Shivia has a dual approach to poverty alleviation. We work through our own operations in West Bengal as well as through two carefully selected local partners; BASE in West Nepal and SAATH in Gujarat.
Our current model is based on donations to Shivia UK from individuals, foundations, trusts and corporates. We then make interest-free loans to our local partners for a set period of time and transfer necessary funds to our Indian entity (Nirdhan) to implement operations. We strongly believe that seed microfinance and livelihood creation - working with the poorest of the poor – cannot generate returns to shareholders. Even though we believe in financial inclusion, commercial models based on growth rates and financials lack the “customer care” required to lift people out of poverty: there is a lack of training and a culture of consumption and multiple borrowing whereby the loans are not secured by any new economic activity. Our model is focused on social impact and helping borrowers start up microenterprises and livelihood opportunities which are market-driven, profitable, sustainable and appropriate to local communities.
Going forwards, we plan to set up a social enterprise in India to move away from being a purely donor-reliant organisation. Our plan is that the surplus generated will finance the livelihood model above and beyond what income it can generate from sale of toolkits. We believe that starting a social enterprise will enable us to plan better and build a sustainable, largely self-financing organisation which is needs-driven. We will continue to raise donations, however, for our operations in the meantime as well as our core funding costs in the UK which cannot be covered by the social enterprise in India.
For more information on our local partner model and our own operations (the livelihood model and our social enterprise) – please read under the relevant sections on our website.