Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary refugees once a day was not enough.
And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?
That “teach a man to fish” philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires our work to end world hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all.
HOW IT WORKS We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.
When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.
In Uganda, we work closely with communities and invest in local capacity and appropriate technologies, as well as provide livestock and other agricultural resources. We have created a unique approach to sustainable livelihood development that builds on social capital and creates social justice. Our strategy is anchored in the 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, including the practice of Passing on the Gift® (POG). Families that receive resources from our programs—such as livestock, seeds or training—share the first offspring, training, seeds, farm equipment and support to other families in need in their community. The practice of POG allows the receiver to become the giver and creates social capital.
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