Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Women and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Problems and Prospects for Heifer Projects

This article looks at one of the initiatives being used to address the socio-economic needs of women in sub-Saharan Africa: Heifer Project. Heifer Project is an income-generating project in which poor women are given heifers (hybrid cows) with the aim of improving the plight of these women as well as their families. The theory behind Heifer Project is that if a cow–a productive asset–is provided to a woman and her family, they will be empowered economically and socially. This would eventually reduce the existing social and income inequalities. When a woman receives a cow, she will receive its milk both for family consumption and sale. This leads to improved health and nutritional status, increased income levels and self-esteem.

Subsequent publication: Ssewamala, F. M. (2004). Expanding women’s opportunities: The potential of Heifer projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Development in Practice, 14, 550–559. doi:10.1080/09614520410001686133

Project: Global Assets Project


Ssewamala, F. M. (2001). Women and development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Problems and prospects for Heifer projects (CSD Working Paper No. 01-11). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.