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I saw an Associated Press blurb on Monday that piqued my interest. Amidst the varying news reports (mentioned by Brooke here) that climate change and drought are raising the world’s food prices, and the others pointing to rising poverty and hunger rates in the United States, the National Intelligence Council says that world poverty rates could be reduced by half by 2030.
The AP article was interesting to me on a couple of levels. First, the NIC pointed to a rising middle class in the growing economies in India, Vietnam and Indonesia as the driving force behind the poverty reduction; and, second because 2030 is less than two decades from now, which doesn’t really seem all that far off.
But can we, or better, should we, wait until 2030 to see those numbers drop that dramatically? I don’t think so. Sure the article is great news, and, yes, Heifer already works in both India and Vietnam, helping turn small farmers into small businessmen and women. Plus the article says that poverty reduction in these economies will continue despite economic upheaval, too. Even better!
So if what Christopher Kojm said on Saturday is right, that, “several hundred million people, armed with the resources and education will produce new technology to meet demands for food, water and energy,” don’t you think we can help them along?
I do. Heifer is already working to help create this burgeoning population of people. And we’re working harder and faster than ever before in areas that need it most—including the United States. Why don’t you help us?
On his first day in Nepal, Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari found himself among a group of withdrawn yet excited women in an unused classroom in the village of Kabilash in Chitwan district, a jostling 45-minute drive uphill on a dirt track that was patched up from recent landslides especially for his visit. The ethnic tribal women spoke of the challenges of and their aspirations for Heifer’s signature project, of which they were going to be a part. This was a first for Ferrari. Having traveled through Nepal in February 2011 and having heard about the country’s achievements in implementing transformational projects ever since he joined Heifer, Ferrari was more accustomed to strong women displaying confidence. “It validated the time and money we put into trainings to build the social capital to strengthen and transform women,” said Ferrari.
The women in Kabilash are part of a groundbreaking effort in Nepal that will scale up Heifer’s work to end poverty and hunger by increasing goat and milk production by helping women farmers increase production and enabling them to take part in the value chain through cooperatives formed and led by women. The overarching goal of the project, reducing importation of live goats and milk, will increase income for smallholder farmers through increased production and participation in the value chain, which will ensure that they get a fair share of the profits.
Heifer’s plan in this beautiful but resource-poor community is to establish sustainable partnerships with the local government, which is a co-funder of the project. “Our five-year plan consists of improving livestock and agriculture to help the people of this village escape poverty,” said Village Development Committee Secretary Pradhumna Khadka. “So when Heifer came to me with an opportunity to partner, I accepted it without any reservations.”
This is a partnership that works for all. Because after Heifer completes its work in Kabilash, it can be assured that the impacts will be exponential. “By this time, Heifer will have strengthened the farmers, the cooperative they form, and the agents of development, the government organizations, who are there to stay,” said Parbati Rawal, executive director of SRAM, a Heifer local partner NGO that will implement the project in Kabilash.
Heifer Nepal is geared up to implement similar projects in 28 districts of Nepal in the next five—an ambitious plan that has already been able to seek support in forms of resource leverage and collaborative partnerships from the national and local government and other development agencies.
“In the last six months, the biggest change has been that from a thatched house. I have been able to build a concrete house.” —Rukkhi Devi
Life is getting better for Rukkhi Devi. She looks at the two goats she received from Heifer India. These now have four kids. The two to be passed on are ready for the big ceremony. The goats changed her life. She got three liters of milk every day: she kept one for her family’s consumption and sold the rest at about $1 per liter to the local merchant. The family has sold two bucks for 5,000 Rupees (about US $ 100) this month. About 10 months ago, they sold a male kid male for $40. The family has earned a total of $140 that has increased their family income.
But in order to get this result, Rukkhi had to learn how to keep her livestock. She learned the benefits of keeping the goats in a shed so the hot summer sun would not burn their skin. She learned how to stall-feed them too. The fodder seeds Heifer provided also helped.
Rukkhi is also seeing the benefits of the vegetable seeds she received. Now the family has eaten green vegetables every day for the last three months. These positive results encouraged them to plant eight more trees this year.
The highlight of the project were the three import trainings Rukkhi received:
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. In Asia/South Pacific, our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. You can read the first story about Rukkhi Devi and her family here.
While her days as the U.S. Secretary of State are drawing to a close, Hillary Clinton used an opportunity last week to again call attention to the plight women around the world.
Clinton made similar remarks in an interview with World Ark magazine, which we published in our Holiday issue. Long a champion for women, Clinton acknowledged both in her speech last Thursday and in the interview with Heifer, that there are still great strides to be made before women and girls are seen as equals to men.
