ECHOcommunity Updates

Apaikunda’s Story 2019-07-16

Guest Post By: Samantha Shpeller, ECHO East Africa Intern

Apaikunda is a mother of seven in the village of Ngyeku in Tanzania. Her husband has passed away, leaving her to care for the younger four of seven children on her own. In order to provide for them, Apaikunda works as a weeder for other people, as she does not own any land herself. The eldest three of her seven children have moved out of the house, living independently, one of whom is a brick maker (image below). In addition to the challenges of being a single parent, Apaikunda is living with HIV.

Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a disease that weakens people’s immune systems by destroying T-cells. These cells are an important component of the body’s defense system against infections. Therefore, someone living with HIV has a hard time fighting off infections which enter their body. One way to help manage HIV is to ensure you eat a healthy diet, keeping the body as nourished as possible.

Apaikunda was recruited by Safara, a Ngyeku village leader, to participate in this project. As a member of the village, she could identify the most vulnerable people more accurately than an outsider.

Apaikunda’s son, Noel’s brick making business

Apaikunda’s son, Noel’s brick making business

Upon being recruited, Apaikunda attended trainings conducted by ECHO on how to care for dairy goats. She now regularly attends group discussion’s lead by Safara for project participants in Ngyeku where farmers discuss problems they have encountered and how to manage them. At the end of training, Apaikunda was gifted a female Irish dairy goat, sponsored by Bothar. The Irish dairy goats normally produce 3-4 times more milk than the local breeds. Apaikunda’s goat is currently pregnant. She pointed out the goat’s big belly to the survey team with optimism. Apaikunda and her neighbour combined resources to build a shelter for their goats together.

Following the birth of her goat kid, the project goat will begin producing milk which Apaikunda can use as a source of food, helping her to maintain a healthy body and manage HIV. Additionally, the goat kids can be sold for income or kept as additional food supply for the family. Apaikunda is hopeful that income generated from the project will help to cover school fees and to help her make necessary repairs to her home.

Currently, a team of interns from Sokoine University of Agriculture, the University of Winnipeg and ECHO are collaborating to conduct a survey to collect baseline data about the project recipients. The purpose is to allow for a study in a few years to evaluate the project again to measure the project impact over time. This survey also allows for the farmers to provide feedback to the project as to how things are going thus far.

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Upcoming events

Student Organic Seed Symposium
Thu, 22 August 2019 » Sun, 25 August 2019


WHAT IS SOSS? An annual gathering of graduate students, researchers, farmers, and seed industry professionals working in organic seed systems. The major annual event of the Society of Organic Seed Professionals (SOSP), the parent organization that has grown out of the SOSS network. SOSP is fiscally sponsored by Organic Seed Alliance, a 501(c)3 organization.

Konferans Agrikòl Nò, Haiti Agriculture Conference (North) 2019
Mon, 26 August 2019 » Fri, 30 August 2019

Gros-Morne, Haiti

  We invite you to participate in a conference that would help strengthen connections amongst those working in the agricultural sector in Haiti and spend time learning from one another. Konferans Agrikòl Nò (Northern Agriculture Conference) will be held August 26-30 in Gros-Morne, Artibonite Department, Haiti.   This conference is tailored to encourage conference delegates and presenters to connect and learn from each other’s successes and failures. The main topics for this year inc...

Small-scale seed production and utilization
Mon, 16 September 2019 » Fri, 20 September 2019

ECHO Global Farm, USA

ECHO offers over 350 varieties in its Florida seed bank requiring diverse approaches to growing, processing, and storing seeds. This five-day course will begin in ECHO’s seed production plots to help participants better understand how crops are managed and harvested. Techniques related to both wet and dry processing of seeds will be practiced, as well as, essential tasks such as germination testing. Long-term seed storage approaches including vacuum sealing and cold storage will be explored, ...

GFRAS Annual Meeting Jaimaica 2019
Mon, 30 September 2019 » Fri, 4 October 2019

Royalton Negril (Jamaica), Jamaica

The 10th GFRAS Annual Meeting, whose topic is "Role of RAS in Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management" will take place at Royalton Negril, Jamaica between 30 September and 4 October 2019. Side Events are planned to take place on September 30th, the main meeting between October 1-3, and a General Assembly on October 4th. GFRAS Steering Committee/Board meeting is scheduled to take place between 5 and 7 October. The Annual Meeting is co-organized by the Caribbean Agricultural Extension Pro...

ECHO Asia Agriculture & Community Development Conference 2019
Tue, 1 October 2019 » Fri, 4 October 2019

Holiday Garden Hotel and Resort and The ECHO Asia Impact Center Farm and Seed Bank, Thailand

"Small Scale: Up Scale" How can we help small scale farming initiatives thrive in Asia? We can provide low-cost, innovative options that allow people to grow both their crops and their knowledge, expand their operations, and scale up! Join us October 1-4 for 3-days of networking and opportunities to share ideas, technologies appropriate for small scale farmers, and lots of practical demonstrations at the new ECHO Asia Seed Bank & Small Farm Resource Center! In addition to mor...

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