The Common Good
March-April 2002

Cows for Peace

by Rose Marie Berger, Jodi Hochstedler | March-April 2002

Heifer International came up with a unique solution to a sticky problem. In the 1997
Albanian civil war, more than 500,000 weapons were stolen from military depots.

Heifer International came up with a unique solution to a sticky problem. In the 1997 Albanian civil war, more than 500,000 weapons were stolen from military depots. Now there is an excessive number of guns, light arms, and grenades hiding under the beds and in the barns of civilians. The Albanian army has promised the United Nations that it will find and destroy those weapons. Heifer International, known for its programs that deliver food- and income-producing animals and training to millions of poor families, offered to help the Albanians by suggesting a swap. For every three weapons turned in, a family will receive a pregnant Holstein dairy cow.

The "cows for peace" project is going great guns. Not only does it provide poor farming families with a basic, self-sustaining necessity, but it also avoids the political quagmire that comes with a "cash for weapons" exchange, which can lead to looting and encourage more theft in the future.

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