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Job Description

Description

Background

Mercy Corps is planning to submit an application in response to a USAID opportunity for Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience. This is an anticipated $20 million dollar, five-year activity with four objectives:

  1. Strengthen smallholder farmers, women, and youths’ ability to sustainably produce a diverse mix of nutritious and high-value crops using climate-smart agriculture practices;
  2. Increase aggregation, farm-level processing, value addition, and marketing of targeted staple and commercial crops to increase incomes and create employment opportunities especially for women and youth;
  3. Support economic development and resilience through alternative livelihood opportunities, improved access, and participation in markets for smallholder farmers, agriculture cooperatives, women and youth groups, and subsistence farmers;
  4. Enhance year-round availability, accessibility, and the utilization of nutritious food by households in targeted communities to enable them to improve their health and nutrition.

The objectives of the activity will be achieved through increased sustainable agricultural production and productivity by smallholder farmers, subsistence farmers, agriculture cooperatives, and women and youth groups. Potential value chains for this activity include vegetables, fruits, mini-livestock, poultry, small ruminant, rice, cassava, integrated rice-fish and vegetables, aquaculture, and a variety of high-value crops (e.g., cocoa, coffee, oil palm, etc.). The activity will be implemented in rural and peri-urban communities within USAID/Liberia's zone of influence (Lofa, Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Grand Bassa, and Montserrado counties).

Mercy Corps expects consultants to focus on all four objectives mentioned above with resilience lens, Resilience Approach to Food Security and Economic Opportunity. Define resilience approach for all four objectives. This will include identifying key gaps and resilience opportunities (savings, financial inclusion, social safety nets, land tenure, etc) and Climate Resilience.

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Purpose

In advance of the anticipated RFA, Mercy Corps is engaging a consultant experienced in agriculture, food security, nutrition, resilience, and market system development to guide the country program team prepare a competitive design and proposal for the Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience activity.

This assessment and project scoping is intended to gather information through primary data collection and analysis (small scale survey, key informant interviews, focus group discussions) and secondary document review.

Consultant Activities

The Consultant will:

  • Conduct a thorough desk review of RFI (request for information) related themes, RFA (once announced), available studies/evaluation to identify specific information gaps in all four objectives (objectives mentioned in background section of ToRs); Resilience Approach to Food Security and Economic Opportunity (Define resilience approach for all four objectives. This will include identifying key gaps and resilience opportunities (savings, financial inclusion, social safety nets, land tenure, etc) and Climate Resilience)
  • Participate in design workshops, organize meetings with Mercy Corps staff (in country, HQ, Technical Support Unit), and partners to assess information/ knowledge gaps;
  • Organize one to one discussion with Mercy Corps, international and local partners; keeping all organizations and design workshop participants informed about progress made, findings etc. This includes submission of weekly reports;
  • From the desk review and initial engagements, map key stakeholders per objective and geographical areas and develop plan on how to engage them during assessment (what information is needed and why);
  • Design and implement the assessment, including the development of methodology and tools (or refinement of existing tools) and digitizing tools, where applicable; propose assessment process/structure and identification/contact with local stakeholders for key informant interviews and FGDs, working in close coordination with Mercy Corps Liberia Country Office and Technical Team members.
  • Lead the assessment (Mercy Corps will hire data collectors as per plan shared by consultant, Mercy Corps will organize transport, accommodation, contracts, payments for data collectors as per work plan shared by consultant. All cost related to this will be covered by Mercy Corps);
  • Lead the analysis and documentation of findings, including programmatic recommendations for a compelling, localized and responsive design;
  • Conduct a (remote) meeting with the Mercy Corps team to discuss recommendations and refine the final deliverables based on inputs;
  • Active participation in design workshops, direct inputs in concept and proposals, support in development of concept note, proposal, development (as per design discussions and findings from assessment and desk review) of theory of change, logframe, case / success story and other documents required for submission to donors.
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The consultant will work independently to carry out the activities in this Scope of Work. They will proactively participate in planning sessions, design workshops, and one -o-one discussions with stakeholders. They will also take the lead in organizing meetings as and when needed. The consultant is expected to share findings from the assessment during meetings, design workshops and as needed, on a regular basis (during meetings, workshops, weekly reports and ad hoc requests from Mercy Corps as per needs). Mercy Corps technical experts and coordinator will engage with the consultant to review and discuss the proposed assessment tools and process at the outset of the work, as well as near the end of the work to review and discuss the analysis and recommendations. Mercy Corps’ Liberia country team will also hold a kick-off session with the consultant to review assessment components, for instance to review and input on the proposed list of stakeholders to be engaged and be available for logistics questions.

