Heifer International is working with the nonprofit Sirolli Institute to help farmers start or grow successful businesses.
The two-year initiative with Sirolli will focus on communities in Bangladesh, Honduras, Mexico, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda.
“Heifer has always believed in self-determination and self-reliance,” said Pierre Ferrari, president and CEO of Heifer. “The Sirolli approach to enterprise development epitomizes this commitment to the belief that when people are given room to innovate and build their own future, they do and they do so brilliantly. We will be there to support, facilitate but not to do. We will be learning how to do this with entrepreneurs who will create new value and opportunities for farmers and themselves.”
Founded in 1995, the Sirolli Institute has worked in more than 300 communities worldwide and has helped start 50,000 businesses. The wide range of entrepreneurs has included Australian fishermen selling tuna to Japan, farmers marketing eggs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a women’s cooperative producing fruit juice in Colombia.
The Sacramento, California-based institute was founded by Dr. Ernesto Sirolli, who began his career with an Italian NGO in Africa but soon became disenchanted with the work. He describes his experience in his popular TED talk, “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”
“There is no geography to passion and intelligence,“ Sirolli said. “As soon as we employ and train a local Enterprise Facilitator, we discover the dreams of local people. We then help them find the expertise and resources needed to transform their dreams into viable and sustainable businesses.”