Another Indiana Volunteers in Mission (VIM) team will be leaving Oct. 23 for United Methodist-related Africa University in Zimbabwe. The trip was initiated by an invitation from the AU for Martin Price, the founding director of ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger) located in North Fort Myers, Fla. ECHO works with the AU faculty in furthering the development of an agricultural-nutrition outreach program to small farmers and their families in Africa.
The effort is sometimes referred to as the Dream Farm or the Small Farm Resource Development Program. The focus will be in developing and discriminating information and educational programs to help subsistence farmers increase production of traditional crops and to introduce new crops that, when added to the traditional foods, can add to the nutritional value of their diets.
Providing appropriate and sustainable new technology for production and processing foods will also be considered. While some of the effort will be directed directly toward farmers in Zimbabwe, the team anticipates much of the focus will be using the “Teach the Teacher Model.” This means team members will be working with development workers and government employees from throughout the continent to empower them to work more effectively with their farmers. Students at the University, who have a burning desire to return home and help their farmers we believe, can also benefit from the program.
ECHO has years of experience in working with development workers in more than 180 countries throughout the world. Price plans to share lessons from his experience at ECHO, that the team hopes will be valuable as Africa University develops this initiative. Since ECHO is beginning to develop satellite campuses throughout the tropics, a relationship between the two institutions might develop.
Some preliminary discussions with Indiana’s Purdue University also are taking place.
Others going on the trip include Dick Dugger of Culver, one of the founders of ECHO; Bill and Dona Lou Imler of Angola; Leona Stroop and John Huie of West Lafayettte; and Marlene Toepfer of Ware, Mass.
For more information about ECHO, visit www.echonet.org.
Team members will be working with development workers and government employees…