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Recently, the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) appointed Shamshad Akhtar as Assistant Secretary - General for Economic Development.

DESA News interviewed Akhtar, where she shared her thoughts on her new position, the current global situation, and work that still needs to be done. She said, "we need to eradicate poverty at a faster pace." I couldn't agree more. There is so much work that needs to be done, and it has been more than once that I've mentioned that we can all DO MORE.

We recognize this at Heifer and it's why we are working (and making progress) at increasing the impact we have in the countries where we work. Why just help 100 families at a time, if, using the same successful model on a larger scale, we can help 1,000 families - or more? Haiti's REACH project will ultimately help 100,000 people achieve a sustainable livelihood.

Pierre Ferrari participates in a Passing on the gift ceremony in Haiti.

Akhtar also mentioned potential for new financing and green growth. These are very critical elements that Heifer is paying close attention to and taking action to implement in our project work. At the end of last year, Dr. Mahendra Lohani, Vice President of Asia/South Pacific Program; Dr. Shubh Mahato, Heifer Nepal Country Director; and Neena Joshi, Heifer Nepal Senior Program Manager; met with the CEO and the Chief of the Microfinance Service Department of Rural Microfinance Development Center (RMDC) to discuss how the two organizations can collaborate to speed up the economic development process among the poor and deprived communities in Nepal.

Here in Little Rock, Heifer has installed a 25-kilowatt solar panel array that provides supplemental electric power to Heifer's headquarters building and the Murphy Keller Education Building (Heifer Village).

Solar Panels installed at Heifer International's headquarters

The solar panels reduce Heifer's reliance on fossil fuels and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to caring for the Earth. The array consists of 100 panels, making it one of the largest such systems in Little Rock.

These are steps in the right direction, and there are definitely more to come. But as you've heard me say before, we can't do it alone. I am confident that working with Shamshad Akhtar, the UN, and other like-minded organizations, we will see great reductions in hunger and poverty.

I'm very excited to see and share, Heifer's progress and the postive movements from around the world. Akhatar said it best:

I think it is a very exciting period for all of us who are engaged in the development business. Our task is to focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability with the objective of reducing poverty, alleviating stress on the basic services and making sure people are fed properly. We cannot achieve these goals unless we equip countries to manage and implement development programs at high governance standards and ensuring programs that benefit people.

To read more of Akhatar's thoughts on her new role, access the DESA News.




Pierre Ferrari

Pierre Ferrari is president and CEO of Heifer International. Pierre is very passionate about empowering the families and communities with whom Heifer works: “It took me decades, but I have come to know that the only way to happiness and joy is to be of service to others.” Pierre’s other joys are his wife, Kim, his two sons and two stepdaughters. In his free time he enjoys golf, squash, reading and travel.