On a recent journey to French Guiana, I found myself wondering how such a place could benefit from some of the institutional and technical innovations CPWF project have identified. In many aspects, it reminded me of some of the river basins where we have worked; water is everywhere with multiple uses—some classic (gold mining, tourism, vegetable cultivation) and some more unusual (such as the application of water at 30 cubic meters per second to reduce noise and cool the launch tables of Europe’s Spaceport). French Guiana also hosts unique ecosystems that are among the richest and most fragile in the world: primary tropical forests, mangroves, savannahs, and numerous types of wetlands. Not least, its population includes indigenous people, Creoles, descendants of West African slaves, Hmong who have immigrated from Laos and Cambodia, Brazilians and Chinese –a diversity of cultures and practices, similar to many of the river basins where we have worked.
What struck me on this trip was that if we are serious about scaling out our outputs and outcomes, we have to make them intelligible to the people who live in these diverse conditions, and use water resources for diverse livelihoods. Moreover, we need to articulate how we have managed to actually achieve changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices through our efforts to address our selected Basin Development Challenges.
With the Challenge Program on Water and Food officially drawing to a close at the end of next month, one major program-level effort has been the production of a number of different types of materials that showcase CPWF learning and accomplishments. They come in time to celebrate this year’s World Water Day. A number of these products are highlighted below.
CPWF Outcome Stories document changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices that have emerged through CPWF-funded research. Outcomes occur when research outputs foster engagement processes that result in change in practice or change in behavior. As I discussed in a previous blog post, outcomes come in all shapes and sizes, and this reality continues to be reflected in our four latest outcome stories.
One outcome story from the Mekong region describes the successful piloting of a new variety of cassava with a shorter growing season, which made it a viable alternative for farmers attempting to cultivate in the seasonally inundated zone of Vietnam’s Yali Falls Hydropower Dam. By involving the local agricultural department throughout the pilot, the project was able to achieve by-in from both farmers and the government—a key factor in ensuring the successful up-scaling of the cassava variety.
On quite a different scale, another outcome story from Peru describes the integral role played by one CPWF project in supporting the Ministry of Environment’s establishment of a new scheme for rewarding ecosystem services in the Cañete River basin. The project would also later be involved in advising the Ministry of Environment on the incorporation of benefit-sharing mechanisms within a new, proposed ecosystem services law.
Read our four new outcome stories:
- Supporting Livelihoods with New Varieties of Cassava for the Yali Reservoir
- Piloting Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms and Influencing National Policy in Peru
- From Reactive to Proactive Attitudes Toward Hydropower Dams in the Mekong Region
- Facilitating Collective and Inclusive Decision Making on Integrated Water Resources Management in Burkina Faso
We are also in the process of producing a ‘basin summary’ document for each of our six Basin Development Challenges. Each summary provides an overview of the projects and activities undertaken in the river basin, as well as the messages and results that have emerged as a result of CPWF’s activities. The summaries are a wonderful introduction to CPWF’s work in Phase 2 and I encourage you to explore them.
Read Basin Summaries for the:
The Limpopo basin summary is forthcoming, while the Ganges summary will be produced towards the end of 2014, when our work there officially concludes.
More to Come!
In the coming weeks CPWF will be unveiling some major changes to the waterandfood.org website. A major effort has been undertaken to organize and highlight the numerous publications, stories, tools and other outputs that CPWF has created over the last 12 years. In mid-April, the website will officially transition into a ‘learning portal’ for CPWF findings on water, food and poverty challenges, as well as our research-for-development insights.
In keeping with our efforts to make CPWF learning available and accessible to a wide audience, we will also be launching a new animation on the program’s research-for-development approach. Keep an eye out for these exciting resources in the coming weeks.
Happy World Water Day!
Alain Vidal, CPWF Director