“I see ECHOcommunity.org as a tool that opens up a host of new opportunities to network creative solutions to hunger....I think we have only just begun to tap into its amazing potential.” -- Dr. Tim Motis
The word network as we know it today is less than 70 years old. It is no coincidence that the concept of an extensive group of people connected by a particular interest or cause has emerged around the same time as the world’s communications revolution.
As a network dedicated to connecting those who are working to end hunger, ECHO understands this concept well. ECHO also recognizes that networks develop with technology. The growth of ECHOcommunity.org bears witness to this.
Since its launch in October 2011, ECHOcommunity.org has become the hub for ECHO networking. Members share resources, participate in regional groups and forums, contribute to blogs and stay on top of ECHO conferences and workshops through the event calendar.
“I see ECHOcommunity.org as a tool that opens up a host of new opportunities to network creative solutions to hunger,” Tim Motis, Director of ECHO’s Ag Tech and Research Department said. “Networking has always been a key element of our efforts to identify and disseminate information on proven practices that really make a difference in the lives of small-scale farmers. ECHOcommunity.org helps us do this more effectively, giving us the functionality needed to build an international community of change agents actively engaged in helping small-scale farmers produce food under difficult growing conditions. It is exciting to see the growth in ECHOcommunity.org, and I think we have only just begun to tap into its amazing potential.”
Years ago, when ECHO Network members wanted to connect with others working in their areas, they wrote to ECHO asking for names and addresses. ECHO, wishing to protect identities, would forward those requests by mail or email to any appropriate connections, asking them to reach out to the original person and make a connection. It was effective, but cumbersome.
Today, a network member can log onto ECHOcommunity.org and search by country or even by city immediately. Our software identifies network members on an interactive map, helping people to connect with others working in very similar situations.
This year, ECHOcommunity.org has seen unprecedented growth. The number of total active members grew from 3,121 in December 2012 to 6,115 in December 2013. These members are coming from 165 countries around the world.
New features at ECHOcommunity.org are making communication simpler and more efficient. Responses to technical requests - the heart of our ministry to network members - are completed within a day of receiving them.
As always, ECHOcommunity.org functions as a prime repository of information. We are building on that foundation to increase the capacity for members to creatively network sustainable solutions to hunger.