I have tried to answer each question and my answers are below. They are based on some of my experience with small farmers.
1. Striking a balance between depth and length of assessment:
Small farmers are very busy because they have to find alternative / complementary sources of income. In addition, social time is important (marriages, tea time, football for the young, carpet making for women...).
Thus, assessment time should fit within their schedule. I suggest short questionnaires that are meaningful to them, which brings in that the programme should take into account their actual needs and not 100% according to organizational needs.
- How can the burden on smallholder farmers be reduced during M&E assessments?
- What are the best ways to incentivize farmers to take part in the survey (e.g. non-monetary incentives, participation in survey tailoring, in presentation of results)?
- Make it a social time and talk about what is meaningful to them (ex cereals in the mountainous areas). The usually preferred time is the afternoon. ex. plan assessment time during tea time and work with focus group. If the questionnaire is preferred then it will take more time for the evaluator because she / he will have to adjust to each farmer;
- Allow women to bring in toddlers or small infants ( up to 5 years);
- Give away written information on the programme. They will keep it and show it to their schooled children;
- Plan on lunch or afternoon tea with snacks.
2. Making findings from M&E assessments useful to farmers:
- Like for the assessment, plan on information workshops in "a between seasons" time to avoid getting on the way for "actual" work;
- Provide leaflets, audios, videos, pictures;
- Allow for Q&A sessions.
- Do you have experience in comparing results among farmers in a participatory way? What method have you used to do this? Was it effective?
- How can the results be used for non-formal education of farmers (e.g. to raise awareness and/or build capacity on ways to increase farm sustainability)?
1. Comparing results among farmers is effective in showing results and making farmers adopt new techniques. I used a treatment / non treatment method . The non treatment was actually from farmers not adhering to the programme. Once results were obvious, they asked to be included.
2. Results could be used in non-formal education of farmers through exchange visits among peers, audios and videos distributed through instant messaging, result presentations on field visits of extension workers.