Amy VanNocker and Vanessa Reed
Annual leafy greens grow quickly, are typically more tolerant of shade than fruit bearing vegetables (e.g., tomato and pepper), and do not require a lot of space. They can be grown in small gardens or containers near people’s homes, and are easily incorporated into many traditional dishes for added nutrition. Last year, we evaluated ten varieties (Table 1) of annual leafy greens for their potential to produce large amounts of leafy biomass quickly, grow well in the sub-tropics, and resist bolting (premature flowering and seeding) while still producing seed. Heat tolerance was important to us, so most of the varieties we grew are of Asian origin. In conducting this trial, we became familiar with promising varieties that were new to our seed bank. Based on the results and information summarized below, ECHO staff added four varieties of seed to our seed bank collection, trial packets of which are now available to our international network.
At the Southeast Asia Conference in October 2011, ECHO launched the new ECHOcommunity.org website and internet portal for our network members. Since it has been up and running for a year, we decided to update our readers about how this site is being used. As of September 30th, 17,136 individuals or organizations have visited the site. They have viewed 234,596 pages, with an average of 6.90 pages per visit, and spent an average of 7 ½ minutes per visit. These visitors represent over 169 different countries, and over 60 different languages. We now have over 3543 active members, with 1262 of them having joined ECHO since the website was launched in October 2011.
Nathaniel Kamban and Ray Norman
Inclusive development has become increasingly a priority for development organizations. This focus on inclusive development has led organizations to address the particular needs of persons with disabilities in specific development sectors. One area of growing attention is in inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming. Since 2007, World Vision and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation have partnered with the Collaboratory, an applied research and project-based learning center at Messiah College, to fund the Africa WASH and Disabilities Study (AWDS). The AWDS seeks to improve the access to and use of WASH facilities by persons with disabilities in communities targeted by World Vision and the West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI) in the countries of Mali, Niger and Ghana. One of the primary ways in which the AWDS seeks to address the needs of persons with disabilities is through the development of simple, low-cost, assistive WASH technologies.