About The ECHO Asia Impact Center
The ECHO Asia Impact Center seeks to extend the services of ECHO to help those working with the poor in Asia to be more effective, especially in the area of agriculture. The ECHO Asia Impact Center functions primarily as a technical support organization helping community development organizations and workers operate more effectively.
Goals of the ECHO Asia Impact Center
- To represent ECHO and promote its ministry and services in the Asia/Pacific Region.
- To make appropriate technical information more widely available among persons and organizations who serve to alleviate hunger and improve the condition of the poor in Asia.
- To increase awareness of regionally important crops, animal breeds and farming systems by seeking out, sharing and promoting effective indigenous innovations related to food sufficiency and poverty alleviation.
- To increase the availability of seeds of select regionally important crops among development workers, encourage regional seed saving and sharing and determine the availability of other significant plant material.
- To encourage networking and information sharing among Asian development workers.
For over 30 years, ECHO has been helping thousands of development workers and organizations around the world to better access vital information and other resources needed to improve food production and security for small farmers and gardeners.
Despite considerable economic gains over the past three decades, due to the region's vastness, its enormous population as well as uneven economic growth, Asia remains home to two-thirds of the world's poor. Remaining challenges related to regional poverty and food insecurity include:
- More than 600 million Asians living in absolute poverty (less than $1 a day).
- By 2015, although Asia's share of the global gross domestic product is expected to approach 42 percent, the region will still be home to half of the world's poor.
- Growth in rice production, Asia's staple, has slowed and rice production areas are in decline.
- Growing resource scarcity (i.e., water) will increasingly constrain food production growth.
Sources: Asian leaders issue poverty warning, International Herald Tribune, May 4, 2008 & Reducing Poverty and Hunger in Asia: The Role of Agriculture and Rural Development, Edited by Nurul Islam, International Food Policy Research Institute, 2008.
- Hosting a biennial regional agricultural conference for development workers
- Facilitating similar national agricultural meetings and workshops throughout Asia.
- Offering the quarterly ECHO Asia Notes, a regional e-supplement to the ECHO Development Notes, offered in English and regional languages such as Burmese, Thai and Khmer.
- Providing the ECHO Asia News which highlights the regional activities of ECHO and offers a forum for partners to share their own activities, opportunities and events.
- Maintaining an ECHO Asia webpage for the purpose of disseminating and exchanging relevant technical information.
- Operating a seed bank for the purpose of providing seeds of regionally appropriate crops for development workers.
- Offering periodic courses, workshops and tours related to topics of interest for agricultural development workers in Asia.
- Consulting with regional development agencies.
With this regional office, ECHO is able to more effectively network with regional partners for the exchange of ideas, information, technology and other resources. Considering ECHO’s growing global network, such interaction will benefit small farmers in both the Asia/Pacific region and beyond.
Up to date information regarding what is happening at the ECHO Asia Regional impact center can be found at the ECHO Asia Blog.