Our response to Covid-19

On 27th March 2020, Olly Donnelly wrote the following statement about how we are responding to Covid-19.  

Since then, we have been talking to our colleagues in India and recording our conversations – you can listen to this audio blog here.

And Dr Natalie Schoon wrote this independent case study on our response to Covid-19 after joining one of our webinars: How to Respond to a Crisis – Shivia/Nirdhan’s approach

We all know too well that when a crisis hits, the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world suffer the most.  Where Shivia works in rural India, extended families live together, the public health system is sub-par and the immunity within communities to viruses such as Covid-19 is minimal.  Our absolute goal is to protect and assist our beneficiaries as best as we can during this unsettling and unprecedented time.

On 24th March, the Government of India announced a total lock-down for three weeks, until 14th April.  We had already instructed our staff not to go to the villages to prevent spreading Covid-19 to these vulnerable populations.  Even though our staff are in their homes, they are far from sitting idle waiting for this to blow over.   Instead, they are getting vital messages out to our beneficiaries including:

  • Covid Sensitisation : our staff are communicating with our farmers explaining to them about Covid 19 and answering questions they may have.  They are focusing on preventative methods for contagious diseases at a personal and family level.   They are also educating farmers that the rumours spreading on social media that the coronavirus is spread by chickens and livestock is simply not true.  In many parts of India, farmers are slaughtering their chickens as a result, their only form of livelihood.
  • Hygiene promotion : our staff are promoting washing hands and basic hygiene.  With the smart phones, they can do this pictorially.  This is much more powerful in rural communities than verbal instructions.
  • Social distancing : even though grandparents, parents and grandchildren typically live together, our staff are emphasising the need to respect the lock-down and not move around and run around between houses.
  • Our usual services : we will continue to support our farmers by proactively calling them, ensuring they are ok and continuing to answer their concerns relating to their chickens, agriculture and goats.

As the situation changes almost daily, we will continually review how we can best support our beneficiaries.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on Olly@shivia.com

Best wishes

Olly and the team

27th March 2020


Meet some of our farmers


I had no way of earning before Shivia introduced me to poultry farming. Now I am a full-time provider for my family and they are very proud of my achievement.…


I now have a regular income from selling eggs and some chickens. This opportunity has really changed our lives. I'm managing to buy medicines for my sick child. Thank you!…


"Before this programme we were struggling to cope and owed a lot to the village money-lender.  So much has changed for us now we are earning money from raising chickens."…


"Since joining this training programme I have noticed a great many changes…my costs are down, my yield is up and I am making a profit from farming at long last."…

  • I have witnessed first-hand how Shivia has not just changed but transformed people's lives with its livelihood programmes.
    Yasmine Hilton
    Chairman of Shivia
  • Alquity supports Shivia because they transform lives by giving people the opportunity to do things themselves and they do it with dignity.
    Suresh Mistry
    Director, Alquity
  • We were thrilled to see the impact of the work being done and to meet the team on the ground. It was truly humbling to see the difference being made to so many people by this group of highly motivated and capable people.
    Stewart Brown
    Director, Artemis Investment Management LLP
  • We are excited to support such a strategically-minded and professionally run charity that is making a real and sustainable difference. The focus and design of the livelihood programmes are simple and highly effective – and the results speak for themselves.
    Lars-eric Roden
    Director, The T&J Meyer Foundation
  • Farming is my only source of income... I registered with Shivia to learn how to reduce my farming expenses and produce better quality outputs. I am definitely seeing good results compared to previous years and have learned how to make bio-pesticides.
    AMS farmer
    Familia location West Bengal

some of our supporters