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2011 WiLD Awards - Huruma Mhapa
Edited by Donna Stokes, World Ark managing editor
Heifer's annual Women in Livestock Development awards celebrate standout participants from the four project areas in which Heifer works: Africa, Asia and the South Pacific, the Americas, and Central and Eastern Europe. Not only do the women chosen for this honor show great skill and perseverance in raising animals and crops, they also embody the heart of sustainable development: The transformation from recipient to donor, student to teacher, follower to leader. This year's winners, from Tanzania, Cambodia, Ecuador and Latvia, speak of confidence, financial independence and pride in their journeys of hard work and determination to succeed. To read about each winner, click on the photos below:
Grassroots Award Winner
Huruma Mhapa, Tanzania
In July 1993, after a life of poverty in a small mud hut with her family, Huruma Mhapa received one dairy cow, and training in the zero-grazing method of livestock care, from Heifer International. It has made all the difference.
A few years after receiving their first cow, she and her husband, Festo Kaduma, built a brick house with a concrete floor and a solid roof and were able to send their three children to school. They are now completing an equally modern home for their dairy cows. The shed has pipes that bring harvested rainwater to the animals' troughs and even features electricity from the couple's biogas plant.
"The cattle project brought love in our family, improved our livelihoods. If the cows also cherish their lives in their new shed I will be very grateful," Mhapa said.
Mhapa farms 11 acres—fodder, maize, beans, potatoes, bananas, guavas, plums, limes—and cares for four dairy cows, all descendants of that first cow. Mhapa and Kaduma already grow trees for firewood, but now Mhapa plans to start an avocado tree nursery to supply seedlings for her farm and to sell to other villagers at a low cost.
Though her formal education as a child was limited, today Mhapa is a university lecturer in rural agriculture at Sokoine University of Agriculture. She has trained about 4,000 farmers, including those from Heifer projects in other African countries. Another 5,000 people have visited her farm, including government officials and university researchers and scholars, to learn about zero grazing and organic farming.
"This project has empowered me," Mhapa said. "I can talk in front of people. Formerly it was not possible to meet people and talk the way I'm talking now. … Also I can say that the way the men in this village perceive women has changed. They see us, the women, as very important and they now cooperate in increasing the income of our households."
Honor the Women in Your Life
Heifer International celebrates the independent, strong, loving and talented women we work with every day to help end hunger and poverty around the world.
Join us this spring in honoring your loved ones with a donation to Heifer.
Mother's Day is May 8. Pass on the Gift of livestock and training to help mothers everywhere provide nutritious meals and a hopeful future to their children.