Poverty, Hunger and Climate Change: Addressing New Challenges in Agricultural Development

Posted on 26 January 2010

As part of its NGO Leaders Seminar Series, the Humanitarian & Development NGOs Domain at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations will host a senior leadership team from Heifer International on Thursday, February 4.  Led by Jo Luck, President of Heifer International, the team will conduct a seminar that explores new challenges in agricultural development, against the backdrop of poverty, hunger and climate change. 

The seminar will discuss the context that Heifer International faces in developing countries – especially in rural communities that are dependent on agriculture and livestock – and how that context will increasingly be shaped by the threat of climate change and increasing food insecurity.  How does as an NGO like Heifer deal with these challenges?  How do programs respond to such challenges?  How are the policy and institutional dimensions of these challenges addressed by advocacy efforts?  How are Heifer’s education efforts trying to enhance awareness and mobilize action among the American public?

Jo Luck will frame and lead the seminar. Constance Neely, Vice President for Advocacy at Heifer International, will speak to the policy and advocacy dimensions of the issue. Martha Hirpa, Director of Gender Equity Advocacy, will discuss how gender and social inequities intersect with these issues. Jim Rollings, Senior Director of Heifer Village, will speak to the public education aspect of the topic.

This seminar promises to bring together multiple angles of how a leading international NGO advances its own distinctive approach to poverty, hunger and climate change.  A substantial block of time will be devoted to Q&A and discussion. 


The seminar will take place 11.30 am – 1.00 pm on Thursday, February 4 at Weil Town Hall (Belfer L1) at the Harvard Kennedy School.  It is open to the public – light refreshments will be available.


Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth.  Its philosophy is that by giving families and communities a hand-up, rather than a hand-out, Heifer empowers its beneficiaries to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.  With gifts of livestock and training, Heifer helps families and communities improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.  Heifer is also unique in its “Passing on the Gift” practice: the animals, referred to as “living loans,” are given to families on the condition that they in turn agree to give one of the animal’s offspring to another family in need.  This practice – the cornerstone of Heifer’s mission – creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.

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