With over 1,000 downloads a day from people all over the world, Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) unveiled a newly designed Web site (echonet.org) Tuesday, Aug. 25, to enhance its Internet communications.
"That over 1,000 figure is downloads - not just Web hits," said Mary Moore, director of donor relations. "That's proof of how desperately our help is needed."
The ECHO Web site not only allows the public to find out more information about this international development organization, but is integral to ECHO's mission of helping those working with the poor overseas have more access to research, ideas and resources.
Visitors to the new site are not only able to download documents, but also read the ECHO blog, comment on various articles, join the ECHO network, request seeds, watch videos and podcasts and read archived issues of ECHO newsletters and documents.
"It's quite amazing," said ECHO President and CEO Stan Doerr. "We're finding it to be a major avenue for people to access our resources and allow us to communicate better with those from around the world. We're enhancing resources needed by those working with the poor around the world."
He credits Web developer Wmtek with providing an exceptional site.
"They donated a lot of their time," he said. "They've given us a Mercedes Benza for the cost of a Pinto. This is taking ECHO - which is a relatively small organization - to a whole new level."
For Rhoda Beutler, educational programs coordinator, the new site opens more doors in the educational arena.
"I'm really excited about the site. It is a great tool to keep people up to date on workshops and courses I coordinate. I'm also excited that all the agricultural documents will be in one place and available - we get calls daily from people all around the world who need that information."
"Our first Web site was in 1993," said ECHO Public Relations and Communications Manager Danielle Flood. "This new site will also be translated into three languages - English, French and Spanish."
In the future, other areas around the world could also get their own translations in more languages. The site can also share with social media such as Facebook.
Flood said two of the main ECHO staff members that worked on the project were Jeff Reach and Bob Hargrave.
To make the special introductory event fun, there was themed snacks for the many visitors and guests. "Web-page punch," "technology tea," "Googled grapes" and other "search-engine-optimized snacks" were featured at the reception.
ECHO provides sustainable solutions to world hunger through agricultural training, innovative ideas, and networking. By networking with community leaders and missionaries in 180 developing countries, ECHO seeks to find agricultural solutions for families growing food under difficult conditions.
ECHO's international headquarters is located in Fort Myers, with its Global Farm based in North Fort Myers at 17391 Durrance Road.
At the Global Farm, tours are conducted of the unique growing sites there, and there is a bookstore and shop that features unique agricultural items. The phone number is 567-3312 and new Web site is: echonet.org.