It has been a whirlwind of events lately. First, I had an amazing three-week visit to Asia (India, Nepal, and Cambodia), then I traveled to California to be a part of Heifer International’s first “Beyond Hunger: A Place at the Table” event, and last week I was honored to attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York.
CGI is an extraordinary event that brings together an amazing group of individuals working in different fields to “turn ideas into action.” Heifer has had a presence at CGI since its inception in 2005. Last year was my first time to attend, and Heifer was privileged to present our Commitment to REACH: Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti.
With our CGI Commitment, Heifer is working to strengthen social capital, support community building and develop rural enterprises in Haiti. REACH will improve the economic opportunities of 20,250 rural households over a period of five years in Haiti through Heifer’s proven approach of sustainable development. We are working with farmers to train them to develop their own livestock micro-enterprises.
The theme of this year’s CGI meeting was “Designing for Impact.” The charge is that we all need to be more efficient, more effective, and making the best uses of our resources. Heifer is already moving in this direction and has defined priorities that will help us increase our impact to help more families than ever before. In addition to reaffirming Heifer’s Commitment to REACH, I also looked this year to connect with potential partners for our some of our largest projects that would support our efforts in turning small farmers into business people on a scale large enough to transform entire communities and industries. We currently have successful partnerships, including Green Mountain Coffee, DANONE, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
An additional topic at CGI was gender equity. If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you know that women’s empowerment is an important and recurring theme for Heifer. Our approach, impact and success demonstrate that when we work in partnership with women, families benefit, communities advance and positive change occurs exponentially.
On a final note, I’d like to congratulate President Clinton on an amazing event. The energy was captivating, and I can’t wait to build on the relationships that have been formed.