This week I am honored to be a part of the World Food Prize 2012 Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, to represent the work of Heifer International and to help give voice to the millions of smallholder farmers who struggle daily against enormous odds to feed themselves and their families.
The World Food Prize is an incredible event, founded by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug in 1986, that honors outstanding individuals from all over the world who have made substantial contributions in the fight against hunger.
It was only two years ago that Heifer’s then-president, Jo Luck, and Bread for the World President David Beckmann accepted the World Food Prize. It was a milestone—the first time the prize recognized the critical achievements that non-governmental organizations, such as Heifer International and Bread for the World, are making empowering everyday people everywhere to help end hunger.
I am humbled to be standing in their shadow and honored to be carrying on Jo Luck’s legacy. Since that October day in 2010, Heifer has helped another four million families move beyond subsistence to resilience, bringing our total to more than 18 million families assisted.
We cannot end hunger and poverty on our own. The direction that Heifer is embarking on will move us closer to achieving our mission of ending hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth. We are building on our past success to help more families than ever before by increasing our scale of impact. And our persistent efforts have not gone unnoticed. We have caught the attention of many large and impactful organizations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Bank and United States Agency for International Development. I met with these organizations when I traveled to India, Nepal and Cambodia. They have seen the socioeconomic advancements in our project communities, generated by our work, and they are interested in integrating with our efforts to empower families.
Speaking at the World Food Prize, surrounded by the luminaries of the development world, means that Heifer is being recognized as a key player. These next few years will be exciting and full of promise. But don’t just be an observer, get involved. Everyone has a role to play in ending hunger and poverty and your involvement in your own community can help the families all over the world with whom we work.