Heifer International

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What It’s All About: Heifer International gives gifts of livestock and training to help families in developing countries improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.

They refer to the animals as “living loans,” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of Heifer’s mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.

How does it work? Simple:

  1. Communities in need contact Heifer International and ask to set up an agriculture or animal project.
  2. Heifer planners in the country meet with the community to plan for the project to ensure it will be successful for everyone.
  3. The project plan developed in step 2 is submitted to Heifer HQ for approval. Heifer looks for plans that offer long-term solutions and are environmentally sound.
  4. Before receiving their animals, project participants in the communities undergo rigorous training and learn about the importance gender equality, sharing, and caring play in the success of the program.
  5. Families build shelters for the animals, grow crops to feed them with, and learn basics of animal care.
  6. The animals arrive and the community is soon able to reap the benefits of their gift, including improved nutrition through a diet of milk, eggs, and meat, as well as earning income through selling extra provisions and generating manure to fertilize their crops.
  7. Families who received Heifer animals then pass on the gift by giving one or more animals away to a family in need and sharing the training and skills they received.

Watch this brief video to see how it all fits together:

What You Can Do: Having a hard time figuring out what kind of unique gift to buy your mom or dad or special aunt? Why not buy them an animal? Through Heifer International, you can directly support a family in need by purchasing part or all of an animal. For example, for $20, you can buy a flock of geese for a family or for $30, you can buy honeybees. And if you want to contribute on a bigger scale, you pitch in $10 to help pay for a pig, or $120 for the whole thing. Whatever your budget, your contribution can make a direct difference in the life of someone in need.

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