swablambi Samiti.: This is a co-operative of jute workers in Pranpur block of Katihar district.
- Madhu Swablambu Sahkari Samiti: Dairy co-operative in Katihar
- Laziz Swablamii Sahkari Samiti: Food products are being marketed in Muzaffarpur
- Niramaya Swablami Sahkari Samiti Ltd.: Co-operative of health workers in Muzaffarpur districts
- Kangan Swablami Sahkari Samiti Ltd.: Co-operative of Lah bangle wokers
- Consumer Co-operative Forum in Hajipur.
Child Care & Protection
Children particularly children of laboueres who are employed in the unorganized sector and other beneficiaries groups is the core focus of Nidan’s Child specific programme which includes advocacy as well as service dissemination components.
Bihar FORCES (Forum for Crèche & Child Care Services) is an advocacy network of 34 organizations– Trade unions, NGOs, Women's organizations, academic institutions, research and professional institutions advocating for the rights of children (0-6 years) whose mothers earn their living as informal workers. Bihar FORCES advocates for proper early childhood care and developmental support, including elementary education and child health care services as their right.
Bihar FORCES has identified six thrust areas of intervention- birth registration, immunization, pre primary education, maternity support and nutrition. As the component of national level network- National FORCES, Bihar chapter also organize various state level activities including workshops, training, demonstration etc.
Children of urban poor and the deprived are often excluded from the formal education system and their inclusion remains to be a challenge. Nidan with its education model- Nidan Education Project (NEP) is working to complement various schemes of universal elementary education in three wards of Patna in the age group of 3-14 years.
Nidan with the support from Save the Children launched a project for psychosocial support through Child friendly care and support protection centers operational at community level. These Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) provides a platform for identification, reporting and referral services to address the emerging protection issues for children. This also provides vital psychosocial support by giving children a safe space in which to play, to re-establish a sense of normalcy, supports their social integration with other children and adults, sharpens their life skills such as basic literacy and engages children in activities such as drawing, singing and drama which provide them means to express their emotions.
Nidan Education Project (NEP) initiated in the year 2006 with the objective of universal elementary education in the three wards of Patna for the children (3-14 years) deprived from formal education. Today these project areas have achieved cent percent retention rate.
Nidan School Model – steps
· Identification of catchments.
· In- house survey in catchments area.
· Management Information Systems (MIS) with UNIQUE CODE for every child.
· Recruitment and training of teachers (onsite and in-house).
· Capacity Building: In house teachers training.
· Enrollment and registration of every child.
· Community and parents participation in school day to day functioning.
· Curriculum and content development.
· Pedagogy and academic development.
· Regular and Monthly Assessment of child progress and learning levels.
· Resource centre functional in 3 wards and in process to establish a state level resource centre for quality education in Bihar.
A special study center of IGNOU is operational at Nidan office since January 2000 and efforts are being taken to establish a vocational center affiliated to National Open School.
Campaign & Advocacy
Rights of poor including rights of labourers from unorganized sector, women and children with rights based approach is being core concern of Nidan’s various developmental pursuance. Universal elementary education, unified policy for urban street vendors, implementation of national policy on unorganized labourers, effective enactment of various protective legislations and schemes are some of the core areas of Nidan’s campaign and advocacy work.
In coordination with SEWA, Gujarat, Nidan spearheaded campaign for Social Security legislation for unorganized workers at Bihar level involving various other Bihar based NGOs and groups.
Efforts are being carried to catalyze various substantial policy level changes through Government of Bihar. Continuous meeting with Minister and Secretary of Urban Development Department, Minister & Secretary of Labor Department and other concerned authorities of Government of Bihar are carried in order to advocate for policy intervention. Also, petitions have been submitted in Janta Darbar of Chief Minister. Actions like demonstration, dharna and questions in assembly are some of the adopted methods to sustain the pace of various campaign activities. Also, Nidan filed few petitions in Patna High Court which finally led Urban Development Department to start work for adoption of the National Policy for Urban Street Vendors and to draft a Bill for street vendors namely,BIHAR STATE STREET VENDORS (PROTECTION OF LIVELIHOOD & REGULATION OF TRADE) BILL, 2008. Also separate set of rules for construction workers have been already drafted and respective welfare board will be constituted; Nidan is a special invitee member in the board.
We continue to offer enabling inputs and support assistance through a number of initiatives- social security, micro-credit, Legal Clinic, Networking etc.
As advocacy efforts Nidan also promotes unionization and networking of street vendors, rag pickers and sweepers in form of organization to strengthen their capacity of collective action and negotiation. NASVI (National Association of Street Vendors of India) is Nidan initiated network of street vendors advocating rights of street vendors. Today more than 350 organizations are members of this network representing more than 2 lakh street vendors in the 20 states of India. As advocacy document a handbook on situation and rights of workers of the unorganized sector has been published. This book details various legal provisions for the workers like street vendors, construction workers etc and their situational analysis.
It only because of Nidan consistent advocacy efforts in November 2006-07 Phulwarisarif Nagar Panchayat announced to cancel contract system for urban street vendors. Later Patna Municipal Corporation took the similar decision. Also process of Identity card cum License for street vendors was initiated at Phulwarisarif in July 2008.
In the year 2008 Nidan organized a Street Vendor Adhikar Rath (Rights Campaign Vehicle) in the State of Bihar. The vehicle visited to the district of Jehanabad, Gaya, Nawada, Rajgir, Nalanda, Biharsharif, Seikhpura, Lakhisarai, Munger, Sultanganj, Bhagalpur, Nawgachia, Katihar, Purnea, Madhepura, Saharsa, Sonvarsha, Maheshkhut, Khagaria, Balia, Begusarai, Barauni, Samstipur, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Siwan, Chapra, Hajipur, Buxar and Aarah. This rally spread awareness among the common population and street vendors in particular on the issue of rights of unorganized workers.
A two-day convention (22-23 June 2007) relating to the rights of unorganized workers and street vendors was organized with the participation of 692 delegates. Sushil Modi, Deputy Chief Minister, inaugurated this convention where he promised to implement the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors soon. The setting up of Welfare Board for Construction Workers is another example of policy level support offered to the government by Nidan.
Bihar FORCES (Forum for Crèche & Child Care Services) is an advocacy network of 34 organizations advocating for the rights of children whose mothers are employed in unorganized sector in Bihar.
Under its holistic work approach, Nidan also works for promotion of positive health services through community level preventive as well as curative programme at various target areas. Special focus is being given to improve the conditions of the children working in the informal economy. Nidan is administrating a six bedded charitable hospital at Patna. Fore sighting HIV/AIDS as growing epidemic of India including in Bihar, Nidan has also initiated HIV/AIDS related activities. At present HIV/AIDS activities are being operational in two districts- Patna and Vaishali. Apart from more than 300 Nidan personnel, large number of community members and beneficiaries of Nidan’s various endevours have been given training on HIV/AIDS and its prevention. In Vashali district a status assessment study was conducted in coordination with WIZMIN, Kanpur based organization with the support of UNICEF. A HIV/AIDS resource centre has been also established at Nidan office to disseminate related information.