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10-year-old Joseph Okaine cares for his grandparents' ducks in Abokobi, Ghana.
10-year-old Joseph Okaine cares for his grandparents' ducks in Abokobi, Ghana.

Answering Today's Global Challenges

In Every Challenge We See Possibility for Change

It's easier than you think to create incredible positive change in the world. We've seen significant strides made in ending hunger and poverty just in the last 20 years. And research shows that when investments are made in the world's 2.6 billion small-scale farmers, agriculture can make twice the impact on poverty as growth in other areas.

If we can help increase the productivity of these small farms, our farmers will be the ones feeding the world. But these small-scale farmers need support in more areas than just on their land. That's why we work to provide access to education, improved sanitation, better water sources—things that will provide better health, more income and, ultimately, a clearer path out of poverty. The improvements in these areas are undeniable:

  • In the last 20 years more than 2 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water.
  • Globally, the number of workers living below the $1.25 a day poverty line has reduced by 294 million since 2001.
  • Worldwide, maternal deaths have decreased by 47 percent since 1990.
  • More girls than ever are attending school, and there are now 95 literate girls for every 100 literate boys.

But imagine what the world might look like if there were 100 literate girls for every 100 literate boys. Imagine if every woman, child and family had the opportunity to build a promising future, a future that affected the world in a positive way. We're addressing these challenges, providing resources, empowering women and improving the environment every day. We are fueling the social change that will help us end poverty and hunger. And you can help. Let's make a huge difference together.

 

Women

We want to give more women the opportunities we’ve had. Mehrunnisa, Rajasthan, India

Women are the backbone of agriculture, which is why we made Gender Equity one of our cornerstones. If women were given the same resources as men, more than 150 million people would have enough food to eat. That would be a significant step in seeing an end to hunger. We’re equipping them with those tools.

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Education

Education is key to helping a family break the cycle of poverty. It's so key to our work that it's part of our methodology. Yet so many factors prevent children from attending school: malnutrition, lack of funds and gender discrimination, among many others. 

Heifer allowed their mother, Thi Thuy, to achieve her dream of learning to read and write, so she says she should do the same for her children.
Heifer allowed their mother, Thi Thuy, to achieve her dream of learning to read and write, so she says she should do the same for her children.

Thuy Dung, 13, has a dream to become a doctor, so she’s focusing on studying physics. Her little brother, Huu Nghia, wants to be a professor of Vietnamese literature.

Heifer gave me the most valuable gift to be able to read and write. I’ll support their dreams. I want their dreams to come true. Thuy Dung Vietnam

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Improving the Environment

From teaching families to plant trees to prevent erosion to offering biogas stoves that run on animal waste and prevent deforestation, we are bettering the ecosystems we work in, furthering the part of our mission that promises to care for the Earth.

The training on smokeless stoves has helped Rukkhi Devi understand the hazardous implications of smoke on health. She’s happy that she will be able to cook twice as quickly, the utensils and dishes will not turn black from charcoal and the kitchen will not be covered with soot. Rukkhi Devi, India

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Health and Nutrition

Ending hunger doesn't mean just providing food. Giving guidance and special foods to expectant mothers and young children to help see them through the critical first 1,000 days of life, and providing access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation are part of many of our projects. We constantly look for new technologies and innovations that can help people be healthier and provide them a brighter future.

Answering the Challenge

Gertrude Kajedula, 12, will never have to trek hours and miles to fetch water like her mother once did. The young women of Ndaula now have more time to devote to school.

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Income and Assets

Job creation—and the increase of income that comes with it—is the key to ending poverty. Through enterprise development, especially in the agricultural sector, small-scale farmers can rise out of poverty and into prosperity, creating wealth for their families and communities. 

Answering the Challenge

A unique cooperative in Ukraine brought together 60 members to launch a milk processing plant. The families are the owners of the enterprise and they are turning it into a success for the entire community.

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Real, Positive Change

Feeding Dairy Cows
Dorcas Ainea Francis, 4, helps her mother Anna Francis Ainea, 26, feed the family's dairy cows.

In each of our projects, Heifer strives to address the underlying issues that keep people from overcoming hunger and poverty. That's why empowering women, providing access to education, bettering the environment and improving health and incomes are so important. The sum of all these parts we call social capital. Our farmers increase their social capital when each area of their lives is improved. Through social capital, Heifer project participants are able to organize and strengthen their existing groups and enhance their values.

Every element of our projects affects social capital, and thus, social change — the transformation of communities and their people so they lead happier, healthier and more productive lives.