There are 91 million people living in West Bengal, India, and approximately 19 million of them live below the poverty line, earning around £1.36 a day. Many are living in rural areas; a lack of jobs compels men to migrate to the cities, while women and children remain with little or no opportunity to earn money.
Shivia is helping to develop sustainable livelihoods via a range of cost-effective programmes, and it launched its first livelihood programme in 2011.
Poultry Development Services provides a toolkit for people, mostly women, to earn money from raising chickens and selling the produce.
Poultry was chosen because raising ducks and chickens can be done from home with very little land. There is large market demand for the produce, and anything remaining can be consumed by the family.
Later on, 2014 saw the launch of Agri-Management Services, which provides training and advice to those which have access to a small but unproductive plot of land. The programme incorporates soil testing, advice on crop selection, training on making inexpensive bio-fertilisers and pesticides, and access to wholesale seed suppliers.
And finally in 2015 the first pilot for a goat farming programme took place. Goats are a highly valued commodity in West Bengal, and offer an opportunity for families with no access to farm land.
The programmes have made a real difference. Despite the charity having an overall income of just £250,000, it has worked in over 1,000 villages, distributed 44,800 poultry toolkits to 10,465 families, and registered 1,128 farmers on the agri-management programme, increasing their yields by 30-40 per cent. Plans are in place to scale the goat farming programme to 200 more families.
CC reg no: 1126444