The production and marketing process for Bolivian chocolate. Photos courtesy of Heifer International
Heifer is working with communities in the Bolivian Amazon to harvest cacao for the production and marketing of chocolate, while preserving the health of the forest. By adding sheep, poultry and fish to their regular cacao activities, these families have alternate sources of income and nutrition. In this video, World Ark Senior Editor Austin Bailey and Heifer Americas Program Assistant Jason Woods share about their recent trip to Bolivia’s “Chocolate Forest.”
Heifer’s President and CEO Pierre Ferrari celebrates with project participants during a Passing on the Gift® ceremony in Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Heifer International
Heifer is working with communities in Honduras and Guatemala to create livestock and agriculture businesses, which help residents overcome poverty and malnutrition. Pierre Ferrari, Heifer’s President and CEO, visited these projects in March 2013 and attended a Passing on the Gift® (POG) ceremony in Guatemala. There, project participants gave him a goat to symbolize their gift to Heifer to pass on to communities around the world.
This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer.org’s “From the Field” section.
Reoun Theourk, a 31-year-old project participant in Heifer Cambodia, never finished school because her family was too poor. When her mother died, she was left to care for her ailing father. She did not know right from wrong, or how to interact with others. Reoun said her aggressive and unacceptable behavior caused her community to reject her, but she has seen positive changes after joining Heifer Cambodia. Reoun received training on Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones and also became a Literacy Facilitator for women in her village. Her determination and change of heart was rewarded when her community selected her to be a village chief.
Reoun Theourk (right) helps participants read the text in their literacy books. Photo by Tho Deoun, Volunteer, Heifer International
Tian Yihua is an average woman living in China, but her love for family is not easily matched. Despite objections from her husband, Tian Yihua donated a kidney to her brother who was suffering from the kidney disease uremia. When her mother-in-law fell ill, Tian Yihua became her caregiver night and day for the next 10 years. Her compassion and love has made her relatively famous within her community.
By partnering with the Clinton Foundation and organizations like North Coast, Heifer continues to effect positive change in Haiti. Smallholder farmers are working together for improved nutrition, reforestation and new goat breeding centers. Valuable connections like these make it possible for Haitians to realize sustainable success. Heifer’s President and CEO Pierre Ferrari shares about his recent trip to Haiti with President Bill Clinton.
“You may know me as the guy from Arkansas who was both chosen and coached by CeeLo Green on The Voice Season 3, but you may not know my formative years were spent doing chores and tending to my family farm. Because of the hard work and community involvement that were so much a part of my life growing up, I vowed early on to use my voice as a means of helping others.
“Knowing people both here and around the world struggle to find food and deal with the issues of hunger and poverty on a daily basis is an alarming thing to me, and this is something that I want to use my voice to eradicate. Heifer International is an organization that shares my dream. I was always aware of the organization because I grew up in Arkansas, but then I began to study their mission and realized they have a tangible solution – a working model that is already in place.
“There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel when Heifer International is already rolling it along. I believe in the mission of Heifer International and that together we can make a positive difference in our world one gift at a time, one life at a time, one community transformed at a time multiplied into countless others through Heifer’s Passing on the Gift® idea.
“So, I hope you can see how important this is, not only to me, but to those who will have their lives changed because of what we do together. So please join your voice with mine by helping me meet my team fundraising goal so that together we can #saylove and change the world!”
Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. I Will If You Will is an Earth Hour campaign to encourage positive action for the environment. It empowers individuals, communities and organizations to share a commitment to the planet locally and globally.
Photo credit: earthhour.org
The challenge is easy: simply make a promise to do something, big or small, and get a certain number of people to agree to commit to an ongoing action for the environment beyond observing Earth Hour. You set the required number of people to accept the challenge, then promise to do something once the challenge is met. Every challenge can make a difference.
President and CEO Pierre Ferrari talks with President Clinton at North Coast Development farm in Terrier Rouge, Haiti.
In March 2013, former President Clinton and Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari visited Heifer Haiti projects to view and discuss recent agricultural development. Heifer Haiti is working to establish goat breeding centers to easily access goat products such as dairy and meat. Clinton thanked Heifer International for its work in Haiti and stressed the importance of smallholder farmers.
When Typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines, many Heifer Philippines project participants devoted special attention to the animals’ well-being over their own, knowing pigs are a rewarding investment. Project participants also shared the aid they received from Heifer with their neighbors, exhibiting the Sharing and Caring Cornerstone. Annie Bergman, senior World Ark writer, shares how pigs have helped participants recover more quickly after Typhoon Bopha.
Rocky Carag, 6, with one of his family’s pigs. Photo by Russell Powell.
Heifer Peru participants are learning to care for guinea pigs and maintain gardens, which will help support their families when the coffee harvest is slim due to coffee rust, disease or plague. Guinea pigs provide protein and additional income. Alfalfa, cabbage, celery, onion, spinach and other vegetables grown sustainably in bio-gardens support nutritious diets for families and their livestock.
Martina Sanchez Barrios, 26, with one of the family’s guinea pigs. Photo by Jake Lyell Photography
Raghu and Kalpana are a young married couple in Nepal. Raghu worked in Malaysia, but after he attended Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development training, the couple started a goat-breeding business in their own village. Area Vice President Mahendra Lohani shares their story.
When you think of games people play on Facebook, the first one that might come to mind is FarmVille. But today marks the official launch of a new game that hopes to build on the success of such social games to raise awareness of the difficult issues that face women in the developing world.
Half the Sky Movement: The Game is inspired by the book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and a companion PBS television series. Kristof and WuDunn have made it their mission to offer a window into the lives of women who face the threat of malnutrition, oppression and disease each day.
The book and TV series attracted attention from people who already care about women’s issues, Kristoff told Fast Company, which hosted a roundtable discussion to coincide with today’s launch. But the Facebook game is intended to reach all the people who may not know about the problems women face worldwide. “It potentially offers a way of luring people — a gateway drug, if you will, to women’s empowerment,” he says.
This game seems poised to do just that, and it also has the potential to generate support for seven NGO partners — including Heifer International — that are featured prominently in the game. There is a natural link between the scenarios presented in the game and organizations like Heifer that work to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide. At many points throughout the game, users can learn more about Heifer, share info about the organization through their own Facebook profile and even make a donation.
When I played the game, I was introduced to Radhika, “a simple woman from India who wants to make things better … for both herself and women worldwide.” The game is a series of quests, and my first quest was to help Radhika get her young daughter to a clinic to receive treatment for a serious illness. I faced a number of decisions, and I had to reason with a reluctant husband, pick and sell mangoes, haggle with a taxi company, and decide how to pay for an immunization.
When all was said and done, Radhika’s daughter was saved, and I was hooked. This game let me walk in Radhika’s shoes in a way that’s simply not possible through reading statistics. It’s safe to say that games like this represent a powerful new medium for telling some of the world’s most important stories.
To begin playing, visit the Half the Sky Movement: The GameFacebook page. Even if you’re not able to make a monetary donation to Heifer’s work, you can still help by playing. The game’s sponsors have pledged a total of $500,000 for players to unlock through a number of in-game projects.
This game was produced by Games for Change — an organization whose mission is catalyzing social impact through digital games. I had the chance to sit down with Asi Burak and Emily Treat of Games for Change last year when they came to our offices to conduct a digital games workshop, and you can read that interview here.