The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation granted 42.8 million dollars to Heifer International, one of my favorite organizations in the world. Heifer International works toward ending world hunger by providing people with the tools they need to thrive. My favorite aspect of their model is their “passing on the gift” program. This aspect of their program allows the recipients of their gifts to become forces for growth and change in their communities by requiring them to pass on their gift to another person in their community.
Each time a person is provided with a gift from Heifer International, they are required to give a similar gift to another member of their community. For example, a woman who receives a dairy cow, will give one of her calves to another family in her community. It is a great way to improve the effectiveness of the donations Heifer receives, and makes a huge difference in the lives the program touches. Recipients are transformed from those needing help, to those giving it, transforming not only their resources, but their roles in their communities. (Passing the Gift Stories.)
I have often used their gift catalog to provide gifts to those people in my life who I know would prefer to help another person over getting another set of candles or bookstore gift certificate. Further, I love getting gifts from Heifer as well, I certainly don’t need anymore stuff, and I feel so good knowing my birthday bought a single mother in Africa a cow, or a goat, or provided education to several children.
I am so glad they got this grant, it is the largest single donation they have ever been given, and I am thrilled with the Gates foundation for providing this organization with the resources they need to make a difference! Here is the press release about the grant:
Heifer Receives $42.8 Million Grant from Gates Foundation
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Jan. 25, 2008 – Heifer International today announced a four-year $42.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund a project to help poor rural farmers in East Africa double their incomes by increasing their production of high quality raw milk to sell to dairies.
The grant was announced by Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation, as part of a package of agricultural development grants at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Heifer’s President and CEO, Jo Luck, also announced the grant at Heifer’s headquarters in Little Rock. It is the largest single grant to Heifer in its 63-year history.
The East Africa Dairy Development Project (EADD) will help one million people – 179,000 families – lift themselves out of poverty by developing 30 milk collection hubs with “chilling plants” where farmers will bring raw milk for pickup by commercial dairies. It will particularly target women for inclusion in both the benefits of the project and in its leadership.
Heifer will manage the project with two partner organizations, TechnoServe, a U.S.-based nonprofit that fights poverty by encouraging business development, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), an animal-research organization based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Heifer will organize farmer business associations to own and manage the chilling plants. Milk production will be increased through artificial insemination to improve local breeds of dairy cows and through improved animal nutrition. The project will provide extensive training in animal agriculture, business practices and other subjects. The project targets specific districts in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
Part of the $42.8 million grant from the foundation is a $2.5 million challenge to be matched dollar-for-dollar through a Heifer fundraising campaign. With the resulting $5 million, Heifer will create an investment fund supporting the project. Heifer will mount a campaign to raise the matching funds from U.S. donors.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the grant as part of a package of agricultural development grants designed to boost the yields and incomes of millions of small farmers in Africa and other parts of the developing world so they can lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty. The foundation is focused on a range of interventions across the entire agricultural value chain—from planting the highest quality seeds and improving farm management practices to bringing crops to market.