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Home > Blogs > Director's Blog > Reaching the Desert’s Sands – and Flying

Here we are – this is going to be the last CPWF director’s blog post. Between the different farewell events having taken place and the messages of mutual appreciation that have been exchanged over the past weeks, there has been a lot of emotion. We know from our last Forum how important emotions are for the work we do – and, for most of us, some sadness accompanies the end of this journey.

tale of the sandsWhat inspires me at this very moment is a recent blog from the African poet Gabriel ‘Mwènè’ Okoundji who recounts the Dervish tale, ‘Tale of the Sands’. (I know it is in French, but don’t hesitate to use an online translator to read it in your preferred language.) In this tale, a river born in distant mountains, having crossed many countries, finally reaches the desert sands and wonders how to cross them. Through an anamnesic dialogue with a voice coming from the depths of the desert, and being lifted, gently carried away by the wind and dropped on the summit of a mountain, she recollects the details of her perpetual odyssey and rediscovers its true essence. Hence, says the tale, she began to learn, for the ways that allow the river of life to continue its journey are being written, day and night, in the sands…

This is indeed a time to recollect, rediscover and to begin to learn from the ten years of our program. This week, CPWF officially unveils the redesigned and restructured waterandfood.org. A major effort has been undertaken to organize and highlight the numerous publications, stories, tools and other outputs that CPWF has created and learned from over its lifetime. We will continue to update our open-access document repository as outputs are finalized and submitted, so this will be a space to continue to revisit.

As CPWF officially closes its doors and our river reaches its desert sands, the website will remain as a learning portal for those who seek to know more about CPWF’s findings on water, food and poverty challenges. These findings can now be explored by both river basin and research topic. For those who seek to learn more about conducting research-for-development work, the ‘Our Approach’ section provides a wealth of information, including both collective and individual insights. In fact, I encourage you to contribute your own reflection on CPWF by writing on our digital pin board. It is our hope that researchers, academics, development professionals, policy makers, donors, and other interested visitors will find the new website to be a relevant and valuable resource.

I would also like to direct your attention to a short animation we have just released. I feel that it serves as an informative introduction to our lessons on conducting a research-for-development program.

Finally, there is one more exciting output from CPWF that deserves mention here; it is our book, Water Scarcity, Livelihoods and Food Security: Research and Innovation for Development. This book is certainly the flagship product of our program. It will be published in September of this year, and I hope it proves a valuable resource to those who work in this field.

For once, there will be no questions to end this blog post, but just good wishes to all those who have taken the time to read this director’s blog since 2011. It is time for me to move to new opportunities, lifted by the wind, and if all goes well dropped very soon on one of the CGIAR mountains, where I will keep learning…and blogging.

I could not end without wholeheartedly thanking all those who have been involved in CPWF over the past twelve years, and who have made this journey not only possible, but pleasant, surprising and transforming.

Alain Vidal, CPWF Director

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