Letters from Ecuador Part 3 - Heifer Ecuador

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Letter 3 - Heifer Ecuador

Heifer Ecuador operates in a small country with diverse geography and ecosystems, social and ethnic groupings, and economic levels. Heifer staffer María Fernanda noted that due to human activity, the destruction of the natural ecosystem is accelerating. And the country has continued implementing national policies that are unfavorable to the smallholder farmers — even though the main reason that Ecuador has sufficient food is due to the existence of those very farmers, who fill the basic Ecuadorean food basket composed of potatoes, meat, oil, milk, rice and corn.

Given these realities, what is Heifer Ecuador to do? Here is some of what María Fernanda narrated:
     We believe in the capacities of the people.
     We support innovative initiatives that come from the smallholder perspective.
     We defend the right of smallholders to:
   produce, from the level of seeds onward;
   recover and maintain traditional knowledge;
   manage their own resources;
   have access to credit; and
   sell direct and locally to consumers.
     We work with community-level organizations of smallholders and indigenous people and with non-profits.
     We emphasize gender equity, as among women there are immense amounts of knowledge.
     We work in the central (Andean) and the western (coastal) provinces, not in the eastern (Amazonian) provinces.

The methods of Heifer Ecuador, broadly speaking, fall into these categories:
     Supporting agricultural production that is in harmony with nature and society — agroecology, for short.
     Managing natural resources also according to the principles of agroecology.
     Strengthening and empowering existing organizations. There is no reason to create another organization in Ecuador! We work with those grass-roots groups, which already exist. Passing-on-the-gift in the classic Heifer sense, as well as supplying seed money for member in the form of mini-loans, fit into this work.

We Heifer tourists had a lot to think about. Clearly Heifer Ecuador works in a complex country and matches its work to the complexity and demands found there.

Read more about:
 Ecuadorian newspapers highlights the work of Heifer Ecuador with rural producers.
 a Heifer Ecuador veterinarian that works with indigenous farmers and fishermen.
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