Miss Biira’s family received
the goat from Heifer International, an organization which lives
the famous Chinese proverb.
Heifer International is a nonprofit organization whose mission
is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care
for the earth.
Since its establishment in 1944, Heifer has helped 4.5 million
people in 115 countries, and its impact has been remarkable.
Heifer’s strategy to end hunger and poverty consists of
three components: Livestock, training, and planning.
Heifer’s livestock consist of anything from water buffaloes
to bees, and includes goats, chickens, and cows. Heifer chooses
to give livestock to starving families because “Livestock
offer one of the best resources for ending the cycle of chronic
hunger and poverty that plagues two-thirds of the planet,” said
Jo Luck, President of Heifer International. Livestock provide
a sustainable source of protein as well as marketable products
such as leather, wool, eggs, or milk.
The gift of livestock is considered a “living loan.” Recipient
families must repay their loans by giving one or more of their
animals’ offspring to another family in need. The practice
of “giving a gift” permits project sustainability,
develops community, and enhances self-reliance and self-esteem.
Training is a crucial part of Heifer’s program. It not
only teaches farmers how to care for their livestock, but also
how to “use their land productively and how to restore
and preserve the environment,” said Luck.
Planning, the final component, includes organizational development,
management, record keeping, reporting, and evaluation.
These components work together in a dynamic yet simple way
that provides a sustainable approach to ending world hunger – “one
animal, one family at a time.” Heifer’s approach
is not temporary, nor is it a handout. Its goal is to secure
a future in which generations of people have hope, health, and
If you’re wondering how you can get involved, Heifer provides
several avenues for participation. Study tours are trips that
last 7-21 days, usually with a group of 12-20 people. During
the tour, you visit another country and participate in community
evaluations, provide livestock training, or actually farm the
If you live near a Heifer regional office, you can also volunteer
to work there or at one of their three learning centers where
Heifer conducts agriculture experiments. The best way to contribute
is to donate money to the organization. For more information
about Heifer International, visit www.heifer.org or call toll
free (877) 663-1683.