“As the mother of a daughter, and as someone who believes strongly in the right of every person, male and female, to have the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential,” Clinton said, “it pains me so greatly when I travel to places around the world and am received almost as an exception to the rule, where the male leaders meet with me because I am the secretary of state of the United States, overlooking the fact that I also happen to be a woman.”
“We are on the right side of history in this struggle, but there will be many sacrifices and losses until we finally reach a point where daughters are valued as sons, where girls as educated as boys, where women are encouraged and permitted to make their contributions to their families, to their societies just as the men are,” she said.
The speech followed Clinton’s acceptance of a humanitarian award given by Concern Worldwide, an anti-poverty organization.
I have to admit, I was skeptical. When I wrote and blogged about the second of the two stories on Ryan Bell, I fully expected it to take much longer before he reached his goal of raising enough money for a $25,000 Gift of Transformation.
But this remarkable young man proved me wrong. Again. Ryan reached his goal lofty goal late last week, and his Team Heifer page continues to bring in money. I’m truly grateful to have been able to tell his story; to have gotten to know Ryan and his family.
But the best part of all of this? Ryan isn’t done. He’s not satisfied with reaching his goal years before he expected to. When I contacted Ryan’s mom, Laura, last week, she was going to text him at school to tell him the news. He was thrilled, she said. Their conversation went a little like this:
Laura: “It made his day! So, that afternoon we looked up the new total and I said, ‘You know, at this rate you might be able to add a camel to your goal.’ You know my son by now… He said, ‘Mom, I think we should add an Ark!’”
Right now he’s more than half-way to reaching his NEW goal of adding $5,000 more to his remarkable total. If you want to help Ryan, you can go to his Team Heifer page and donate.
The horrifying story of a young woman who died after being brutally gang raped in New Delhi is putting inequality in India in the international spotlight. The murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey is spawning widespread protests and a push for major change to the chauvinism and oppression Indian women face.
The need for change became even clearer this week, as political and spiritual leaders continued to openly blame women for inviting assault by being out in public after dark or wearing skirts. And on Wednesday, a lawyer for three of the five men accused of raping and torturing Jyoti Pandey said Pandey and her companion were solely responsible because they were out together after dark, but were not married. Wow.
The moral argument for addressing gender inequality in India is clear. And surprisingly, the economic argument is clear, as well. A survey of 2,500 women in several Indian cities revealed that nearly 82 percent of the women are leaving work earlier since the infamous Dec. 16 attack to avoid being away from home after sunset. The survey indicates that one in three women in Delhi reduced their work hours or quit their jobs altogether to avoid making themselves vulnerable to attacks. This drop in productivity will only add to India’s poverty.
India is one of the world’s poorest countries when measured by per-capita income, and the country’s failure to invite women into the workplace and support them there is a major factor. Only 35 percent of Indian women work. Just think of the potential forfeited when millions of women opt out of the workplace.
Today is World Malaria Day, which might have slipped your mind. That’s understandable. The United States eradicated malaria in 1951, and unless you’ve done much traveling it’s probably never topped your list of things to worry about. But for half the world’s population, the 3.3 billion people threatened by the deadly mosquito-borne illness every day, malaria isn’t so easy to forget.
Malaria symptoms include fever, headache, chills, vomiting, anemia and respiratory distress. Children infected with the disease are extremely vulnerable because they haven’t had time to develop any level of immunity.
Malaria is a mean disease that preys on the poor and the innocent. In 2010, 90 percent of all malaria deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, the region of our planet that’s home to the highest proportion of undernourished people. Poor people with limited resources and limited access to health care often can’t afford housing with screened windows and doors to protect them from infected mosquitoes. And once infected, people suffering from malaria lose work days and the paychecks that go along with them, deepening their poverty. This is a handicap faced by countless Heifer project participants who can find themselves incapacitated by malaria multiple times each year.
Most deaths from malaria claim children under the age of 5. That means that every single minute of the day, a child dies of malaria. Pregnant women also face heightened risk.These numbers will knock the breath out of you, but luckily they’re better than they used to be. Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2000. And with continued use of mosquito nets and insecticides, the hope is that the disease will continue to loosen its grasp.
The theme for World Malaria Day 2013 is “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.” The disease still kills 660,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. But not everyone agrees on the numbers, and in fact, the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation puts the death toll at 1.2 million per year. I know that number will be stuck in my head for a while.
Happily, we know that bed nets, insecticides and improved housing can slow or stop the spread of malaria. We also know how to treat it. It’s just a question of resources. If, after reading this, you’re having a hard time getting malaria off your mind, visit the WHO’s World Malaria Day 2013 website to learn more.
“Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time. This year’s International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family. It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends – and what we can do to strengthen families in response.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for 2013
When Heifer International measures the impact of its projects and programs, it doesn’t just count individuals. Gender and Family Focus is one of Heifer’s Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, and the family unit is central to our work. In fact, we count on strong family bonds and the cooperation that comes with them. Family members are invested in each others’ success, even when they know the fruits of that success won’t be reaped until they’re gone.
“I have seen whatever I would like to see in my life, I don’t need anything more for me. Everything is for my grandchildren,” explained Tsovinar Davtyan, 67, a grandmother of four in the Armenian village of Tekhenik. She cares for her family’s cows because she knows the benefits will last for generations.
May 15 is the United Nations International Day of Families, and this year’s focus is on fostering inter-generational solidarity. That’s a challenge for families in the Philippines, Bolivia and other places where job opportunities are few so young people set off to find opportunities elsewhere. This is where Heifer steps in, helping to build agricultural opportunities locally to keep families intact.
Click here to support a family in need through Heifer International.
Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. This week, we want to present you with the Live Below the Line challenge. Join others on World Hunger Day and support the campaign that fights poverty through the movement of enthusiastic people.
The Global Poverty Project initiated the campaign to educate and mobilize mission-minded people in the fight against hunger and poverty.
About 1.4 billion people worldwide live below the poverty line every day. Heifer International helps families and communities who live in extreme poverty.
Our long-term solutions distinguish Heifer from emergency relief aid organizations. We provide livestock along with training and education so people can lift themselves out of poverty and lead sustainable lives.
Your goal is to experience a week in the lives of the world’s pooerest people. In the U.S., living below the poverty line for five days means spending only $1.50 a day on food and drink.
If you’ve browsed Heifer’s blog for long at all, you’ve already met Sita Poudel, who was one of the original goat project participants from Heifer Nepal in 1993, and has been working with the organization ever since.
Heifer staff members Vicki Clarke and Cathy Sanders talk about meeting Poudel for the first time during a visit to Nepal earlier this year.
Poudel started her own nongovernmental organization, the Women’s Group Coordination Committee in Chitwan, Nepal, which works with nearly 500 women’s groups in the country. Her warm heart and perseverance show how far two goats and a passion for helping others can take you.
Join Sita Poudel and Heifer in helping lift the women of Nepal to self-reliance.
We’ve received more than $1 million from generous Heifer donors and a group of local donors was so deeply moved by the success of our previous Nepal projects that they are investing over $1.2 million, accelerating the pace of change. We need your help now so we can triple the impact of your gift!
Triple the impact of your giving this May to empower women in Nepal. Thanks to generous Heifer donors and a small group of local donors moved by our previous success in Nepal, your gift to our May Match will be tripled.
Heifer’s work in Nepal has led to dramatic transformation in the communities. Working with women who are often unable to overcome the caste system and gender discrimination, Heifer is a proven model to move families from subsistence to sustenance.
Vicki Clarke, a member of Heifer’s Philanthropy team, recently visited Nepal. She reflects on the large differences in the quality of life in areas where Heifer has just started to work and where Heifer has worked for years.
In African villages where Heifer International’s mission has not yet reached, lives mothers who struggle daily to feed and care for their families.
Rwandan mothers of Heifer projects share the same struggles. They are determined to build thriving businesses and provide for their children.
These incredible mothers of Rwanda are proud of their children and dream of overcoming the challenge of hunger and poverty.
Leigh Wood, Heifer’s donor engagement manager, shares about her recent visit with these amazing women.
One of my favorite childhood movies was “The Princess Bride.” William Goldman’s classic fairytale follows Princess Buttercup and her beloved farm boy, Wesley, as they climb the Cliffs of Insanity, face the perilous Fire Swamp and battle an evil prince all in the name of love.
As conflict builds, Wesley is paralyzed and Princess Buttercup relunctantly agrees to marry the spiteful Prince Humperdinck. Wesley’s enemies, turned companions, seek help from the magician Miracle Max and he revives Wesley with a magical chocolate covered pill.
The heroes then agree to penetrate Humperdincks defenses and rescue Buttercup. While wishing the heroes goodluck, Miracle Max waves and says, “Have fun storming the castle!”
My mom quotes this iconic line often. When I was younger, she would say it when I left for school or to hang out with friends. But over the years, those whimsical words have become more than a fun farewell.
Life is hard. (Overstated yes, but it remains true.) And though life’s battles may not overthrow us, their effects can paralyze the strongest, especially if we choose to fight alone.
My mom is like Miracle Max’s chocolate covered pill. Her sweet nature allows her to teach without saying a word, love despite flared tempers and, forgetting her own grief, provide comfort to a jaded heart. These attributes loosed me when I felt paralyzed and allowed me to storm countless castles.
