Story and Photos by Alina Karki | Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Temp | Heifer Nepal
Tents are set up, performers ready themselves in traditional ethnic wear and women in beautiful bright saris line up opposite their respective recipients. Before Passing on the Gift® (POG), donors ask recipients to make maximum utilization of the gift, build a prosperous life and pass it on to another family.
"So it is like credit, but without having to pay interest," said a man standing next to me attending the POG event. Such a comment is understandable coming from someone who does not know Heifer International's work. You receive two goats from Heifer, get Improved Animal Management training, increase animal productivity and raise your income. A few years later, you give back what you received. But there is more to this story.
POG is not just an act of paying back.
For Heifer the approach achieves sustainable development by empowering people to become agents of change in their community. The original placement of livestock will be passed on for generations, which will help families raise their incomes through resource multiplication. Heifer families become part of the development process when they give back and contribute toward another family similar to their own. Communities then have the opportunity to come together and celebrate unity.
Radha G.C. is one of the women who passed on two goats this month. Three years ago she received two goats from Heifer and later sold two goats, which earned 12,000 Nepali rupees, or about $220. After the POG, she still has three goats.
"After receiving goats from Heifer I was very happy and now I am giving back with a happy heart," Radha said. "If I had not received the two goats I would not have been able to raise my income level. I hope the recipients will raise the goats well and make good income from it just like I did and pass it on to another family."
As Nepal wraps up POG month, 3,986 families have passed on 8,048 goats, 159 bucks, 342 swine, 34 cows, 31 buffaloes, four oxen, 2,334 poultry and a POG fund worth 4,824,989 rupees, or about $88,474, for vegetable farming, toilets, pumps, an irrigation motor facility and various other purposes.
The lives of 3,508 families will change after receiving their gifts this month. And very soon they will become empowered enough to change other families' lives by Passing on the Gift®.