Heifer’s interventions are built on social capital which strengthens both cognitive and structural dimensions. Cognitive dimension includes community values, social norms, behavior and attitudes, etc. Structural dimension includes horizontal and vertical institutions like farmer groups, cooperatives, etc., their rules and regulations, and transparent decision making process. The combination of cognitive and structural dimensions creates the value-based innovative platform for value chain actors. These are essential in terms of increasing solidarity within community and network between organizations.
Heifer’s “Caring for the earth” strategy aims to build the resilience of smallholder farmers and habitats. This strategic goal has three results, namely, earth agriculture (smallholder farmers employing sustainable practices for a healthy planet and healthy people), earth opportunity (smallholder farmers adopting alternative livelihoods to close the living income gap), and earth investment (smallholder farmers partnering with impact investors and philanthropists ensuring a return on investment with an environmental benefit). Heifer Nepal aligns its activities to these globally-set goals including climate change-specific related goals and objectives.
Heifer Nepal works through women-only self-help groups (SHGs) to provide a safe space for women to learn, share and grow in the male-dominated society. Every family in a community is included in an SHG of 15-25 women, regardless of socioeconomic status, religion or caste. SHGs are organized into cooperatives and cooperatives into district unions which enables them to negotiate prices and access markets, insurance and other services.
Heifer applies the market system development approach in Livestock, Dairy, Vegetable and Local Poultry to facilitate market linkages, achieve lasting changes and increase economic opportunities for the smallholder farmers. The farmers face numbers of barriers in establishing themselves as market actors which hinders their possibility to extract benefits. Heifer has been engaging in identifying such constraints or barriers in the market system to unravel economic opportunities for the poor farmers.