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I was delighted to speak on behalf of Heifer International at Elanco's World Hunger Day event. I was even more honored to accept Elanco's commitment of $500,000 for Heifer's East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project, Phase II. This announcement continues Elanco's long-term partnership aimed at breaking the cycle of hunger for those most in need. Since 2007, Elanco has contributed more than $3 million to Heifer, providing the gift of training and animals to break the cycle of hunger for families in Indonesia, Zambia and China. In fact, Elanco is currently active in efforts to break the cycle in nearly 40 communities around the world.

We are in an era where a single organization can no longer go it alone and expect to have the level of impact needed to truly end hunger and poverty. Extreme poverty rates have been halved over the last 30 years, so we know development efforts work. To make that final hurdle, though, to get to a place where every person has what he or she needs to live a dignified life, we must work together.

The facts of human development in the early part of the 21st Century are sobering and becoming all too familiar to those engaged in development: 2.8 billion people living on $2 per day, 925 million people going to bed hungry each night, and even a single child dying from a preventable cause is one too many. Contributing to these statistics are the effects of a volatile global economy and climate change, sending more people backwards into poverty and even farther away from sustainability. It is a profound and challenging global context that demands a radical response.

There are 600 million smallholder farmers and herders out there, and I believe they are at the heart of the solution. We have reached but a percentage of them. Our continued and future success is based on integrating the vast smallholder communities, the so-called peasant food web, with the exploding demand for food in both rural and urban markets.

We will do this in part by moving away from traditional, donor-recipient relationships and toward strategic partnerships, anchored in shared values, such as the one we have with Elanco, linking all of us from the Campesino in Bolivia or Paysan in Haiti, all the way to Markets in Mumbai. 

Through EADD, we have applied the pro-poor, wealth creating value chain model with key partnerships, and it is working. EADD aims to provide sustainable livelihoods for one million people in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya by 2018. We are in phase II of the project that began in 2008 with original funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We’re particularly excited about the EADD project because it represents an evolution in sustainable development,” said Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco. “Moving beyond individual gifts of animals to offering connections to technology and marketplaces can deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits that will build stronger communities throughout the entire region. Not only will we help provide better diets with access to animal protein, but greater human potential will be realized as we improve livelihoods.”  

The management of livestock, done well and carefully as the result of high-quality training, yields great returns for smallholder farmers, and it will enable them to help feed themselves and the world’s growing population. The combined efforts of Elanco, Heifer International and our other strong partners will translate this knowledge into a reality where families are self-reliant, children are fed and educated, and every one of us has a bright future ahead.

In photo, left to right: Marleen New, Senior Director of Global Partnerships and Alliances, Heifer International; Noel Paul, Consultant, Global Shared Value, Elanco; Mitch Davis, Director - Global Shared Value, Elanco; Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International; Rob Smith, Senior Director- Corporate Philanthropy, Eli Lilly and Company; also, President of Lilly Foundation; Rakesh Kapoor, EADD Regional Director, Heifer International



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.