Through the support of our generous donors, Heifer International has put millions of families on the path to peaceful and sustainable futures. Here are just a few examples of how our gifts of livestock and training have made the world a more peaceful place.
After World War II, we sent heifers do devastated European communities to help them rebuild their lives and their livelihoods. Here a mother in Poland gives her daughters fresh milk.
Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
In 1951, with the Korean War still raging, Heifer sent three planeloads of hatching eggs to Korea – Heifer’s first “Egglift.”
Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
After more than two decades of genocide and civil war, Heifer is helping families in Cambodia by providing peaceful alternatives to lives of violence. Click photo for more Heifer Cambodia stories.
Photo by Matt Bradley, courtesy of Heifer International.
Devastated by genocide, Rwanda has begun its long road to recovery thanks to the “cows of peace” that supporters like you have provided. Pass-ons between Hutus and Tutsis are now common and a shining example of how gifts to Heifer can lead to peace. Click image for more about peace in Rwanda.
Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee, courtesy of Heifer International.
How cute is this pair? This is 6-year-old Ernest and his family’s draft horse, Barka. Ernest lives in Dolhobrody, Poland. His family received this horse through a Heifer project in their village working to improve farm productivity and increase access to markets. Barka plows the family’s fields and helps the family take their produce to market.
In concept, a Heifer project is simple: engage communities, mobilize smallholder farmers, train them and provide livestock. Next, we support them in a number of ways and monitor until the project is complete. In practice — in real places like the Armenian villages of Arpi, Areni, Norashen and Varser that we’ve visited on this trip — a Heifer Project is a complex mix of relationships, expert support, a variety of physical inputs, encouragement, troubleshooting, and management. Although the Heifer Armenia team is very talented, it cannot make a project happen on its own. No Heifer country program office can. Heifer works with many partners.
Thus Pietro (our VP of European programs) and I have joined with Heifer’s Armenia country director, Anahit, and her team to explore new opportunities with key partners. On Tuesday — the first full day of our visit — we met with Gagik Khachatryan, director of the Project Implementation Unit of the Government of Armenia/Ministry of Agriculture. We discussed an important collaboration in the context of a major World Bank-financed project (we’ll be sharing more about this soon).
We also met with the director, Gagik Sardaryan, and deputy director, Sevak Manukyan, of the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD). CARD provides services to small farmers that include small loans, sales of equipment and business development. CARD is a key partner in a new dairy value-chain project called, “Milk for Money.” Afterward, we met with the executive director of Ashtarak-Kat, Stepan Aslanyan. Ashtarak-Kat is the leading milk and dairy product processor and distributor in Armenia. It is a key partner in a dairy value chain project in a different part of the country.
Finally, we concluded the day with dinner with Andrzej Szmidtke, the First Secretary for Economic Affairs for the Embassy of Poland. The Government of Poland finances foreign development work through Polish Aid, its development cooperation agency. Through the support of Heifer Poland, Polish Aid awarded some of its first grants to fund Heifer Armenia projects.
On Wednesday, we were honored with an audience with His Holiness the Catholicos of All Armenians, the spiritual leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Church is a major historical, cultural, spiritual and social force in Armenia. Heifer Armenia has collaborated with the Church in specific ways, but more generally, it shares a common mission to meet the needs of the hungry and the poor. The Church is also a founder and supporter of another partner, the Armenian National Ecumenical Church Loan Fund (ECLOF). After the Catholicos, we met with the General Director, Tigran Hovhannisyan.
Our trip to Armenia so far has been a rich opportunity to help in the building of villages of partners to bring a greater impact to the villages of small farmers across Armenia.
In 2010, Heifer Poland started a project designed to empower rural women. This project focuses on providing the women with training in the concepts and skills they need to start small businesses. Training topics for this project include:
Basic accounting, marketing, and computer skills
How to write a business plan
The legal aspects of running a business
How to market and sell regional products and handicrafts
Personal development and self-esteem
Along with the training, the fifty women participating in the project will go on educational field trips to see concrete examples of ways to earn additional income for their families. Project participants will also take part in two national exhibitions organized in large Polish cities to present, promote, and sell products.
Each of the 50 women participating in this comprehensive training program will pass on their knowledge through providing training to the members of the community where she lives. At the end of the project, a conference will be organized in southeastern Poland to share the best practices of the project.