Silvia Sarapura

Head shot of Silvia Sarapura
Assistant Professor - Rural Planning & Development
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 ext. 56786
Landscape Architecture, Room 145
Rural Planning and Development; PhD Rural Studies

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Bio Summary

Silvia has more than fifteen years of proven experience in the fields of rural planning for development, gender transformative change and agricultural RinD.  As a result of her extensive research engagement in Africa, Asia, South East Asia, and Latin America, Silvia built a strong and innovative track record in international rural and agricultural research in development.

Until July 2019, Silvia was a Senior Researcher with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Netherlands. Working with international, regional and national stakeholders, she led research projects for the improvement of agricultural universities in Mozambique; resilient seed systems with Bioversity International, ICARDA, ILRI, CIAT, CYMMIT and AWARD; Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Platform- Africa; climate-smart agriculture and gender planning with Dutch and international organizations.

As a Post-Doctoral Fellow with WorldFish, CGIAR, Silvia was a member of the Global Scientific Team on Aquatic Agricultural Systems. She designed, planned and implemented the Research in Development Approach with international, national and local partners in five countries of Asia, Oceania and Africa. She also led the Gender Capacity Development and Organizational Culture Change Initiative in nine WorldFish countries. After finishing her undergraduate studies in Peru, she worked with the International Potato Center, CGIAR in food security, local development of agricultural systems and gender action research.

Silvia concluded her MSc and PhD studies at the University of Guelph within SEDRD. Silvia’s excellent research, as well as planning and communication skills are documented in book chapters, synthesis reports, articles, and theses. Silvia is Peruvian-Canadian and proficient in English and Spanish. She also has intermediate knowledge of French and Portuguese.

Research Interests

Dr. Sarapura’s research interests are in local and resilient agri-food systems, seed systems for rural planning, gender transformative change planning, youth in development, intersectionality in land use planning, indigenous research in agriculture, applied research – research in development.

Current Research Initiatives

  • Gender-based violence in agricultural streams of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Funded by SSHRC. Temporary Foreign Agricultural Workers (TFAWs) are critical sources of labour in Canada’s agricultural sector. However, TFAWs experience complex vulnerabilities as a result of structural inequalities and discrimination within agricultural streams of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The multiple, diverse, and intersecting social identities of TFAWs (e.g., gender, age, race, nationality, sex, language, and socio-economic status) may compound to exacerbate or lessen vulnerabilities, including gender-based violence (GBV) and discrimination.
  • Braiding Food Systems: Co-Constructing Indigenous Seed Systems in Northern Ontario for Food Sovereignty, Security, and Climate Adaptation. Funded by OMAFRA. Collaborating with four (4) First Nations communities in the Thunder Bay, Algoma, Sudbury and Manitoulin of Northern Ontario, this project integrates research in development activities to locally adapted food production into First Nations (FN) food systems in the North. Partners in this project include scientists/researchers from the University of Guelph, UNoC-Laurentian University, OMAFRA, Boreal College, NGO Cultural Seeds and Lakehead University.
  • Understanding transitions to sustainable production systems in Ontario's potato sector: a study of key drivers to behaviour changes and positive deviants in the uptake of Best Management Practices. This project investigates Ontario’s potato production sector working directly with large, medium, and small-scale farmers, industry groups and organizations, processors, and local and regional levels of government to support farmers through knowledge mobilization, policy recommendations, enhanced understanding, and practical support for farmers in scaling and adopting sustainable Best Management Practices. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Partners include the Ontario Potato Board, OSCIA, and the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario.       
  • International Joint Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation - SEEDS: Sustainability through Experimentation, Exchange, Dialogue, and Sharing in the Andes. In partnership with the Association Native Potatoes Guardians (AGUAPAN), Peru, the University of York (UK), NGO YANAPAI and the Andean Initiative – CGIAR, this project co-constructs a socially integrated, novel, community-governed seed system network to support the food, livelihood, and nutrition security of Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Andes amid growing climatic pressures accentuated by structural disadvantage and systemic inequalities.
  • Alternative Futures: Rural Youth Transformation Partnership (ARYP), Colombia. Funded by SSHRC. This research study is conducted in Colombia to investigate prevailing conditions that influence decision-making processes in rural municipalities of Colombia from a rural youth perspective. Understanding what aspects influence rural youth decision-making provides critical information to design and implement age and context-appropriate policies, programs, and projects that support this population in less developed countries. Partners include Arrell Food Institute, Andes University, Colombia, Javeriana University, Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural (RIMISP). This project is led by PhD student Maria Margarita Fontecha (Vanier Scholar).
  • Indigenous Youth and Climate Change Planning in the Peruvian Andes. Funded by MITACS. Andean youth are the most affected by climate change. Yet rural policies are not addressing their needs or situations.  This research project investigates the challenges and opportunities that youth face to inform better strategies and programs in climate change planning. Partners include the Andean Initiative, CGIAR; Grupo Yanapai and the communities of Quilcas and Colpar in the Central Andes of Peru.

Area of Research

Rural Planning and Development
Rural Studies