The main objective of Heifer International is to end poverty and hunger by facilitating programs through which individuals can obtain livestock and tree seedlings.
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The organization offers extensional training to members of a community to ensure the success of its programs and encourages beneficiaries of Heifer International to give at least one of the female offspring of the livestock to another member of the community who has undergone training. By embracing the Pass on the Gift strategy, the organization ensures it realizes its initiatives and goals on a large scale and uplifts a significant number of people.
As a nonprofit organization, Heifer International sources for funds from individuals and organizations and may enter into partnerships with foundations, corporations and governments involved in projects to create wealth and opportunities. Apart from training individuals on appropriate animal husbandry, Heifer International incorporates various elements of sustainable development education, which enlightens beneficiaries on the management of the income generated from animal products or plants.
The organization acknowledges the fact that keeping people out of poverty is a complicated process, which requires the adoption of approaches in the social and economic context to ensure the growth of the initial investment. The US Agency for International Aid (USAID) considers aspects of the management of an individual project and the project portfolio in making the decision to fund an organization.
Considerations regarding effective portfolio management entail the cost effectiveness of projects and their impacts on the target population or community. Cost effective projects highlight the likelihood of success of the strategic goals while projects with unclear cost estimates indicate the underlying hurdles and inefficiencies in the implementation process.
To make an appropriate decision regarding the funding of Heifer International programs, the USAID needs to embrace evaluation procedures that will provide rough estimates on the gains of the beneficiaries in terms of the income, nutrition and wealth derived from livestock and seedlings (Hooft and Terry 113). The estimates of the beneficiaries’ gain should indicate a sense of relationship between the expenditures on Heifer International programs and the socioeconomic benefits associated with the programs.
A case study on Heifer International programs in Uganda illustrates the comprehensiveness of the organization’s programs and the viability of USAID funding the projects on livestock and plants. The Uganda project entailed the organization of families into projects based on a variety of animals with each family obtaining a cow, pig, goat or fish.
Each family had to meet the conditions set by Heifer International, which included the participation of a member from each family in a series of training sessions, preparation of a shed for the expected animal and planting of appropriate fodder crops. The emphasis on zero grazing eliminated the challenges relating to the ownership of large sizes of land because most of the poor families own small pieces of land.
Heifer International programs thrive on twelve cornerstones, which include sustainability and self-reliance, nutrition and income, training and education, accountability and spirituality (Clements 18). The Uganda families benefitted in other ways such as strategies to improve sanitation, education and gender equality, which are some of the key hurdles to the improvement of the standards of living in developing countries.
Heifer International programs contribute positively to the enhancement of leadership skills by encouraging project groups to elect leaders who oversee the collection of dues and new development activities.
The focus on the long-term goals of Heifer International programs is evident by the decision to employ extension workers with veterinary skills and experience to support farmers in the early stages of their projects. The veterinary workers organize the training of new members from within the project groups to ensure self-reliance within families and the community.
The fact that Heifer International liaises with government agencies within the target country highlight aspects of transparency and openness in the organization’s programs. Heifer International objectives and policies highlight the organization’s desire to cooperate with other entities that are keen on helping impoverished communities in various parts of the world. The cornerstones of the organization’s projects highlight an opportunity that the USAID can exploit in the administration of civilian foreign aid.
Considering that the scope of Heifer International’s activities extends beyond the provision of livestock and seedlings to incorporate various humanitarian activities, the USAID decision to fund the organization would be viable. USAID’s programs on poverty relief, which include assistance to public health and improvement of education, can thrive within the cornerstones of Heifer International programs (Dowling and Chin 78).
Furthermore, the USAID seeks to improve the management of agricultural activities in poor countries and collaborating with Heifer International would enhance the penetration and success of its objectives. Heifer International places great emphasis on practices that facilitate the sustainability of the environment, which has become a global interest among agencies such as the USAID.
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Heifer International meets the demands that programs supported by the USAID must respect the regulations on economic and environmental sustainability and promotes the USAID’s objective of providing environmental assistance to countries facing the threat of declining natural resources.
Clements, Paul . “Evaluating the Cost Effectiveness of Heifer International Country Programs.” Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation 8.18 (2012): 16-28. Print.
Dowling, J. Malcolm, and Chin Yap. Happiness and poverty in developing countries: a global perspective. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.
Hooft, vant́, and Terry Wollen. Sustainable livestock management for poverty alleviation and food security. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, Uk: CABI, 2012. Print.