The Commonwealth Youth Council had a chance to catch up with Sustainable Run for Development (SURUDEV) with International Youth Day only 7 days away. We have been inspired by the work carried out by SURUDEV especially with the great number of rural areas in the Commonwealth and our dependency on rural areas to provide us with our food, so here is an interview so you can find out what they have been up to and why not connect and share the good practices:
SURUDEV was around as the world tried to reach the Millennium Development Goals and now they continue to serve to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG12, so we asked them what they had achieved over the last seven years that they have committed to this plight:
- We successfully trained and supported some 150 farmers on sustainable agriculture (Agro forestry, composting, market gardening, permaculture) in the Bamenda highlands;
- We have successfully planted over 200,000 trees with farmers in the Bamenda highlands in more than 40 hectares of land to improve soil health and improve poor agricultural landscapes;
- We have successfully supported some 200 forest users ( Hunters, farmers, grazers) on alternative Sustainable livelihoods;
- The creation a four hectare Sustainable bio-demonstration farm where some 50 people have already been given hands-on training and support to cultivate garlic, onion, okra, water melon and pepper
- We have successfully protected some seven water catchments with local councils and communities in the North West region of Cameroon
- Through my advocacy project, I have successfully enlightened some more than a million people through some two main community radios on the need to adapt with the changing climate, waste management and rather make use of the opportunities available in the fight against climate change and other environmental ills;
- We have also successfully trained more than 20000 school children and youth from some 20 institutions on good environmental practices with some 1000 of them made environmental and climate change champions. Through this program we have also planted 11.000 trees with 10 schools.
CYC: WOW! You have had such an impact already what do you hope to achieve in the next two years?
A: In two years we still hope to take the above projects to another level accordingly:
- I hope to train and support more 50 farmers to carry out market gardening for income generation;
- I still hope to plant 50,000 trees with farmers through our agro forestry program;
- We hope to realize the project with the great apes. We need to attain our objectives the 500 forest users whom we are currently supporting (Market gardening, agro forestry, bee keeping and cane rat domestication) to make sure they are self-sufficient ;
- We will train 100 more farmers on our farms. Apart from onions, garlic, okra, water melon, pepper and carrots, I hope to also include plantain multiplication of one more hectare of land;
- Through our Green Schools project, we are going to be reaching more 20,000 students in two years and planting 5000 more ornamental and medicinal trees in five school campuses.
CYC: What is your message for young people in Africa and in the Commonwealth?
Youth remain an integral part of any development agenda and are therefore front liners of development activism. We would like to advise the youth should go back to agriculture which remains a backbone of our development especially in Africa.
Sustainable Run for Development (SURUDEV) was founded in 2007 and has since put in place a number of initiatives that they are currently working on. These have included empowering rural widows and teenage parents on sustainable agriculture via our rural livelihood support project (RuLS); Getting communities resilient, adaptive to the changing environment via our agro forestry and forest gardening projects through which we have planted several thousands of trees and hope to attend 10 million trees with more than 2 million farmers in 2030 and 5 million trees before 2020 via this programme.
They have also instituted our capacity building component which will permit us to train some 1000 community youths before 2020 and support them to be agri-preneurs, thanks to our sustainable bio-demonstration farms. This is a four hectare piece of land on which we train youth, rural farmers on sustainable agricultural production. So far they have cultivated several tons of water melons, onions. Garlic, cucumber, okra, pepper, huckleberry, and other market gardening produce to meet the nutritional needs of the communities and generate income for both the farmers and upkeep of our organisation; they have embarked on operation water for all through our Sustainable water catchment project. Through this programme we have conserved some seven water catchments through the harnessing of these catchments and planting them with very water loving and bee keeping trees and also training the beneficiary project communities to sustain the catchments.
In addition, Green Schools is a programme through which they empower students and youth to carry on the fight of climate change because we believe the youth have big role to play in enhancing sustainable development Goals. They train them to grow with a spirit of tree planting (planting the right tree on a right sight for a right purpose), sustainable domestic (home) agriculture, proper was sorting and, management of waste at home employing the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) as well as proper sorting and making use of recycling opportunities. They are encouraging renewable energy and waste management. They are encouraging and supporting locals to generate low cost energy from waste. This also has an impact on forest resources and the ozone layer. They have developed a local method of generation of gas from waste.