In East Africa, the average ECHO trainee trains 472 others. Here's why:

Over the last year, ECHO East Africa has mobilized communities to prevent the spread of a toxic weed and invasive worm that threaten farmers’ crops and livelihoods.

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Demand for ECHO’s agricultural training events is expanding in East Africa. In the last 12 months, the East Africa team has held nine training events, directly training over 300 small-scale farmers, development workers, and extension agents in six countries. These partners overwhelmingly have communities with whom to share ECHO techniques. At the ECHO office in Arusha, they have welcomed 829 visitors to tour their grounds and learn from the different demonstrations.

Training Trainers to Impact Others 

We celebrate that ECHO trainings are inspiring other NGOs to seek additional ways to use agriculture to address the needs of those they are serving. For example, a fruitful partnership with SHARE, a non-profit organization in the region, was formed after a staff member attended an ECHO East Africa Pastoralist Symposium in Nanyuki, Kenya. The SHARE staff was so impressed with the gospel proclamation along with the sustainable agriculture methods being promoted that they asked ECHO to lead a training in the Turkana region of Kenya and decided to hire someone to lead an agricultural aspect of their organization. To ensure he was well prepared for the job, they sent him to the ECHO East Africa Impact Center for an internship.

In Their Own Words

“Erwin [ECHO East Africa Director] came to Rwanda thoroughly prepared and led an outstanding Christ-centered training program. His leadership led to the establishment of a follow-up plan that will result not only in ensuring the trainees’ implementation of what they learned, but also in the dissemination of this throughout their community and beyond”.    ~Rob, whose Virginia church sponsored a training 

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One Training Leads to Many More

Last year, ECHO began to establish a relationship with Theological Book Network (TBN). TBN is a non-profit organization with connections to more than 1,000 seminaries around the world. 

Once the students become pastors, they are often sent to remote areas of their countries to work in churches and farm to provide for the needs of their families. Training these students not only benefits the families of future pastors, but can also impact entire congregations.

Because there was a felt need among the students for training in sustainable agricultural practices, TBN invited ECHO to train on Sustainable Integrated Agricultural at Africa Renewal University in Uganda. Twenty-eight students attended the training, learning simple agricultural methods proven to advance food security, nutrition, and livelihoods. 

This event also sparked other universities to recognize the need for ECHO trainings. Two additional universities have requested for ECHO to hold training events for their students, and ECHO continues to be in discussion with TBN about how to continue to work with seminaries to provide training in sustainable agriculture.

This same multiplication is happening over and over across villages, church networks, and partner organizations throughout the region. 

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As our impact grows... our opportunities expand

Indigenous Trees Meet Indigenous Needs

The East Africa team has cultivated a diverse collection of thousands of indigenous tree saplings that they are propagating to disseminate throughout Tanzania. These trees have helped entire communities to fight erosion and build healthy soils. The staff has also been educating about these indigenous trees on radio programs broadcast throughout the Arusha area.

Serving Pastoralists in East Africa

by David Erickson, Chief Organizational Development Officer

I was just with our Team in East Africa and wanted to give you a brief update.

The Center just outside Arusha is going well.  We have gained access to some additional land, so we are expanding our demonstration plots and tree planting.  We also are developing the Center's Seedbank to expand the collection, create proper storage conditions, and link the inventory management to our global seed tracking system.  A former ECHO-FL Intern, who also served as an Interim Manager of our FL Seedbank, is on-the-ground there to set-up the new EA Seedbank.

God is clearly blessing the work!    Last April Erwin Kinsey (our Dir.) said he felt that we needed to organize a training symposium for those working with Pastoralists...but he didn't know if anyone would come.  We developed hopeful budgets and plans based on 50 attendees, and he  set to work.

Last week the Symposium took place - we had 124 attendees!  The content was powerful, challenging, instructive and often profound.  The former Africa Director for Compassion led our daily devotions from Nehemiah.  We heard from many Pastoralists themselves as well as about issues and interventions including:  animal care and vet services; water harvesting and management; sources of conflict and the pursuit of peace; the dynamics between Pastoralism, agriculture and conservation; etc.  Attendees came from Zambia and Mozambique in the South to South Sudan and Somalia in the North.  We are just now compiling the evaluations, but we heard lots of gratitude from across the spectrum of attendees. Most have asked that we organize another Pastoralist Symposium (we're tentatively planning for 2016).

God was glorified in our midst!  At our closing celebration people gave thanks to God in 22 languages!  Participants were encouraged, resourced and challenged.  Thank you SO much for what you have launched - we are very grateful!

Expanding Best Practices in Pastoral Areas

Machakos, Kenya, March 5, 2014—In the wake of numerous clashes between farmers and herders, ECHO is hoping to reduce conflict and promote sustainable pastoralist lifestyles.

According to the Star, "Decades long pastoralist conflicts and insecurity have had a devastating impact on the people, economy, development and environment. Pastoralist areas remain the least developed parts of Kenya."  - See more at: http://the-star.co.ke/news/article-157220/pastoralists-must-resolve-conflicts#sthash.7fh28yIm.dpuf

ECHO East Africa is hosting a symposium on Best Practices in Pastoralist Areas from 4th- 6th March, 2014 in Machakos, Kenya. Stimulated by the myriad of organizations working in isolation in pastoralist areas, the symposium will provide a network and training opportunity to those involved in alleviating hunger and poverty among pastoralists in East Africa.

Three mornings of plenary sessions featuring knowledgeable and experienced speakers will be followed by afternoon workshops and discussion groups led by regional pastoralist development workers and experts. Topics for the event include:

  • Pastoralism - an appropriate misunderstood livelihood under siege
  • Reconciliation and curbing livestock raiding
  • Peace-making among pastoralists
  • Wholistic management experience from Kenya
  • Sustainable animal health services in pastoralist areas
  • Community natural resource management plans
  • Mobilizing against land grabbing
  • Interfacing tourism and pastoralists
  • Conservation agriculture in pastoralist areas
  • Farmer managed natural regeneration in pastoralist areas - FMNR
  • Water storage by sand dams
  • Establishing & improving livestock markets
  • A Biblical basis to working in pastoralist areas
  • Innovative restocking
  • Index-based Livestock insurance for pastoralists

Interviews available
    Erwin Kinsey, Director of ECHO's East Africa Impact Center - 30+ years of agricultural development in East Africa
    David Erickson, Chief Organizational Development Officer - Responsible for ECHO’s International programs including Impact Centers in Thailand, Tanzania and Burkina Faso

More information about ECHO’s services is available at: www.echonet.org

About: ECHO provides sustainable options to world hunger through innovative options, agricultural training, 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.


Media Contact: Danielle Flood

17391 Durrance Road

N. Fort Myers, FL 33917

Once Upon a Value Chain in Africa

There once was a rural village in Kenya.

It had no electricity. The 90 kilometres of dirt road which separated it from the nearest market town were pockmarked with holes and virtually unnavigable during the rainy season. The maize in its fields struggled to grow in soils that had been depleted of nutrients over generations and remained thirsty for water in what was a low-rainfall region.

Whatever harvest could be mustered was headed for an uncertain fate - the crops stored for eating were constantly at risk of being pillaged by pests and diseases and any surplus crops struggled to find a market with buyers (who even then might not have offered a fair price...).

Until recently, the description above could have been how many outsiders may have depicted the tiny Kenyan village of Endau, which is about a five hour drive from Nairobi on the way to Somalia.

Instead, my recent visit told a different story - one of transition, of opportunity and of (cautious) hope.

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