Emma Flemmig1, Steven C. Hodges1, A. Ozzie Abaye2, Kurt Richter3 and Wade E. Thomason4, (1)Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (2)245 Smyth Hall (0404), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (3)Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (4)Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
International agricultural development workers have tried repeatedly, with limited and variable success, to improve participation from smallholder farmers when designing projects to improve rural food security and agricultural productivity in the Global South. Scores of individuals have continued to modify and reinvent the ways we interact with the rural poor and the research systems of developing nations. The reality is that current funding structures for international development simply offer neither the flexibility nor the project longevity necessary for success when using genuinely participatory designs. This conundrum - the desire to utilize farmer voices while lacking the structural support to implement changes - inspired a hypothesis to flip the strategy. Could a new kind of participation, or a new Rapid Rural Appraisal method, be created that naturally feeds into current international development priorities and program monitoring and evaluation practices? This method would contrast continuing attempts to improve and increase the newer Participatory Rural Appraisal methods by fundamentally-redesigning the more structured, rapid style of assessment. A technically-sound, user-friendly, open-source survey methodology was designed for agricultural development specialists from any discipline, but particularly crop and soil scientists in mind. The methodology details and survey structure will be presented, along with supporting examples from the results of 600-household surveys recently conducted in rural central Haiti (2014 - 2015) and northern India (2016).