The Blessing of the Beasts

Give a man some milk and he will be thankful to you,
But know his hunger will return before that day is through;
Yet give a man a cow and watch him change before your eyes,
Then see that gift as it’s passed on, forever changing lives.

As dignity and self respect is passed from hand to hand
And thankful hearts and minds reflect on giving across the land;
As animals change lives in villages around the world;
Great things can come from giving one small goat to just one girl.

As change spreads into cities, nations stir and then take heed,
That sharing and generosity should be the new world creed;
That all the world should someday sit together at one feast,
And bow their heads in thanks to God for the blessing of the beasts.

– Christian Fauchald
(Written for Heifer International)

Finally, someone got it right.
Learn. Love. Give.
Cure world hunger and poverty now.
Solutions, not band-aids.


Heifer’s Approach: Long-Term Solutions for Sustainable Futures

Heifer applauds and supports the vital work of disaster relief organizations. However, in times of crisis, it’s important to explain the distinction between their work and ours.

Ever since our founder, Dan West, came up with the phrase “not a cup, but a cow,” Heifer’s approach to providing global assistance to struggling countries has been characterized by long-term development, rather than short-term relief.

After immediate needs for food, shelter, fresh water, clothing and other necessities have been met, Heifer works within communities to empower disaster survivors with the economic means – such as livestock, training and other resources – to rebuild their families, their neighborhoods and their hope for sustainable futures.


Here’s how Heifer International works:

A typical Heifer project consists of three essential components:

  • Livestock and other material goods
  • Training and extension work
  • Organizational development, which includes planning, management, record keeping, passing on the gift, reporting and evaluation

…and it all starts in a community.


First, Heifer helps a community group analyze their situation. They ask: What do we need? What are our resources? What would we like to see happen in five years? Then, they plan specific activities to achieve their goals.

At this point, the Heifer “living loan” becomes reality. Farmers prepare for their animals by participating in training sessions, building sheds, and sometimes planting trees and grasses.

Then the livestock arrives – bringing with it the benefits of milk, wool, draft power, eggs and offspring to pass on to another farmer.

Finally, the group evaluates its progress, and the cycle repeats as the group moves to more and more ambitious goals, each time visioning, deciding, implementing and reflecting.

NACWOLA Mbale Women's Goat Project - HIV/AIDS  (21-0632-80)

Pay it Forward

Every family and community that receives assistance promises to repay their living loan by donating one or more of their animal’s offspring to another family in need. This practice of “Passing on the Gift” ensures project sustainability, develops community and enhances self-esteem by allowing project partners to become donors.

This is Heifer’s sustainable approach to ending hunger and poverty – one family, one animal at a time. It’s not temporary relief. It’s not a handout. It’s securing a future with generations of people who have hope, health and dignity.

Is it working?  Oh, yes.  Amazingly well.  Further, Heifer’s overhead remains consistently below 25% – extremely efficient.