by: Darren Thomas
Global missions have been on ECHO’s radar since their establishment in 1981. From that time, lives have been drastically impacted and hunger reduced in the areas ECHO has been present.
With ECHO being a non-profit Christian organization, funds have to be acquired through donations, grants, etc., to keep the vision of ECHO alive. This vision is to honor God through sustainable hunger solutions; ECHO has received sponsored help from several organizations including Naples United Church of Christ (NUCC). Without the help of organizations like NUCC ECHO would not be able to fulfill such a powerful vision.
As NUCC saw the need at ECHO for funds; 5,000 dollars in grants were then donated from The Bargain Box at NUCC to fulfill ECHO’s mission of equipping people with resources and skills to reduce hunger and improve the lives of the poor.
At NUCC the very embodiment of giving towards missions organizations lies within The Bargain Box. The Bargain Box serves as an outlet for “meeting the needs of others”. They provide a constant fixture in serving the needs of the Naples community and meeting those needs.
The store itself strives to offer reasonably priced merchandise to community shoppers with genuine need, to others who love bargains, and to many who are committed to helping others. All funds are then donated to 50 charities of NUCC’s choosing, including St. Matthew’s House, Youth Haven, and Grace Place for Children and Families, with NUCC making significant impacts like these in the local Naples community and ECHO.
The Bargain Box is a valuable resource for any person truly in need. Behind every great organization lies a catalyst that drives them to victory, ECHO, NUCC and its volunteers at The Bargain Box stand as that catalyst for those in need.
Miracles in Action is an ECHO Network member promoting nutrition and poverty reduction in Latin America! They are doing some amazing work!
"Thought you would like to see how we are spreading chaya in Jutiapa/Jalapa, to address the terrible malnutrition in this area - which is dry, with less trees and vegetable production. At this same farm, we would also like to plant trees for seedlings to help reforest.
The Doppenberg family are Canadian missionaries working with a group of nuns with a malnutrition hospital. Two weeks ago they planted 1000s of chia seeds in soil trays, and this week, about 4,000 chaya cuttings. They are our newest "Chaya Chums", who quickly adopted this sustainable nutrition/agriculture project.
Thank you, Miracles in Action, for using what you learned at ECHO to help the poor!
Taking action on malnutrition
May 3, 2013 By
A lack of sufficient nutrients in the diet is responsible for around 2.6 million deathsof children per year, the largest killer of children in the world. Those children that do survive will be stunted in their physical growth and mental development, which can not only cause health problems but will detrimentally impact their education and earning potential for the rest of their lives. This is a risk faced by some 165 million children across the world.
This year, high-level decision makers will come together on 8th June for a Hunger summit, hosted by David Cameron, ahead of this year’s G8, and nutrition will likely be on the agenda. But what action can leaders, donors and people on the ground take to tackle undernutrition?
The Montpellier Panel, in their 2011 briefing paper on Scaling Up Nutrition, outlined the urgent need for children to receive adequate nutrition in the first 1000 days of their lives (from conception to 2 years old). It also detailed the measures the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement was taking globally to combat child undernutrition. The SUN movement works with partner countries (35 to date) to integrate nutrition into development plans across sectors such as health, education and agriculture.
In particular the SUN movement supports the following interventions and policies:
Specific Nutrition Interventions
- Support for exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding, together with appropriate and nutritious food, up to 2 years of age;
- Fortification of foods;
- Micronutrient supplementation; and
- Treatment of severe malnutrition.
- Agriculture: Making nutritious food more accessible to everyone, and supporting small farms as a source of income for women and families;
- Clean Water and Sanitation: Improving access to reduce infection and disease;
- Education and Employment: Making sure children have the energy that they need to learn and earn sufficient income as adults;
- Health Care: Improving access to services to ensure that women and children stay healthy;
- Support for Resilience: Establishing a stronger, healthier population and sustained prosperity to better endure emergencies and conflicts; and
- Women’s Empowerment: At the core of all efforts, women are empowered to be leaders in their families and communities, leading the way to a healthier and stronger world.
Recent interest has focused on the contribution of agriculture to ending hunger and malnutrition. Agriculture plays a crucial role in access to nutritious and diverse crops, affordable sources of foods and as an income source but the links between agriculture and nutrition are not always clear. Several recent reports have summarised how agricultural development can have positive outcomes for household nutrition.
In a World Bank report, released in April 2013, authors synthesise a series of guiding principles linking agriculture and nutrition from existing published guidance. These principles were grouped into four categories, namely:
- Planning for nutrition, such as incorporating explicit nutrition objectives into agricultural projects, programmes and policies; understanding the context to appreciate causes and constraints; measuring impact and working across sectors.
- Taking action, such as empowering women, managing natural resources and educating people about nutrition.
- Combining with other approaches, such as diversifying agricultural production, producing nutrient-rich crops, reducing post-harvest losses and increasing market access.
- Creating a supportive environment, such as advocating for nutrition, building local capacity and improving policy coherence and governance.
