Saturday, October 10, 2015

Meet Kari Jackson Bongnda; The Brain Behind SURUDEV

Kari Jackson

A quote attributed to Swami Vivekananda states that when you “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” This aphorism is an appropriate description of Kari Jackson, the Executive Director of Sustainable Run for Development-SURUDEV. Kari Jackson is a dynamic youth leader who waxes in self confidence. Some call him the climate change campaigner; others call him the agroforestry friend while others say he is Mr. Watermelon. Whatever, the truth is that this young man is setting records in Cameroon. First of all, he is rich in expedients and has the thoroughness that is very rare in youths nowadays. Kari Jackson is a good example of a good leader who has succeeded in changing lives in communities. Meet him in the field and you will agree with me that you have met an exemplary field worker. His leadership has earned him two distinct awards from Life Time Newspaper and The Eye Newspaper.
"If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better wakeup and pay attention" this was the message of Whoopi Goldberg to her exuberant young students in Sister Act. At a time when everything was crashing, chaos became congenial to the point that conventions were no longer tenable and all initiatives were ending up producing negative outcomes, something different was needed. In such a situation innovative leaders always find a way to create the needed results to succeed. Through his efforts thousands of trees have been planted in the North West Region. Of late, he partnered with the Wimbum students to plant trees at the Luh Village sacred forest. Besides, he has partnered with over twenty schools in the North West Region to that effect.
It is therefore imperative to be very practical, not hypothetical. Several youths have lost orientation in such a situation but the mightier have never sit to watch things happen negatively around. They go for the practical aspect which produces results there and there. Young Kari Jackson took Whoopi’s message like many others youths who cannot fold their hands to see mother Earth sinking into the doldrums. Though, with everything in the head and nothing in the pocket, Kari Jackson and other youths created SURUDEV to empower youths and farmers, community leaders and policy makers in sustainable practices. SURUDEV which started like a joke is breaking grounds from tree planting to bio-farming. “Our team is young, dynamic, empathetic and willing to be challenged. We are all passionate. I think this is what keeps us going. We are elated we can be identified amongst those doing great things and we believe it is a source of encouragement”, Kari says.
Harping on the successes recorded so far by this group of youths under his leadership, Kari said that "A candle will not lose its light by lighting another one”. Life, he added is full of joy “but I always remind my colleagues that we should strive to make the planet a better place for the next generation. Everyone has a say and remember we are building a Cameroon that should be prosperous and emerging too; some are hungry and poor and they are equally of a primordial portion of those to raise the country to another level and as well build the globe. Together, bit by bit, we can seal the seal with Sustainable Development”. This is so due to the impact SURUDEV is creating through its Sustainable Bio Demonstration Farms located in Bongom, Donga Mantung Division. The large scale cultivation of onion, okro and especially watermelon is at the center of attraction thanks to its uniqueness and innovative approaches of young Kari. Presently, five young women are being trained on modern farming techniques.  What was however so interesting is that these farms are serving as pilot training centres for farmers.
farm visit
Munkwa Victor Fon is one of the experienced farmers who is farm manager at SURUDEV Sustainable Bio Demonstration farms. " I have worked on a watermelons farm in the Littoral region, so when I came back home,  I met Jackson so we started working together. He is a good leader and many youths have got into planting of trees and bio farming thanks to his efforts."  This cool juicy refreshing fruit is gradually becoming a favourite at meals. Harping on the importance demonstrating farms to the farmers he said this is just to show the local population that they were ignorantly sitting on a goldmine. “We want to change the mindset of women and youths towards farming”. Sustainable agriculture he insisted provides high yields without undermining the natural systems and resources that productivity depends on. In the case of the watermelon and the onion farms, Kari continued that the farms will serve as traning centres for other farmers. On why SURUDEV is going bio Kari outlined that the approach works efficiently with natural processes rather than ignoring or struggling against them – and use the best of current knowledge and technology to avoid the unintended consequences of chemical based agriculture that would destroy the soil. "We are trying to show to farmers that  they can be able to minimize the use of pesticides and fertilizers, thereby saving money and protecting future productivity, as well as the environment", he concluded.

 Kari with Wimbum students 
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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