Heifer International follows a similar philosophy to that promoted by Greg Mortenson, in that activities are driven by localized needs and resources, based on extensive involvement and education of local beneficiaries, and emphasizing the importance of passing the benefits on to others.
Heifer International's activities began after World War II, recognizing the need for farmers in devastated parts of Europe to receive help in rebuilding herds of livestock and finding the means to keep the animals. Animals bought with donated funds are determined based on the agricultural resources available, the potential for marketing other products (wool or milk, for example), the wide-ranging uses possible for the animals (for transportation, help with plowing, fertilizer through use of manure), and the local culture's receptiveness and willingness to learn how to care for the animals.
Each family receiving livestock through Heifer International also commits to donating some of the offspring from their animals to other families, spreading the benefits to others and building a community involvement and system of support. http://www.heifer.org/ourwork/our-work