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Pierre Ferrari signs a certificate honoring the groundbreaking
of a new demonstration farm as part of a Heifer/Danone project
 near Andriivka village, eastern Ukraine. The document was
later placed in a time capsule. Danone Ecosysteme Fund
General Manager Phillippe Bassin is right of Ferrari.

Post and photographs by Bill Fitzgerald, creative director for Heifer International. 


Heifer President and CEO Pierre Ferrari addressed a regionalpress conference to publicize a new joint Heifer/Danone Ecosysteme project inDnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, on Wednesday 7 December. After the press conference, agroundbreaking was held on the first learning farm associated with the projectin Oleksandrivka, some 100 km from Dnipropetrovsk, the oblast (similar to astate) capital.

Danone Ecosysteme Fund General Manager Phillippe Bassin
addresses the Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) Oblast Council meeting
with Heifer President and CEO Pierre Ferrari.
The press conference was held during the DnipropetrovskOblast Council Meeting, presided over by Yevgen Hryhorovych Udod, Head of theOblast Council, and an effective and influential politician within theUkrainian state who happens to support this project.

Representatives of Danone and SOCODEVI and CIDA, twoparticipating development agencies based in Canada, presented to the council,visitors and local media. Several Heifer projects under the collective title,“Cooperative Learning Farm and Services,” represent a milestone for both Heiferand Danone’s Ecosysteme Fund, a bold experiment to invest in local people andeconomies around the world. So far, Danone has invested some 50 million Eurosin 40 projects around the world, but Heifer’s Ukraine efforts are the largest—about10% of their total.

The Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council meeting, where the
Heifer/Danone press conference was held. The Heifer/Danone
project is a significant investment in the local economy
and is considered a pioneering project in the region.
Phillippe Bassin, General Manager of Danone Ecosysteme Fund,said during the press conference “All of this is not charity. It is businesssense. It’s in our business sense that this work is sustainable.” TheHeifer/Danone partnership is exciting because it connects desperately poorfarmers in Ukraine with markets for the products they create under the Heiferproject. Markets mean sales, and sales means income for these people who werestruggling in the wake of the collapse of collective farms in a former Sovietcountry.

“What’s key is co-creation—involving all thelocal players,” Bassin continued. Danone worked closely with Heifer staff andfarmers on quality levels for milk construction of milk collection centers,training of farmers and farm techniques. The result is dairy products that amultinational commercial enterprise (Danone) and local farmers are all proudof.

Pierre Ferrari receives a traditional Ukrainian bread at the
groundbreaking for the Heifer/Danone project
in Andriivka village, Ukraine.
Documents are placed for posterity into a time capsule
near Andriivka village by local farmers dressed as Cossacks.

Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.