About the Impact Center

This center was was developed to provide ECHO services to help those in East Africa who work with the poor more effectively, especially in the area of ​​agriculture and alternative methods. ECHO East Africa works as a basic training center giving technical assistance to help organizations and community development workers to work more effectively to reduce hunger.



Services

  • Conduct research and development on locally appropriate sustainable agriculture practices
  • Collaborate with, and provide networking opportunities for, development agencies working in East Africa
  • Provide garden displays and demonstrations of agricultural options
  • Provide agricultural resources for study
  • Demonstrate alternative training methods, including creative collaboration and exhibitions
  • The ECHO seed bank provides packaged seeds, as well as seed exchange opportunities and seed conservation education.
  • Training for home gardens (organic gardens, kitchen gardens, gardens, bags and manufacture of peat)
  • Training and visits to fruit tree nurseries
  • Organization of conferences, workshops, forums, exchange visits, and training in best practices
  • Network between farmers and other development partners
  • Conduct agricultural fairs
 

Contact:

Erwin Kinsey

ECHO East Africa Impact Center
P O Box 15205
Arusha Tanzania

eastafrica@echonet.org

 

East Africa Updates

Seed Exchange From Mbeya to Arusha, A Story of James and Jennifer Kahurananga 2018-09-05

Guest Post from ECHO East Africa
By Malvery Begley, US Peace Corps volunteer

Arusha Conservation Agriculture Forum (ACAF) was formed after the first Farming God's Way training, when participants wanted to support conservation agriculture. Chrispin Mirambo was the first secretary and since the beginning of ECHO, ECHO has taken on a main role to host and be ACAF’s current secretariat. ACAF members are comprised of various NGOs and governmental organizations within the Arusha area; TPRI, MWIVATA, Horticulture Tengeru, local farmers, journalists and teachers make up the majority of members. These stakeholders meet after every three months to discuss current issues in conservation agriculture and other work that is being implemented. The ACAF members have benefited from learning various techniques and better practices from surrounding organizations and institutes in the Arusha region of Tanzania. In 2014 ACAF created a seed exchange initiative where local farmers can exchange indigenous seed varieties with other farmers. Since ACAF has been established, the seed exchange has been held three times. Members of ACAF and participants of the seed exchange program have encouraged ECHO to continue and increase the program because of its huge benefits to farmers.

Within one of the previous seed exchange days at an ACAF meeting in 2016 James and Jennifer Kahurananga, residents of Arusha Tanzania, attended and met with a farmer from Mbeya, a southern region of Tanzania. The Kahurananga couple received from the Mbeya farmer seeds from a local variety of corn. Following the seed exchange they also took cuttings of Chaya and Canavalia from the ECHO seed bank. After the last seed exchange within the most recent ACAF meeting, August 2018, Mr and Mrs Kahurananga phoned Charles Bonaventure informing that the seeds which they received from a previous seed exchange are still being eaten to this day. The couple invited ECHO staff to their home in Sakina, Arusha to see the success from their experience in the seed exchange. ECHO staff visited their home and upon arriving they were surprised at the success of the Kahurananga’s home gardens.

James and Jennifer Kahurananga showed ECHO staff the various crops they have in their area. Although they are living in the main city, they have used every inch of green space in their property to grow food. The Kahurananga’s have Cow pea, Canavalia, Orange flesh sweet potatoes, bananas, Cassava, celery, onions, cherry tomatoes and Chaya. The couple told ECHO visitors that they have received the majority of the seeds they plant from ECHO and have given around 200 cuttings of Chaya to their neighbors, family and friends. Jennifer Kahurananga says they have not purchased tomatoes at the local markets in almost a year since planting cherry tomatoes, adding that they have plenty of greens and bananas to eat as well.

After seeing their garden, the Kahurananga’s shared some of the delicious corn produced from seeds they received at the ACAF seed exchange. While corn was being eaten, James Kahurananga shared, “I have benefited so greatly from the seed exchange, exchanging seeds is so helpful. Even if a type of seed is not available at the store, we have so many types of seeds that are native that we can be sharing with one another. These native seeds are better, more resilient, they improve the environment, and best of all, they taste better! I wish that I could have better access to native varieties of food”.

Mrs. Jennifer Kahurananga added, “I didn’t know before that ECHO existed. I think there is a huge need to publicize the availability of native seeds, more people need to know about agriculture of native species. If I see something is native to Tanzania or to my culture, I take it”. The Kahurananga’s and ECHO staff exchanged more ideas about their garden and ways to improve it. The couple said they are wanting to use more green manure cover crops in their barren areas and using extra cherry tomatoes to make tomato paste. The couple is looking forward to the next seed exchange, and already has some native species of their own to exchange with other local farmers.

Below are some pictures of the Kahurananga’s story :

Kahurananga

Latest Resources: East Africa

About East Africa

Food insecurity has increased significantly in East Africa due to the rapid increase in population, with an increase of 150% by 2050. Over 40% of children in East Africa are malnourished. The largest number of these children are orphaned and living in difficult circumstances. Most of the rural population lives in poverty, relying on a subsistence lifestyle. Some of the reasons for this situation include:

  • A High rate of loss of yield
  • Underdeveloped, weak markets, farmers lack the infrastructure to improve thier value chains
  • Minority farmers and herdsmen in the region, don't have adequate access to agricultural services, continuing education or access to formal training
  • Increased pressure forcing families to cultivate a little land, which results in land degradation and loss of sustainability in food production
  • Drought, especially in arid pastoralist areas.
  • Deforestation
  • Flooding
  • Climate

Where we are located

If you are driving North from Arusha, it is 15 km north of the city along A104 (the main road). After you see Mount Meru University on the right, the office will be another half km north and on the right-hand side of the road.
If you are driving South from Nairobi, it is 96 km south of the Namanga border crossing along A104 (the main road). As you see Mount Meru getting closer, pay attention and look for the Habari Maalum Station which will be on the left-hand side of the road.
 
If you come via public transportation, ride the bus (dala dala) from Arusha to Ngaramtoni; then take another bus from Ngaramtoni to the Habari Maalum Radio Station. Guards and staff will be happy to give you directions to the front door of the ECHO office.