ECHO's President/CEO was able to visit Cuba for the first time ever this week, taking strides to connect the burgeoning agricultural sector and churches with ECHO's resources. These are his experiences:
Greetings everyone from Havana. Jimiro and I arrived without any delays and were escorted through imigration and customs by a very helpful official and quickly delivered into the hands of a representative of the Church who took us to our hotel. The hotel is on the coast of downtown Havana and we enjoyed walking along the seawall yesterday evening. All of the old American car you hear about in Cuba are real, it is great to watch. We got lots of pictures and even got some pictures of kids jumping off the seawall into the ocean.
Today we head into town to give a presentation on ECHO to a group of church leaders and then look around town a bit before meeting with another church group this evening.
There is amazing potential for agricultural development here and with the government making land available to the churches now, what they are asking for is some type of training on how to use the land. Private agriclture has not been developed here in the recent past and some traditional knowledge has been lost. This is a perfect time for ECHO to engage the church and the people of Cuba with the unique set of materials and skills that ECHO specializes in.
> Read More
The FAO estimates that 1 in 8 people in our world are undernourished!
One of the major points of this new study states that "Agricultural growth is particularly effective in reducing hunger and malnutrition. Most of the extreme poor depend on agriculture and related activities for a significant part of their livelihoods. Agricultural growth involving smallholders, especially women, will be most effective in reducing extreme poverty and hunger when it increases returns to labour and generates employment for the poor."
Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient to accelerate reduction of hunger and malnutrition
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 presents new estimates of undernourishment based on a revised and improved methodology. The new estimates show that progress in reducing hunger during the past 20 years has been better than previously believed, and that, given renewed efforts, it may be possible to reach the MDG hunger target at the global level by 2015. However, the number of people suffering from chronic undernourishment is still unacceptably high, and eradication of hunger remains a major global challenge.
This year’s report also discusses the role of economic growth in reducing undernourishment. Sustainable agricultural growth is often effective in reaching the poor because most of the poor and hungry live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for a significant part of their livelihoods. However, growth will not necessarily result in better nutrition for all. Policies and programmes that will ensure “nutrition-sensitive” growth include supporting increased dietary diversity, improving access to safe drinking water, sanitation and health services and educating consumers regarding adequate nutrition and child care practices.
Economic growth takes time to reach the poor, and may not reach the poorest of the poor. Therefore, social protection is crucial for eliminating hunger as rapidly as possible. Finally, rapid progress in reducing hunger requires government action to provide key public goods and services within a governance system based on transparency, participation, accountability, rule of law and human rights.
source: http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en/ > Read More
The ECHO Asia Regional Office was honored to host Erwin Kinsey, Director of ECHO's East Africa Regional Impact Center, for a week-long exchange visit. In addition to sharing ideas about key RIC activities, such as technical response and regional /country workshops and other training events, Erwin spent two days at the ECHO Asia Seed Bank for exposure to operations there. Additionally, ideas regarding RIC cooperation in research and training were discussed. Here, Erwin is pictured participating in a seed germination check at the seed bank. > Read More
Greetings from the ECHO West Africa Networking Forum! Day two of the conference was a great success. Attendees spent the day with a busy schedule - filled with plenty of interesting sessions to attend, several knowledgeable people to meet, and lots to learn. > Read More
After a time of devotions and worship, our day started with three excellent resource speakers. Dr. Sawadogo, a scientist and researcher who spoke at ECHO's 2011 Florida International Conference, outlined several agriculture technologies that have been utilized in the northwestern part of Burkina Faso. He discussed practical tools such as zai holes, half moons, rock bunds, banka, grass fields, and many more. After Dr. Sawadogo, Dr. Abdou Tentouano, an agricultural scientist who works for AVRDC, discussed developments being made in vegetable breeding throughout the continent of Africa, and how those
improvements are affecting West Africa. Dr. Tenkouano gave an excellent framework for these improvements, and how they are connected to family nutrition, small-holder farm economics, and economic development of a nation. Finally, Ahmed from AFRICARE gave a detailed overview of SRI (System of Rice Intensification), it's potential, and
how it had been adopted by producers in Mali.
Each of these morning resource talks provided practical, hands-on knowledge that seemed to spark new ideas throughout the forum - evidenced by how active the afternoon 'Q & A" sessions were with each of these speakers.
Today marked the halfway point of the conference, and it was evident that today's presenters were able to build on the momentum of what was taking place. Speakers seemed to tie details back into the topics being discussed by other speakers, weaving their discussions back through common themes that had been presented the first day. It was exciting to see those pieces come together.
Throughout the morning, it seemed as though speakers were reminding delegates of a quote that Tim Albright had read the morning previous, a familiar quote on ECHO's Global Farm as it was recently added to the tour path. The quote reads: "The purpose of education is not knowledge, but action" Herbert Spencer, English philosopher (1820 - 1903). It will be exciting to hear stories from how these three talks were put to work.
