Serving Pastoralists in East Africa

by David Erickson, Chief Organizational Development Officer

I was just with our Team in East Africa and wanted to give you a brief update.

The Center just outside Arusha is going well.  We have gained access to some additional land, so we are expanding our demonstration plots and tree planting.  We also are developing the Center's Seedbank to expand the collection, create proper storage conditions, and link the inventory management to our global seed tracking system.  A former ECHO-FL Intern, who also served as an Interim Manager of our FL Seedbank, is on-the-ground there to set-up the new EA Seedbank.

God is clearly blessing the work!    Last April Erwin Kinsey (our Dir.) said he felt that we needed to organize a training symposium for those working with Pastoralists...but he didn't know if anyone would come.  We developed hopeful budgets and plans based on 50 attendees, and he  set to work.

Last week the Symposium took place - we had 124 attendees!  The content was powerful, challenging, instructive and often profound.  The former Africa Director for Compassion led our daily devotions from Nehemiah.  We heard from many Pastoralists themselves as well as about issues and interventions including:  animal care and vet services; water harvesting and management; sources of conflict and the pursuit of peace; the dynamics between Pastoralism, agriculture and conservation; etc.  Attendees came from Zambia and Mozambique in the South to South Sudan and Somalia in the North.  We are just now compiling the evaluations, but we heard lots of gratitude from across the spectrum of attendees. Most have asked that we organize another Pastoralist Symposium (we're tentatively planning for 2016).

God was glorified in our midst!  At our closing celebration people gave thanks to God in 22 languages!  Participants were encouraged, resourced and challenged.  Thank you SO much for what you have launched - we are very grateful!