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.


  • 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


Erwin Kinsey

ECHO East Africa Impact Center
P O Box 15205
Arusha Tanzania



East Africa Updates

Jack Bean as an effective GMCC in East Africa 2018-02-06

Just one year ago the Mafie family, Kaneli and Happiness, learned about the value of using Green Manure Cover Crops (GMCCs) to improve the soil on their farm.  Mr. and Mrs. Mafie’s farm consists primarily of coffee and bananas however they also have a corn field intercropped with beans, 60 vanilla vines, beds of spinaches, hot peppers, passion fruits and papaya trees.

The farm is located on an incline at the foothills of Mt. Meru near their home in  Njyeku village of Arumeru, District Tanzania. This area is particularly susceptable to soil erosion due to strong rains, and the Mafies are combating this soil erosion and improving moisture retention by planting Canavalia Ensiformis, known as "Jack Bean." Canavalia, is a cover crop that is highly encouraged to farmers for increasing nitrogen levels in the soil and providing shade for the soil.

Banana planting with Jack Bean as a cover crop

The banana farm using Canavalia Ensiformis (Jack Bean) as a green manure cover crop.

One year on, when entering the coffee and banana farm, it is obvious to see that the soil is well covered by Canavalia, which has helped reduce top soil erosion during strong rains. In addition they tested the impact of Canavalia on the open area of thier maize farm. They found that Canavalia was able to cover the soil, instead of it being open and bare and the canavalia was causing greater moisture retention and therefore healthier maize.

The Mafies’ continue to show neighbors and other farmers their success in using Canavalia. Kanaeli and Happiness hope that within their community the use of Canavalia will expand and a market among smallholder farmers can develop.

Mr. Mafie reports that the one kilo of Canavalia seeds from the ECHO East Africa Seed Bank was divided in half and shared with another farmer; the half kilo of seeds planted has now produced just over ten kilos. From their first harvest of ten kilos, they re-planted seven kilos and successfully sold the other kilos to local farmers. The harvest from the seven kilos planted is pictured below together with individually packaged half kilos to sell to local farmers. The couple says that they are continuously harvesting Canavalia and are expecting to continue using and performing more trials on how Canavalia can further support their farm.

Processing Jack Beans

Drying the Jack Beans

Jack Bean Multiplication

Jack Beans processed and ready for distribution.


ECHOcommunity has many resources available on using green manure cover crops like Canavalia Ensiformis.


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

Drive to the North West 8 km from Arusha to Nairobi, after Ngaramtoni, University of Mount Meru, the camp two Chinese road, and after a huge hit on the left. Turn right at the sign of a large tablet of ECHO green / garden trees specific information and follow the dirt road a distance of 200 meters, passing a concrete wall on the left. Once the wall, turn left through the iron gate (there are small signs here of the garden) and forward through a tree nursery and office ECHO which has marked. If you come to via public transportation, bus riding from town to ngaramtoni; then another bus from ngaramtoni climbed up Radio News Special. Guards and staff will be happy to give you directions to the front door of the ECHO office in East Africa.