Project information

Shivia Microfinance and Livelihood Development

The aim of Shivia is to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty, using microfinance and livelihood development models as effective tools. We aim to provide skills-based training for productive enterprise. Shivia works in India and Nepal with dedicated teams in the UK and India.

It is continous

Charity information: Shivia

Shivia logo
  • Need


    According to World Bank’s 2005 report, over 40% of India’s total population falls under the “$1.25 purchasing power parity (PPP) per day” poverty line. Clearly, the scale of Indian poverty is vast, and the needs to alleviate the situation equally so. Shivia is dedicated to alleviating poverty through provision of goods and/or services which can enable individuals in India and Nepal to help themselves out of poverty. We do not believe in handouts but in giving people toolkits and skills instead


    Our ultimate focus is on teaching skills so individuals can engage in productive enterprise. We introduced our “livelihood model” in May 2011 whereby we provide assets as well as loans for specific enterprises to ensure that our clients are engaged in productive, market-driven enterprises. The provision of assets will ensure that borrowers do not spend their loans on other consumption purposes or indeed on enterprises which have very small margins and are production rather than demand driven.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To raise funds to support livelihood development


    » Fund-raise in the UK (foundations, individuals and companies) and next year we plan to fund-raise locally in India too.

    What success will look like

    To raise enough funds to cover the cost of our core team and operations for a set time period so that we plan effectively rather than rely on ad hoc donations

    Aim 2

    To provide financial, management and social impact controls


    » We have in place good financial and management controls with a hands on approach to ensure borrowers repay loans and use them for intended purposes.
    » We implement social impact assessments on an annual basis for all borrowers to measure and track the soical impact of our work

    What success will look like

    To demonstrate that loans are repaid, that the teams understand our clients and that annual social impact results show key indicators such as household income increasing.

    Aim 3

    To get the right people in the right jobs in India and the UK to be successful and sustainable


    » Employ people who are deciskilled yet passionate about what we do. We have to pay salaries to attract professionals yet create the right work ethos

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated in the long-term by the same core team remaining true to our mission of poverty alleviation with other professionals applying to be part of Shivia

  • Impact


    The key long term indiciators will be increased household income, children in school and access to medical services. We also measure levels of empowerment amongst our clients. Success will be demonstrated through our repeat annual social impact assessments comparing data sets for individual borrowers, combined with anecdotes from borrwowers.


    In the UK, lack of funding for our work is also a risk for charities - we try to get donors to committ for sustained periods and become "partners" rather than donors. We need more funds for core costs to get good people in place - as high salaries can't be the incentive we try to create a good and exciting team spirit. In microfinance gnerally, commercial players have given the industry a bad name - we have emphasised our aim of poverty alleviation rather than making money out of the poor


    We report to donors to fulfil their criteria through a mix of regular reports, newsletters, the annual reports, and informal updates. We also encourage larger donors to come and visit the work to bring it to life and see where their money has gone. We are keen to introduce standardised reporting.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £57,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 CEO To pay the UK CEO
      £10,000 PA To pay the UK part-time PA
      £17,000 Running costs To keep the ship afloat
  • Background


    We fund-raise primarly in the UK and have our operations in India and Nepal. We work in the poor rural areas of West Bengal, India (our own operations), 30 miles north of Kolkata; the urban slums of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India (through our local partner) and in the rural areas of Western Nepal (through our local partner). In Nepal, our work is in the Maoist heartland and is an area affected by not only poverty but Nepal's ten year conflict.


    In India, we target those living near or below the World Bank's poverty line of USD 1.25 per day. They are a mix of rural dwellers who are often far from any proper services and slum dwellers who have left their families back hom in search of work and income to provide remittance. In Nepal, most our borrowers are below the poverty line and also from the lowest castes and therefore socially excluded in life. They have been affected by Nepal's conflict and many lost their husbands during it.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Shivia is best placed to carry out this project becuase we have a committed and passionate team in both the UK and India. We have stayed true to our mission of poverty alleviation when others in microfinance got distracted by the carrot of profits and since we are small and flexible - not bogged down by bureaucracy and red tape - we have been able to innovate to address the downfalls of the industry

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Olly Donnelly

    Chief Executive. Olly set up Shivia in 2007 due to her long-standing commitment to the region and a passion to help communities she had lived with

    Vasant Subramanyan

    Chairman, Shivia India. Vasant is a serial entrepreneur and drives Shivia forward in India. He is dedicated to give back to his country

    Brooke Johns

    CFO, Shivia. Brooke is a retired accountant who works tireless 7 days per week on Shivia, pro-bono. He believes that our livelihood model WILL work

    Dilli Chaudhary

    President, BASE, Shivia's partner in Nepal. BASE and Shivia have a true partnership with aligned goals and work closely together to achieve them


One life changing loan in India and Nepal