> Read More
ECHOcommunity.org is ECHO's networking site geared toward anyone working with agriculturalists around the world! Membership is free for qualified development workers! This update is posted in the East Africa group, specifically for those working under challenges common to East Africa. Join today!
|Posted By Amy VanNocker, 2 hours ago
I arrived at the ECHO East Africa Impact Center a couple weeks ago to begin my work here as a Technical Advisor, and am getting settled in with a lovely host family not far from the office. Erwin returned from a visit to the ECHO Asia Impact Center soon after I arrived, and together with local staff, we're having a productive week. We're currently in dry season, and this side of Arusha in particular is extremely dusty. Thus, the arid land around our office is a good representation of the broader region's challenges. To ensure we have good inputs as our demonstration plots gain momentum, we began by focusing on building a Hafir and making compost. The office is located inside the Habari Maalum (HM) complex, which conveniently houses a functioning tree nursery as well. HM staff advised us regarding typical water flow patterns, and together we chose a good location and installed the Hafir. It looks great! We'll be installing some gutters soon, as well as other types of water catchments, and anticipate the rains will begin in mid-October. (For information about the construction and use of a Hafir, click here:http://www.globalservicecorps.org/site/hafirs) *
This is Masaai country, so finding a source for manure was as easy as visiting the neighbor's boma(homestead), and buying some of that precious nitrogen from the bottom of the cow pen. Here at HM we've worked with the nursery manager to harvest trees he no longer wanted on the grounds. Finding greens for the compost is difficult in this climate, so we're grateful for those leaves, and for the branches and posts needed for constructing the pile. We'll be pruning back a mulberry tree later today for the same uses, plus the HM nursery manager will then have some cuttings for further propagation. It's been a good partnership so far, and I think we're all enjoying the fellowship.
Our days are filled with the small tasks that occupy a new office - repairs on truck and the wheelbarrow, logistics of getting a reliable internet connection, establishing a paper trail of finances and official documents, and a constant sweeping away of the vumbi (dust) that persistently covers everything. We've also had nice impromptu visits from local development workers interested in our purpose, and of course, shared lots of chai (tea).
At this early stage, we're also spending time laying out the vision for this Impact Center. Just like ECHO Florida, we aim to connect with "agricultural change agents” who work directly with small farmers. Especially if you're working in East Africa, tell us how we might be helpful in your work alleviating hunger. What needs do you see that are not currently met by the existing development community? In what areas do you need more research or technical support to inform your work? We look forward to hearing from you – please leave comments below, or contact contributors / administrators directly.
All the photos you see here are from a different Hafir construction project led earlier this year by Global Service Corps (GSC) and Erwin Kinsey.
* We have chosen to use stronger plastic liner than GSC used at the time of writing that article, so pricing is not exact.
Day Two is off to a great start! We have 157 registered delegates from 17 African countries and 4 others!
For more photos, visit our Facebook page!
The morning commenced with the opening ceremonies, and we were honored with the presence and encouraging speach of a representative of the Minister of Agriculture. Robert Sanou began the day with prayer and welcomed all of our delegates. ECHO COO Tim Albright presented the delegations from each country. ECHO CODO David Erickson represented ECHO, sharing all that we hope to provide for each of the delegates in attendance!
Some of the highlights include: Tony Rinaudo and his presentation on Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration or FMNR; Tim Watkins presented both a plenary session and a practicum on Foundations for Farming or FFF.
There is a diversity of interest among the delegates, so all of the workshops are well attended. The most popular, though was Maximizing the Economic Benefit from Farming. It was literally FULL!
One delegate mentioned that they were very excited about Craig's biogas presentation and that they have been waiting since last Forum to find out what they were doing wrong.
> Read More
Excitement is building in Ouagadougou (Wah-ga-doo-goo) in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Delegates have been awaiting this networking opportunity for months as the date has grown steadily closer!
Registration went smoothly. This afternoon we closed registration around 5:30 or so and there were over 100 registered. A number of people come in tonight since then and we are opening registration up again tomorrow morning at 7 am.
The Minster of Agriculture and possibly the Minister of Security will both be present tomorrow for the opening ceremonies. The excitement is building and already networking is beginning to take place before we officially begin!
> Read More
We wish to express our extreme appreciation for the Lee County Sheriff's Department and WINK News for their support today.
As you may have heard on the news, two vehicles were stolen from ECHO last night. These vehicles included two golf carts that are vital to ECHO's farm operations.
Summer is an extremely busy time for us at ECHO, with numerous work teams and summer volunteers that need these vehicles to complete their work. It is also a very challenging time financially for all organizations in our community that rely on donations.
We are very grateful for the Sheriff's Department's quick and thorough response, and WINK News for getting the word out about this crime but more importantly, getting the word out about the extremely important work that ECHO is doing throughout the world.
Though this is disappointing, we are not discouraged! ECHO exists to reduce hunger and improve lives and we will continue to do just that. We invite you to join us. Your donation can be put to immediate use to help ECHO continue operations and replace these stolen vehicles.
To donate, click HERE > Read More
This video brings the food shortages in the Sahel into a whole new light. If you have been to ECHO before, you know what is possible. Partner with us to prevent this hunger crisis tomorrow and for the next generation!
> Read More
A Glimpse at Our Most Commented Articles
Please login/register to follow this blog.