Reflections from West Africa

by Tim Albright, ECHO COO

I was a privileged to attend the 3rd West Africa Forum in Ouagadougou. It was reassuring to see how many returnees attended but even more encouraging to see how ECHO’s training is beginning to have its desired impact on people’s lives. One attendee who came to the 2010 and 2012 Forums (and learned about Moringa), paid for a display table and sold at least 10 distinct Moringa products that he and his wife are now producing. These ranged from Moringa powder capsules to shampoo to dehydrated food packets that can be added to sauces.

ECHO champions, Emile and Josué, shared their stories and led an afternoon workshop on Foundations for Farming (FFF). Their animated testimonies were contagious and produced great responses and warm applauses of appreciation for their efforts. Emile has recently opted to model FFF in an area that is highly visible along the road but has extremely poor soil. His family is from the lineage of the “Chef de Terre” (those in charge of land use and distribution) in the village. When he began working this poor quality land, it provoked significant questions since he controls access to the more productive land. This obviously sparked the interest level of the surrounding community. Furthermore, when his harvest was so much better than everyone else’s, people began to take notice. One farmer tried FFF on his cotton field and had tremendous results!

 One of the pertinent lessons of the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 is not how many talents one has but rather what one does with his/her talent(s). In other words, how faithful you are with what you have. It was a true blessing to see that faithfulness in action in the lives of so many at the West Africa Forum.