Thursday, June 21, 2012

Live 58: Echo

This month on the Live 58 Tour we are in Tanzania.  Remember we have stopped in the Dominican Republic with trees, Haiti with water, and Rawanda with microfinance.  We are in Tanzania with ECHO.  ECHO is all about "sustainable agriculture to prevent hunger"

We have all heard the old saying, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a life time."  ECHO takes that to heart.  When hunger strikes, like during the drought in the Horn of Africa which led to a famine, something needs to happen immediately to relieve that.  Then what?  What happens when the relief effort leaves?  Hopefully they go back to farming and can grow their own food again.  ECHO helps to make sure that these rural poor can go back to farming and grow their own food.  Through education to the right people, ECHO creates sustainable agriculture for these people.  It is not a temporary solution that they are creating.  It is a permanent solution!

The particular job for Tanzania is to bring trained Agricultural Specialists there.  With the knowledge and techniques they have to share, they can impact 120,000 people in order to prevent hunger with sustainable solutions.  (The math is laid out on the Live58 website.)  I can not stress the word sustainable enough.  It is so easy to go in there and feed some people.  We feel better about ourselves and they got to eat.  Everyone's happy right?

Um..not so much.  I serve at a soup kitchen in town once a month with the youth group.  I'm happy to serve, but a part of me is unsettled because I know my service isn't getting them out of the situation.  I know that many of them will be back the next day or the next week or maybe at the next meal.  This isn't a sustainable model.  Sustainable means giving them the ability to do it themselves.  ECHO is providing long term solutions that give these people food and dignity.  Can you ask for anything better than that?

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