Heifer CEO Pierre Ferrari talks big accomplishments, bigger goals and creating change that lasts after aid ends in an interview with Food Tank.
FT: Recently, you have focused on evaluating Heifer’s work not just on raising incomes, but more precisely on bringing those incomes to a level that is on par with cost of living. How is Heifer performing in this respect?
PF: With the systems changes and integration, we’ve just committed to the idea of ending poverty. Our mission has always been to end poverty and end hunger while taking care of the Earth. When you mention that to people, they say that it’s a very lofty goal—that it’s more than aspirational and that it’s really almost unobtainable. In terms of globally ending poverty, we don’t have the resources to do that. But we do have the resources to end poverty with the communities in which we work. As I travel the world I ask, have we truly ended poverty for these people, or just made their lives a little bit better? How much better? To me, it’s very distinct: either you’re in poverty, or you’re out of poverty. So, the team has now agreed to establishing a line where poverty ends for a particular community, using nutrition, education, housing, hygiene, etc. Everyone now is designing projects that have this specific goal in mind: how do we end poverty in these communities with whom we are working? We are committing to getting four million families out of poverty by 2020.