Similarly, a report and briefing paper launched recently, entitled Small scale, big impact: smallholder agriculture’s contribution to better nutrition, investigated the impact of smallholder agricultural development projects on nutrition and food security. Commissioned by the UK Hunger Alliance and produced by the Overseas Development Institute, the case studies reviewed showed that sustainable agricultural projects, such as promoting small-scale farming like home gardens and fish ponds, empowering women and complementing agricultural programmes with education, health services, and clean water and sanitation, can be beneficial for nutrition. As an example, “Child stunting was cut by 16% in three years under the rights-and-livelihoods based SHOUHARDO intervention in Bangladesh involving 400,000 households. This included the integration of home gardens, women’s empowerment, mother and child health, vitamin A supplements, awareness-raising on improved nutrition habits, immunisations, savings groups, and cash-for-work as a safety net.”
The report concludes with three ways that smallholder agriculture can have greater impact on nutrition:
- Empowering women farmers;
- Promoting home gardens and small-scale livestock and fish raising;
- Complementing agricultural programmes with education and awareness-raising on improving nutrition habits, health services, clean water and sanitation.
And three areas of recommendation for UK and G8 leaders:
- Scale up public support for small-scale environmentally sustainable agricultural systems
- Increase support for women small-scale producers
- Promote improved, more accountable and joined-up country-led nutrition and food security strategies and approaches
The June 8th Hunger Summit is an opportunity for the UK to show its commitment to nutrition and to encourage other leaders and donors to make tackling child malnutrition a global priority. Such a focus will also be important to ensure progress on nutrition is carried into the development agenda once the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.
"All week in the classes and in the gardens I thought, 'I can't believe I get to be here!' ... Thank you, ECHO, for an awesome week of training and opening up new dreams for our orphans!"
ECHO is proud to offer training courses like the one mentioned above. Follow this link to read more of her experience at ECHO's Tropical Agricultural Development Course, held last week on the ECHO Campus. > Read More
Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrate the 41st Earth Day in the United States. Here’s how some reflections from ECHO staff members from around the world:
Cara Donahue, ECHO Headquarters: (@caradonahue)
Earth Day at ECHO is part of a long-term commitment to sustainability. It encompasses making ... > Read More
Since January of this year, ECHO Asia Impact Center staff, with major involvement from Dr. Ricky Bates (Penn State University), has been carrying out research for a case study entitled, “The Small Farm Resource Center’s Current and Future Roles in Extension and Advisory Services in ... > Read More
Fort Myers, Florida, April 1, 2013— Dr. Abram J. Bicksler, Research Advisor to the ECHO Asia Impact Center, will receive the Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award, presented by the University of Illinois.
This award recognizes the meritorious contributions, research, and commitment of the University of Illinois’ young international humanitarians. Dr. Bicksler is being honored for his work on sustainable tropical agriculture in Thailand and Cambodia, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to alleviating hunger and poverty among farming communities throughout Asia. He also works with the ECHO Asia Impact Center, which provides technical support for individuals and organizations working in agriculture and community development activities among smallholder farmers throughout Asia.
Abram's current research with ECHO focuses on increasing the efficacy of extension (partnering with USAID MEAS), sustainable tropical agriculture production systems, the promotion of underutilized crops, and indigenous low-input seed saving technologies.
Abram is currently the Director of Sustainability Research for the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Prior to moving to Thailand, Abram completed his M.S. and a Ph.D. in natural resources and environmental science at the University of Illinois, which focused on the ecology and use of cover crops in sustainable vegetable production. Abram looks forward to beginning a new chapter in Chiang Mai on June 1, when he becomes the Director of ECHO Asia.
About: ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) provides sustainable options to world hunger through agricultural training, innovative options, and networking with community leaders and missionaries in 180 developing countries. ECHO seeks to find agricultural solutions for families growing food under difficult conditions. ECHO’s international headquarters is located in Fort Myers, FL.
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During March 5-7, ECHO Asia and Aloha House (http://www.alohahouse.org/) co-hosted the Philippines Agriculture Livelihood Workshop at the Aloha House Farm on the outskirts of Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the Philippines. With 30 participants from across the Philippines, as well as one attendee who traveled from Laos, the group was exposed to numerous topics and hands-on activities including:
- The principles of soil fertility
- Green manure/cover crops
- Small-scale livestock production: goats, hogs, chicken and fish
- Foliar fertilizers
- The production and use of bokashi for fertilizer and animal feed
- Perennial vegetables
- Intensive nursery production
- An introduction to seed saving
A key ECHO Asia workshop activity, an introductory seed exchange event, took place in which seed from many types of crops were shared between participants.
ECHO Asia is extremely grateful to Keith and Narcy Mikkelson and the Aloha House team for co-hosting this event.
> Read More
So, have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend an ECHO conference? For missionaries and development workers in remote areas, it's more than just workshops and speakers...
Caleb Meeks, a missionary in Tanzania, left his family for a few days for the chance to spend some time learning and networking at the ECHO Symposium. He gave us permission to share his blog post here. It is a very real view of the opportunities available to conference participants. Enjoy:
> Read More
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