John Pontius

John Pontius, who, after a long struggle, finished his doctorate at CIE in the late 80’s (he doesn’t remember what year exactly) has lived in Indonesia for most of the time since then.  He writes this brief from a café in Jogjakarta, a city of art and longing on the island of Java.  He has lived in the area since 1990. 


Over the almost 30 years that he has struggled both professionally and not so professionally in Indonesia he has been associated with several wildly successful projects.  Not a single one of which was found to be less than fantastic despite investigations by various U.S. government organizations plus their Indonesian counter-parts.  Obviously the success of the projects owes much to Dr. Pontius’ efforts in roles that focused on training, evaluation and management.  (He can claim this because there aren’t many people left to contradict him.)  The projects themselves focused largely on environmental issues including eliminating the use of pesticides in rice agriculture, improving watershed and water resources management, conserving biodiversity in Indonesian forests and reducing the impact of climate change in rural areas.


An exit strategy of the FAO Rice IPM project, one of the projects referred to above, resulted in the establishment of the NGO “FIELD” (Farmers Initiatives for Ecological Livelihoods and Democracy) in the year 2000, This NGO has been successful in generating new approaches in support of small farmers livelihoods facing climate change.  Dr. Pontius is a “senior advisor” to this group and is occasionally employed by them in a management role.  Because of his fluency in English he also gets the call to finalize reports that FIELD sends to funders such as USAID (four USAID projects in the last 10 years).  


Indonesia is home for Dr. Pontius and his family (a wife and three children- shown in an earlier photo, right).  He will not likely visit Massachusetts or the U.S., but wishes all at CIE peace and health in these strange times. [1-21]




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