Skoll Foundation



Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Arbind Singh
Award Year: 2012
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Education and Economic Opportunity

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Nidan champions informal workers in India’s north and east, who proudly call it their own organization. The country’s informal sector makes up 93 percent of the workforce, creating 64 percent of GDP. Nidan organizes these workers, incubates sector-based collectives and partners with government to demonstrate that models of rights-based, inclusive growth can work. It advocates, too, from local governance to state and national level governance structures and policy institutions. Nidan means “solutions” in Hindi.


  • Nidan is an Indian-led organization that helps others see the invisible workforce that powers India’s economy. It believes solutions for the bottom billion in India can be found in the bottom billion themselves.
  • They touch 300,000 urban poor lives, helping get them rights on education, health, livelihood, financial security
  • Changed the lives of more than 100,000 women through involvement in SHG savings, home-based work, and cooperative initiatives
  • Thousands of children got an education 
  • Thousands of youth were trained through their skill training program
  • More than 20 social enterprise units gave employment to thousands of people
  • Nidan improves livelihoods and financial security for workers, access to education and national policy change.
  • It’s worker-led and controlled. Nidan organizes informal workers and incubates sector-based collectives. It builds institutions that communities own and govern, and empowers populations.
  • They often plan community events to raise awareness. In Oct. 2013, for example, Nidan celebrated International Day for the Girl Child by organizing activities for 850 people to “support the cause of quality education for girls and to address the important concern which hinders the growth of the girl child to become an active citizen.”
  • In Sept. 2013 they started a special advocacy program for street vendors. Learn more:
  • Increased presence outside of Bihar: In 2011, Nidan continued to ramp up operations in Delhi.
  • Increased focus on reform on social security schemes at the national level. Arbind was selected as chair of the national alliance in 2011.



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