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ECHO East Africa Arusha Symposium 2015

3rd-5th February, 2015 | Arusha, Tanzania

Event presentations are now available for download.

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ECHO East Africa Regional Impact Center

The ECHO East Africa Impact Center seeks to extend the services of ECHO to help those working with the poor in East Africa to be more effective, especially in the area of agriculture and livestock management. The ECHO East Africa Impact Center functions primarily as a technical support organization helping community development organizations and workers operate more effectively.

Why East Africa?
Over the past decade, food insecurity has increased for East Africa's rapidly growing population, expected to increase 150% by 2050. This will require higher food production yet it has been declining over the last 40 years. Africa is a net importer of food. Hunger has increased with over 40% of its children malnourished. A large number of these are orphans and vulnerable children who rely on economically stretched extended families. A majority of the rural population lives in poverty and rely on subsistence lifestyles. The causes of this situation include:

  • Inappropriate, conventional extension approaches promoting high external input farming practices unaffordable to the poor, and which have not availed surpluses for urban production nor sustained smallholder rural families with nutritious produce throughout the year
  • A high percentage of food produced is lost before consumption
  • Poorly developed markets, value chains and infrastructures
  • Few farmers and fewer pastoralists in the region have access to agricultural extension, continuing education or access to formal credit.
  • Communities in many areas have become highly dependent upon food distributions.
  • In pastoralist areas, the mostly illiterate population seeks barriers against rustling and wild predators, disease among their livestock, and land alienation to agriculturalists.
  • Increased land pressure forcing families to cultivate marginal, erosive lands, with resultant environmental degradation and unsustainable food production.
  • Recurring drought particularly in drier pastoralist areas. Rainfall patterns have become more concentrated within fewer months, forcing community members to try earlier maturing crops and strategies to harvest water at home and in fields.
The public and private sector including non-government organizations in each country in the region seek to provide alternatives and opportunities for small farmers to increase the availability and consumption of locally produced food. ECHO has a unique role to play to guide these stakeholders, because

  • ECHO emphasizes regenerative methods which require low external inputs, enhance the environment through conservation field practices, and increase yields in dry years while improving soil fertility and water retention.
  • ECHO emphasizes self-reliance, low waste and optimizing utility
  • ECHO promotes alternative technologies such as improved food storage, solar processing, water harvesting, use of food sources from the wild, and vaccinations to reduce losses of livestock and poultry. These interventions can help buffer the effects of drought and reduce drudgery especially for women.
  • ECHO offers responces which are realistic, appropriate and within the reach of the poor.
Since the opening of the ECHO East Africa Impact Center in 2012, it has hosted regional conferences, on-site consultations, and workshops within the East Africa region. By sharing ideas, resources, appropriate technologies, seeds, and focusing on the needs of agriculturalists and pastoralists, the center effectively creates a more sustainable network within East Africa and beyond. 

Interested in learning more about the East Africa Impact Center? Feel free to contact us:

Erwin Kinsey - Director of the ECHO East Africa Impact Center

Email: ekinsey@echonet.org
Telephone: +255-754-480184 / +255-684-494187

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 15205
Arusha, Tanzania
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New! 2014 ECHO East Africa Nursery Catalog


Interested in purchasing difficult to find trees, or highly nutritious perennial greens to grow? This year the demonstration garden and nursery are full of seedlings and trees bound for homes and projects throughout the region. We cannot send plants by mail but you are welcome to browse our 2014 catalog before visiting our center in Arusha HERE

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"I want to visit the ECHO East Africa Center in Arusha. 
How do I get there?"
Drive northwest 8 km from Arusha toward Nairobi, past Ngaramtoni, past the Mt.Meru University, past the Chinese road camp’s two entrances and past a HUGE billboard on the left. Turn right at the green ECHO/Habari Maalum Bustani ya Miti sign, and go up the rough dirt road for 200 meters, passing a tall cement wall on the left. Just past that wall, turn left through a metal gate (there is a small sign here for the bustani) and wind your way up through the tree nursery to the ECHO Office which is well marked. If you are coming via public transportation, take a daladala from town to Ngaramtoni, then take another daladala from Ngaramtoni to the Redio Habari Maalum compound. The guards and radio staff can happily give you walking directions from the front gate to our office. Karibuni wote!
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