Retired since June 2004, Rosalie Sinn served as a staff member of Heifer International for 39 years. During her career with the organization, she has served as Northeast Regional Director, Director of Development, Senior Advisor to the President, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. She has a Master of Animal Science degree from the University of Connecticut where she taught Dairy Goat Management. She is the author of “Raising Goats for Milk and Meat”, which has been published internationally as well as in the U.S. She is the founder of Women in Livestock Development (WiLD), a Heifer International initiative focusing on the needs of women as they move toward self-reliance. At Heifer International , she led and worked on projects in 25 countries. She and husband Paul live in Manomet, Massachusetts.
In 1944, farmer Dan West, a volunteer for the Children of Brethren Relief, was passing out food during the Spanish Civil War, when he was struck by the realization that the gift of livestock — and the knowledge to manage them — could represent a lasting contribution to the betterment of the world. Thus was born Heifer International and its “four-footed attack on hunger.” In the 60 years since that time, Heifer International has employed a grass-roots approach to assisting hungry people in more than 100 countries.
Heifer International places animals that produce milk, meat, eggs, wool and draft power in the right environment and with the right training so that people may climb out of poverty and live a life of dignity and self-reliance. The organization requires that recipients pass on the gift to others by donating at least one offspring from animals they receive to others. Though dairy cattle were the first animals donated — to Puerto Rico in 1944, animals placed these days may be camels, yaks, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, ducks, chickens or water buffalo. The key is to match the right animals in the right environment and carefully select the right people to train the recipients.
The organization has been working in Ecuador for three decades in partnership with the Peace Corps, 4-H Foundation, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture and farmers. Tens of thousands of Ecuadorians have been helped with eight different species of animals, including bees. Women there now knit 120 sweaters per month in their spare time and export them through a cooperative formed for the purpose. In China, a dairy goat project proved successful after the goats placed by Heifer International were crossed with local breeds, enhancing their meat qualities. In Tanzania, dairy cattle and dairy goats have proved to be the key to a better standard of living for hundreds of families.
In 1990, Heifer International increased its focus on women, holding the first international conference on Women in Livestock Development (WILD). Although women represent half the population, it is estimated they do 80 percent of the farm work, yet control only 10 percent of the wealth and own only 1 percent of the land. As a result of Heifer International’s efforts, more women now own livestock. When the organization introduced camels to Tanzania, 30 women were among the recipients.
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