After the collapse of communism, the Albanian economy suffered a total breakdown, engulfing the whole country in severe poverty and prompting many young people to emigrate to neighboring countries. An upheaval in 1997, provoked by the collapse of get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, exacerbated the poverty and instability. Almost all of the military depots were broken into and over 500,000 weapons were taken by the population. Over 2000 fatalities and thousands of injuries occurred in one year.
The United Nations Development Program, with the help of HPI Albania, is implementing a pilot exchange program aimed at encouraging people to turn in weapons in exchange for heifers. The goal is to “exchange death from weapons with a better life from animals,” since for every two or three weapons handed over, one pregnant heifer is given to each participant.

Peace Project is implemented in two communities in two districts in Albania. 162 guns and 8000 munitions are actually collected by poor farmers, providing them with the gift of pure breed heifers. The weapons are given to the Albanian Army for destruction.

The project objectives are:

To support the surrender of weapons of the local population (in exchange to heifers)
To increase milk production and improve family farm income and nutrition
To increase income and provide employment.
To encourage peace in the communities.