Heifer International's efforts to aid families in tsunami-stricken countries of South and Southeast Asia continue to move forward, according to a six-month progress report from the community development organization.
After the tsunami made landfall in December 2004, the AVMA joined forces with Heifer to raise $1 million to help provide long-term development assistance to impoverished families in the affected countries. The AVMA met its $1 million goal June 30, 2005. The AVMA and its constituency funded 50 percent of Heifer's tsunami rebuilding efforts, a $2 million campaign, while Heifer donors provided the remaining amount.
At the end of December 2005, Heifer Headquarters and Heifer Nepal had forwarded $559,364.04 to four tsunami-relief projects located in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
"Since the project activities only began after we sent funding to the partners at the beginning of July, this report reflects many start-up activities," said Mahendra Lohani, PhD, vice president of the Heifer Asia/South Pacific program. "Subsequent reports will show more results after the families have received training and animals."
In India, Heifer will work through a national nongovernmental organization to implement a livestock model for the rehabilitation of 2,930 tsunami-affected families. The project will provide 1,465 families with 2,540 goats, 130 rams, and 11,000 breeding chicks. The other 1,465 families will be assisted through the "passing on the gift" strategy where families share their animals' offspring with other families.
From July to December 2005, Heifer identified project partners in India. Other activities include the formation of female-oriented self-help groups and the completion of several project-planning workshops.
The project in Indonesia will help 1,300 farming families and 200 fishing families rebuild their lives by providing them with livestock, fishing tools, and agricultural inputs, such as rice, beans, and maize. Participants will be trained in livestock management, horticulture, and community-based disaster management.
Heifer prepared for the project's implementation from July to December 2005 by recruiting project staff, including a program manager, program officer, and finance and administration officer. The staff collected equipment such as a vehicle for field visits. Heifer also conducted a screening of project partners, among other activities.
In Sri Lanka, Heifer will mobilize affected families to reactivate and improve their livelihoods through integrated farming. The project will initially assist 610 families by providing them with 250 cattle, 20,000 chicken, 164 goats, and 40 fishing boats. Heifer will aid another 610 families using the "passing on the gift" strategy. During the six-month period, the organization collected proposals from NGOs and district consortiums interested in participating in the first cycle of the project.
Among other activities in Sri Lanka, the local organizations are participating in a baseline survey designed to capture the socioeconomic conditions prevalent at the beginning of the project.
In Thailand, nearly 300 fishing families need urgent assistance to restore their livelihoods, according to Heifer's report. Using Heifer-provided grants, local government offices and NGOs will provide livestock, mangrove trees, fishing equipment, and training to help revitalize the families' incomes.
Though many NGOs in Thailand have provided temporary relief to the affected families through monetary aid or emergency rehabilitation, Heifer has had difficulty finding organizations that are interested in partnering for long-term, sustainable development projects. As a result, Heifer reported that the project would officially begin in early 2006.