Consultant Deliverables

  1. Submit written weekly updates to Mercy Corps and consortium partners updating them on progress made, findings, etc (Mercy Corps can request ad hoc information and may request different frequency of updates);
  2. Submit a detailed inception report which identifies knowledge gaps per objectives based on desk review and main focus on resilience gaps (as detailed above) , details the assessment methodology including tools previously approved by Mercy Corps, maps key stakeholders to be engaged in the assessment;
  3. Facilitate a design session with Mercy Corps and consortium partners to present knowledge gaps (including submission of a slide deck) and validate findings (cover technical aspects, Gender, resilience, coordination. collaboration, learning and adaptation expects as well);
  4. Attend and actively participate in at least 90% of design sessions scheduled by Mercy Corps or consortium partners;
  5. Submit a final assessment report, which details findings and recommendations for a compelling, localized and responsive program design, focusing on resilience in all objectives, along with a complete literature review annex (which details documents reviewed linked to a folder with those documents), raw quantitative data sets, qualitative data notes, key stakeholder contact information etc. in a format agreed upon by Mercy Corps;
  6. Facilitate a design session with Mercy Corps and consortium partners to present assessment recommendations (including the submission of a slide deck) to refine final program concept;
  7. Based on the recommendations design session, submit a revised theory of change and suggested logframe (using Mercy Corps template, including outcome, outputs and activities) supported by a rationale document for the program design;
  8. Submit at least four case studies (one per objective) based on findings from the assessment and in direct relation to the theory of change and/or logframe.

Timeframe (consultancy duration is 20 days or 160 hours - starting in May 2022)

  • Remote preparation and participation (throughout the month of May): Deliverables 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Remote work (May-June): Deliverable 1, 3, 4, 6,
  • All deliverables due per workplan established with country team (anticipated for June): Deliverables 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • If feasible, Mercy Corps may request travel to Liberia and take part in assessment work.

Note: Consultant will be working with teams based in the USA, France, Switzerland and Liberia. Consultant may need to adjust as per different time zones. Design workshops will be organized as per Liberia time most likely in between 12 noon – 7 pm (each design workshop may last from 1 hour to 3 hours). Consultant is expected to organize separate one on one calls as needed.

Annex 1: Weekly Report Template

  1. Summary of Meetings Held
  2. Findings
  3. Next Steps and deadlines
  4. Priorities for Coming Week

Annex 2: Inception Report Template

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Methodology for Desk Review
  4. Knowledge Gaps per Objective (separate section on resilience per objective)
  5. Key Stakeholder Mapping Process
  6. Key Stakeholders for Assessment
  7. Assessment Methodology
  8. Assessment Tools

Annex 3: Final Assessment Report Template

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Key Findings by Objective (separate section in resilience per objective)
  4. Conclusions
  5. Recommendations
  6. Literature review
  7. Key stakeholder contact information annotated
  8. Theory of Change

Required Experience & Skills:

  • At least five years experience working on Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience programming
  • Prior experience completing similar analytical projects, proposal pre-positioning and needs assessments
  • Excellent analytical ability
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English, with the ability to present information logically and concisely.
  • Strong organizational and presentation skills, attention to detail, and proficiency in Microsoft Office and other appropriate software
  • Preference is given to candidates with prior experience and demonstrated understanding of development issues in Liberia
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, work independently and cooperatively with team members is required

The Consultant will report to:

The consultant will report to the Director of Programs for administration of contract, Food security and Nutrition Advisor for technical deliverables, and will work closely with Lead Proposal Coordinator, Lead Writer and PAQ manager. They will consult closely with HQ and regional technical staff and country staff, including partners, new initiative team and other stakeholders identified.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

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