Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

From the United Nation's website:

October 17th presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty. Participation of the poor themselves has been at the center of the Day's celebration since its very beginning. The commemoration of October 17th also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to the eradication of poverty.

There's a reason we refer to the families and individuals with whom we work as "participants." It's because they are participating in the eradication of their own poverty. More than that, they are helping end their neighbors' poverty, too, through Heifer's Pass on the Gift model. Yes, we provide our participants with gifts of livestock, and we train them at no cost to themselves. The real work comes from the participants, however. We are but facilitators in a process that empowers them to analyze their situation, determine what work needs to be done to improve it, and make that work happen. Livestock and training are tools that provide the "leg up" our participants need. Without their Full Participation (which happens to be one of Heifer's 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development), our successful model would fail.

Watch this short video about farmers near Andamarca, Peru, who have become empowered through Heifer's model and now share their expertise in raising guine pigs and sheep with neighboring communities.

Author

Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She has a master's in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is married, a mother of two, and a wannabe urban farmer, raising her own chickens and killing most of her vegetable crops.