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A step on the road to self reliance
The secret behind Heifer International’s success lies in a fact of life: Animals reproduce.
For more than 65 years, the combination of livestock plus training in environmentally sound farming practices multiplies the impact of every gift.
Not so very long ago, Heifer was a small nonprofit organization helping a few thousand families a year. Today Heifer raises more than $100 million a year and impacts a million families. Heifer helps people in the United States and more than 50 countries through training, through “living loans” of livestock and through Heifer’s signature “Passing on the Gift,” in which recipients share offspring of their animals and knowledge with others.
Why is it so effective? The byproducts of farm animals—milk, eggs, wool, meat—can improve nutrition directly when recipients consume them, or raise incomes when sold locally, improving housing and access to health care and education. Animal manure becomes organic compost to increase crop yields for better nutrition and income.
Heifer trains project participants in environmentally sound agricultural methods because long-term success depends not only on increasing farm production but also on improving the environment. Heifer’s project participants plant fruit- and nitrogen-fixing trees, use worm beds and composting to improve the soil, cultivate bees for pollination and honey, build efficient stoves to reduce firewood use and many other techniques to maximize farm output. Everything works together to improve agricultural production while conserving and improving the environment.
Another reason for Heifer’s success is that it works at the grassroots level, teaching people how to use their own shared community values as the basis for community strategic plans that yield many economic activities to improve their lives. As community members work together to overcome obstacles, their own local decision-making processes are strengthened, laying the groundwork for further economic development.
Heifer’s development model, which relies on project participants working hard and carrying out their own plans for improving conditions in their villages for the long haul, does much more than put food in the mouths of hungry people. Heifer helps people become better able to feed themselves—resulting in new hope and building self-reliant families, stronger communities and ultimately a better world.
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.
For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918.