Off the back of a recent Guardian article, we've put together the following comment, which tells you about the power of our long-term social development and gender equality training.

Can you give a woman a cow and expect her to change the world? No. But it can be the start of a journey to empowerment.

Suppose that woman is part of a wider group of women – all subsistence farmers, all with little formal education. They receive training in how to manage cows, how to use their manure, how to save and invest money from milk sales, and how to work well together.

They also learn about gender issues – as do the men. They then help each other build cow shelters and grow fodder. They put the effort in because they can picture the cow giving their children milk.

When the cow arrives, it gives them milk, makes their children healthy, and gives them a surplus to sell and improve their lives. They educate their children - including their daughters. They gain in confidence and pride. They develop their farms and can call themselves businesswomen. They have some clout, both at home – where they share decision-making with their husbands – and in their wider community.

They can then talk to their fellow group members about what else they need. Clean water? They can lobby their district authority for a borehole. A school for their children? They can link up with others in their community and set one up themselves.

Slowly, and at first just on a small scale, they can start to change their community. From here, they – or perhaps their daughters – might think about making changes on a bigger scale.

This is Send a Cow's process. It involves working with communities for up to five years, giving them a hand-up rather than a hand out. Training in farm work is essential – but so is the training we carry out in social development and gender equality. It’s all part of the bigger picture to help communities become self-sufficient and feel empowered.

You can’t expect any one woman with a cow to change the world – but by bringing communities and genders together, they can at least begin to change their own worlds.