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:

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:

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