Cows are so awesome. And we’re not just saying that because we are called Heifer International. Here, we’ve long held the idea that animals, as just one of the things that Heifer provides to families, should always provide “7 Ms” so that they’re truly transformative for those we support. Heifer developed the idea of 7 Ms many years ago to help more simply explain how an animal can be a catalyst for so much change. It sounds sort of weird, but it works, and has for nearly 70 years.
The 7 Ms: milk, manure, meat, muscle, money, materials and motivation.
Which is why cows are awesome, because they provide all seven. A recent of example of a cow’s awesomeness can be found in Armenia.
“Our farm has grown so much thanks to the cow from Heifer. We are waiting for it to produce more offspring in the coming spring. I am planning to renovate the barn with savings from my milk and hay sales. I want to construct a barn with larger windows and a higher ceiling. I want to provide more comfort to my animals—which is how I feed our family. The animal brought deep change to our family. Our income has increased and the quality of food we eat is so much better. I am sure we will have even better success due to Heifer’s support!”
This is a quote from Koryun. He is from a rural village in Sarnakung, Armenia. He and his wife, Knarikare, live with their three children, Yeghish, David, and Valentian. They also support and live with Koryun’s mother, Valentina.
The family received a cow through Heifer Armenia. The cow provides the family with between 5 and 20 liters of milk daily depending on the season. The family’s farm is growing, which means income and an increased source of nutrition for them.
But they didn’t stop at livestock. The “motivation” and “money” that came from that cow ignited more. Now the family is working in horticulture. They grow potatoes, wheat and spelt for their family to eat. And then they sell technical crops such as barley and alfalfa for hay, which they collect, dry and sell to others in their village; and living in a rural, farming community—the demand is high.
In 2012, Heifer Armenia started a partnership project with the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD). Because this village has quality pastures and the majority of people are engaged in animal husbandry, they’ve embraced this project because Heifer works in their context. They decide what works best for them. And through this project, integrated service and marketing centers have been established to sustain the program beyond Heifer’s direct intervention. As of now, all the families in the project have all received livestock and training.
So Heifer is thinking big in Armenia and continues to work with families and whole communities to make sure that cows keep coming and growing and changing lives—but that everything around that cow creates change too. So the 7 Ms, while just a catchy way of telling folks why a cow or other animal is important, are actually at the core of Heifer creating sustainability and impact.
And that’s why cows are awesome.
Editor's Note: Story and photos submitted by Knarine Ghazanchyan, Project Coordinator; translated by Liana Hayrapetyan, Communication and PR Coordinator