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Risk Mitigation and Resilience

Heifer International empowers families and communities to plan for potential shocks through risk mitigation and to rebuild together through livestock and agricultural-based livelihoods to achieve resilience. Our approach is based on the sector concepts of absorption, adaptation and transformation.


We focus on preparing farmers to prevent potential shocks and document learnings to improve future outcomes. We provided revolving loans in Nepal after the 2015 earthquakes to equip farmers with the specific tools needed to rebuild. The revolving funds will remain in the community to ensure future access to capital.


We make adjustments based on our learnings and encourage flexibility for creative solutions. As Hurricane Irma approached Haiti, we utilized the social tool WhatsApp to more rapidly share information with communities about how to shelter livestock and protect crops. This information was based on learnings from Hurricane Matthew, and the digital tool provided a more flexible format to reach farmers.


We seek foundational changes within communities and systems to mitigate risk and encourage resilience. Our Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction Training in the Philippines has been credited with saving lives during Typhoon Bopha and Super Typhoon Haiyan. This training is being replicated by local partners.

Climate Mitigation

We focus on three areas to support climate mitigation efforts:

  • Reduce the impact of agro-climate incidents that affect production systems.
  • Respond to agricultural emergencies rapidly and efficiently (early warning systems).
  • Strengthen farmers’ capacities to deal with future extreme climate incidents themselves. 
  • 4,200 Families in Guatemala

    are being helped by the Resilience Initiatives through Sustainable Enterprises and Upgrade of Community Preparedness to become better able to prepare and respond to disasters through agroforestry and conservation, preparedness and response plans, and improved food security.

  • 22,000 Families in Nepal

    continue to rebuild their communities in partnership with Heifer International and Nepal’s District Disaster Relief Committees, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the region in April 2015.

  • 7,000 Families in Haiti

    received relief supplies from Heifer International and are rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

Role of Heifer in Employment among Smallholder Farmers in Highlands and Semi-Arid Regions of Tanzania

This paper explores the employment opportunities generated by Heifer International in the highlands and semi-arid regions of Tanzania. Results show that Heifer International generated employment opportunities and income among smallholder farmers through rural dairy farming, milk collection, milk vending, water trading, animal health provision and artificial insemination services. The study recommends more investments in rural dairy farming to promote self-employment.

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Gender Equality and Assessment of Women's Empowerment in Heifer Vietnam Project

This study focuses on estimating the gender equity and women’s empowerment in Heifer Vietnam’s projects, comparing indicators before and after joining the project, as well as the causes for the efficiencies of the projects at the household level. The study concludes that after joining the project, households saw improved income and assets; more diversified and healthy diets; and improved women’s empowerment across a number of measures, including increased contribution of women to family income, increased access to training and education, improved role in family-level decision-making, and reduced domestic violence against women and girls. The four most important contributing factors to positive project impact are the contribution of women to family incomes, access to micro-credit, fruit production, and income from rice cultivation.

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