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Yesterday, CNN featured on their website development economist and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of poverty alleviation Esther Duflo as part of Ted Talk Tuesdays. Duflo spoke at the TED2010 conference in February.

The lead paragraph says, “Governments and charities have spent billions to try to wipe out poverty, but award-winning economist Esther Duflo says we really don't know if that money has been well spent.”

While Duflo advocates using the scientific method to determine the best use of aid, a five-year study of Heifer projects conducted by Western Michigan University found that Heifer’s model of sustainable development works.

Over a five-year period, evaluators assessed more than 139 projects, interviewed nearly 5,000 participants, and visited 1,300 projects in 20 countries. The evaluators summarized that, “it is beyond doubt that in all 20 of the countries we have examined, Heifer has brought large overall benefits to very large numbers of low income rural families. In particular, there are always substantial benefits wherever the elements of basic human needs are in short supply…”

Read more about Western Michigan’s evaluations here.


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.