Heifer International: Working To End World Hunger, One Llama At A Time

bolivian farmerGot an extra $20 burning a hole in your pocket and want to make a difference in the lives of others? Buy a flock of ducks. Eighty-five dollars will get you a camel share, while a mere $48 purchases a share in a “Knitter’s Gift Basket (a llama, alpaca, sheep and angora rabbit).”

Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock, and animal husbandry, agricultural and community development training to over 125 countries, including the U.S. The goal: to help end world hunger and poverty by improving breeding stock, providing valuable dietary supplements such as milk and eggs, and creating viable business enterprises for commodity products such as cheese, wool, honey, or crops cultivated by draft animals like horses and water buffalo.

The livestock species used to support disenfranchised communities are diverse, but traditional to their respective regions. They include goats, sheep, honeybees, beef and dairy cattle, water buffalo, yaks, horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, camels, rabbits, guinea pigs and poultry.

When I was a kid growing up on a small ranch in Southern California, we used to donate our male dairy goat kids (which, if sold here, would most likely be relegated to dinner) to Heifer. Although the program no longer ships live animals overseas (it’s easier and safer/more humane to ship frozen semen), the concept remains the same: using top bloodlines to improve the quality and enhance the genetic diversity of herds or flocks in impoverished regions.

Heifer teaches the concept of the “Seven M’s: Milk, Manure, Meat, Material, Money, Motivation and Muscle.” These are the benefits livestock animals provide to people in developing nations. With the training provided by Heifer employees and volunteers, the cycle of poverty can be broken, and families and villages can thrive. During the holidays or for birthdays, I like to make animal gift donations in the name of the recipient, an especially valuable lesson for children (who, let’s face it, really don’t need another electronic piece of crap to foster their ADD and lack of global awareness).

Never doubt the power of a furry friend to change the world. To make a donation, click here.

Check out this Heifer International gallery of animals and their proud owners from around the world:

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Gadling Take FIVE: Week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5

Because I’m writing this from a town outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, these posts caught my attention right away while I was browsing through this week’s bounty. They have to do with money.

  • In general, Denmark is not a place for bargains. According to Josh, however, London and Seoul are becoming less expensive.
  • If you’re feeling generous–and it doesn’t take much money to feel generous, check out Anna’s post on the fundraiser Passports with a Purpose. Four powerhouse female travel bloggers thought up a way to raise money for Heifer International using the network of world travelers to do it. Yes, that means you.
  • Karen wrote a post about how to find a cheaper way to go to Obama’s inauguration. That seems mighty generous of her since she’s looking for a bargain to head to D.C. herself.
  • For anyone looking to maximize the money spend on a digital camera, Aaron has handy tips for turning one into a personal assistant.
  • If a trip to Hawaii is in your future, check out Brenda’s post on the bike sharing program. It will be in place in Honolulu by early summer, and from Brenda’s description of how it will work, it sounds like it will be an inexpensive way to stay in shape and see different parts of the city.

Passports with Purpose: Travel bloggers fundraise for Heifer International

‘Tis the season as they say. Yes, you could take part in the hectic Christmas shopping frenzy, or you could put your money to more philanthropic efforts. That’s exactly the goal of Passports with Purpose, the brainchild of four travel bloggers: Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby, Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View, Michelle Duffy of WanderMom, and Beth Whitman of Wanderlust and Lipstick. The blogging divas all decided that this holiday season it was time to give back, launching PWP to allow travel bloggers the chance to help raise funds for Heifer International.

Each participating blogger — and if you’re up on your travel blogs, you’ll recognize many of the names on the list — has gotten together a raffle prize. A $10 raffle ticket (which all goes to Heifer International) gets you the chance to maybe pick one of them up. Now, this isn’t your standard school raffle with homemade baked goods and a year’s worth of tree pruning; PWP prizes are something to get excited about. The list is long, but here is just a sampling:

  • 3 Nights at the Wyland Waikiki in Hawaii
  • Mountain Hardwear Women’s Mynx Jacket
  • Eagle Creek luggage
  • A collection of 5 Lonely Plant books

To take part in this great fundraiser, check out the full list of prizes, pick the one you want (or want to give to someone else!) and buy one or more $10 raffle tickets at FirstGiving. You’ll get the chance to win something cool and, at the same time, help out an organization committed to building sustainable communities around the world.