Mothers worldwide confront the fortress of hunger and poverty every day. Heifer International stands with them as they strive for sustainable income, health care and their children’s education. We at Heifer would like to wish mothers around the globe a happy Mother’s Day, and thank them for the contributions they’ve made to their own families and communities worldwide.
This year, help Heifer brave the walls of injustice with a gift that will be passed on and impact numerous families. This Mother’s Day. Gift Different. Give Heifer.
This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer.org’s “From the Field” section.
Heifer International project participants work hard every day to Pass on the Gift® (POG) they once received and transition from recipient to donor. Sharing their success often brings participants joy and a commendable cause to celebrate.
In March and April 2013, Heifer Cambodia self-help groups (SHG) organized seven POG ceremonies. More than 820 families shared gifts of livestock, vegetables, tree seeds and rice with new project families. During one ceremony, POG recipient Chea Sambo responded with gratitude to her donor family, “Words cannot express how happy I am to receive the gifts. I promise to take good care of the animal and improve my garden so that I can pass on to other needy families, and become a donor like your family.Thanks much to your family and to Heifer.”
Armenian YES! Youth Clubs gathered to celebrate the past year’s activities during the 10th Youth Parliament General Assembly, April 26-27, 2013. Thirty clubs shared about their projects, which were mostly focused on civic participation and responsibility, and the success of their small businesses. Vardouhi Torosyan, a 13-year-old jewelry-making business owner, said she was able to pass on her seed money of $100 to another club member so he could also start a business.
Beneath snowy mountain peaks, farmers in Tibet applauded each other during a wintry April POG. Participants from Dan Nu, Xue Ba and Zhi Ba villages passed on a monetary fund worth about $37,342 to Xu Ba village. Three candidates were distinguished among their community for modeling exceptional behavior and a traditional Tibetan Guozhuang (bonfire) dance ended the celebration.
In Spitak, in the Lori region of Armenia, lives Irina Dallaqyan, a 37-year-old widow and mother to three sons. The family has lived in temporary housing since 1988 when an earthquake left them homeless. A local farm provided Irina with work as a dairy maid, but her position only paid an inadequate $140 a month.
Irina’s neighbor told her about Heifer International’s work with Spitak Farmers Association and she made a request to become a recipient in the next Passing on the Gift® ceremony.
“I received two pigs from the project, [but] because my family lives in a temporary shelter, we have no barn,” Irina said.
The Heifer project, Agricultural Development Project in Spitak and Lernantsk Communities, helps farmers house their animals together and share the work and income generated from the joint farming.
“One of my pigs delivered eight piglets, and the other delivered nine,” Irina said. “I sold 10 piglets out of 17 and generated 180,000 Armenian drams (about $430). The money I saved from the sales of the piglets was directed to purchase feed for the animals. The rest, seven piglets, I kept to enlarge my farm.”
Through Heifer’s work, Irina found the support she needed and looks forward to future success.
This Mother’s Day you can support women worldwide with gift ideas from Heifer and give your mom something that truly makes a difference. Your gift can support impoverished mothers with training, livestock and clean water, which will help them rise out of poverty and become self-reliant.
Felicia lives in Romania with her husband and nine children. She works tirelessly to provide her family with everything they need to be healthy and happy. Since joining a buffalo project in 2011, the family’s nutrition has improved from the milk and dairy products their buffalo, Florica, provides. Felicia has hope for a bright future for her family.
Greta Grishanova, Director of Programs for Heifer’s Central and Eastern Europe area, shares Felicia’s story.
This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer.org’s “From the Field” section.
Springtime often evokes thoughts of baby animals, beautiful flowers and warm sunshine. But for the Voskanyan family of Chinar, Armenia, it is the most dangerous season. Cultivating their fields is dangerous work because Azeri snipers may at any moment break the cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Daily routines, like taking their children to school, are also done with fearful hearts. In 2011, the family became Heifer International participants and received a pregnant heifer through Passing on the Gift®. The cow has lightened the family’s burden by providing milk to make butter and sour cream.
Philippine dairy farmers must have passion, patience and perseverance to succeed, because poor nutrition and disease can easily rob farmers of their prized cows. More than 100 potential partner families of Heifer Southern Philippines recently visited successful dairy farms to learn about the industry. These learning opportunities activated participants with the knowledge to become businessmen and women of great potential. They quickly realized that, “There is daily money in milk.”
Heifer continually works with partners to mobilize projects that will positively impact participants like the Voskanyan family and smallholder farmers. On April 4, 2013, Heifer Malawi showcased Heifer’s work in the Dairy Value Chain Project at the Presidential Initiative Launch in Africa. The event launched two projects, Two Crops per Year and One Cow per Family, which aim to strengthen irrigation and engage farmers in dairy production. Heifer Malawi Country Director Petronella Halwiindi said it was an excellent opportunity to share Heifer’s role and represent all its major players.