Unconventional Learning

Shivia partners with TATA for senior leadership training sessions

In March 2021, Shivia was offered an exciting opportunity to collaborate with The Tata Group in India, through the Tata Management Training Centre in Pune, Maharashtra.

Ms. Khursheed N. Khurody, Chairman of Shivia Livelihoods Foundation (SLF), our Mumbai-based organisation, and Emmanuel David, Director at the Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC), arranged for Shivia and SLF to participate in one of their Unconventional Learning events for Emerging Leaders within Tata Consultancy Services. 

“When we met, I found your work and impact measurement quite unique. For that reason, we would love to host you and the other officers of Shivia for our session on Unconventional Learning on March 18th and March 19th and would like your participation in the same.”

Emmanuel David, Director, TMTC

About the Tata Management Training Centre

The Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC) is the learning arm of the Tata Group Human Resources – a highly regarded leadership development institution.

Founded in 1966 in Pune, India, the TMTC was the realisation of JRD Tata’s vision to foster an educational institution that would assist, cultivate and contribute to the development of professional management for the economic development of the country.

The TMTC focusses on Transformational Learning. It offers contemporary, innovative, engaging and outcome-led learning, working only with global ‘best-in-class’ delivery partners, through collaborations with renowned faculty, institutions and experts from around the world.

Unconventional Learning

After receiving the invitation to partner with the TMTC for this event, Emmanuel David explained more about what is meant by Unconventional Learning.

“The TMTC is the learning centre for the Tata Group of Companies. In this role, we conduct leadership development experiences for business leaders in Tata Companies. During the program, participants receive inputs on business subjects such as finance, marketing, and leadership development.

An important element of learning is listening to the experiences of other organisations from different environments.  We call it “Unconventional Learning” because participants are immersed in an environment that is very different to their own, but there are important lessons to be gained on leadership and management by doing this.

We have delivered more than 30 of these sessions, listening to and learning from the experience of many different organisations such as Chennai Metro, Crime Branch, Trivandrum Office, Airport Authority of India, Saha Pedia and NIAS. Recently, Business World Magazine feted us as The Best Experiential Learning Program.”

Shivia’s presentation

Emmanuel David’s approach to learning is through a combination of Stimulus, Reflection and Response.

Shivia and SLF’s role was to be the Stimulus, whereby the participants would get to know our story – who we are, what we do and what the impact of our work is.  After a period of Reflection overnight, the participants would be meeting the following day in small groups to discuss Shivia’s experience and present their learnings and take-aways – the Response.

Day 1: Stimulus and Reflection

Shivia’s presentation to the 50+ participants included –

  • What is Shivia?
  • Founder’s ethos and motivation
  • Shivia’s operations in India
  • Unique approach of Shivia
  • Issues and challenges faced
  • Impact of our work including video testimonials
  • Q&A
Day 2: Response

Participants went into ten breakout groups for further discussions on their take-aways from our presentation on Day One. We also offered five questions, based on challenges and experiences faced by Shivia, for the groups to discuss.

  • How can Shivia and SLF make better use of digital technology in the austere, low-resource environment of the rural villages in West Bengal and the rest of India?
  • How can Shivia and SLF attract and retain talent when our locally employed field staff are being tempted to work for e-commerce companies which are aggressively penetrating the rural areas and can pay higher salaries?
  • Approaches to poverty alleviation: cash transfer or Shivia / SLF Poultry Toolkits? Discuss.
  • How can Shivia and SLF leverage technology to improve operations, impact, fundraising and communications?
  • Non-profit organisations should learn to operate like businesses but what can corporates learn from non-profits?


Emmanuel David, Director TMTC, Group Human Resources

“There is always an air of being tentative for every Unconventional Learning we curate, especially as this approach was not done before. Shivia is a powerful example of impacting lives and the manner in which each of you prepared and shared of yourselves was touching. Thank you for the partnering. I am thinking of various of other possibilities to choreograph this to other audiences.  I believe there are rich learnings which with quiet reflection people may find that ‘ ah-ha ‘ ray of light. I am equally keen on keeping in touch and working for common good. With warm regards to each one of you.”

Chandna Sethi, Head-Marketing & Business Development, The Tata Management Training Centre

“May I take this opportunity to express how much I appreciated the session conducted by Shivia team, and the thought-provoking, inspirational stories you all shared. One of the many learnings that will stay with me is your own story Olly. It was motivating to know that you not only had the courage to pursue your dream way back when you started, but that you took the feedback you received to heart and set about acquiring the skills and knowledge that you realised you would need on your chosen path. For that important insight (which I was glad to share with my children as well), and for so much else that I think there is to learn from each of your experiences, thank you once again. Grateful to you all for generously sharing your time and perspectives. Warm regards.

Olly Belcher, Founder and CEO, Shivia, UK

“It was possibly the first time we have ever shared our personal journeys and stories of Shivia with an organisation wishing to learn from them.  I was blown away by the response to our “sharing” and also by the level of insight the participants gained so quickly by listening to our presentations.  On Day 2, our TMTC colleagues offered some fantastic ideas and feedback which we would love to incorporate into our operations – we always strive to improve and are delighted to be at the receiving end of such talent”. 

Khursheed N. Khurody, Chairman, Shivia Livelihoods Foundation, India

“The role of the social sector focussing on livelihoods adds a useful and insightful dimension to ‘Unconventional Learning’. The session proved this. The two-way exchange also brought fresh ideas by uncovering and then discovering new paths of progress and growth. The interaction between the TMTC and Shivia and SLF, can only be the first step towards those transformations in society, so badly needed. Never underestimate ‘The power of the narrative’!”

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  • It has been a pleasure to help shine a light on the inspirational work that Shivia does. The team’s passion and determination to make a lasting difference to families living in poverty – and doing so respectfully – is clear in every interaction. By contributing support for their marketing communications and brand identity evolution, we hope that they will be able to empower even more people in the future.
    Rebecca Lovelock
    Founder at Bretom
  • Shivia’s work is very impressive - how it is carried out and who the people are working in the locations.  It is a very healthy and together team which is being very effective.
    Jane Meyer
    Trustee of T&J Meyer Family Foundation
  • "The work Shivia does is simple and yet so life-changing, we’re thrilled to have been part of the charity’s growth story and hope to partner with them for many years to come.”
    Marisa Charosky
    Coordinator - Artemis Charitable Foundation
  • Agri-management Services has the capacity to deliver lasting change for our farmers. I have always felt that the farmers feed our nation while they can hardly afford to feed themselves. What an irony. So if my team and I are able to help farmers earn a sustainable income through agriculture, there’s nothing better than this.

    Joe Rao
    Lead Consultant for Shivia
  • I have witnessed first-hand how Shivia has not just changed but transformed people's lives with its livelihood programmes.
    Yasmine Hilton
    Chairman - 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