Consultant - Digital Economy - Remote

Programming Anywhere, Remote


Project Location: Remote


Mercy Corps is a leader in economic development, both through our agriculture and youth employment programming.  Given the importance that technology has around the globe, Mercy Corps recognizes the importance of leveraging technology to further the impact and scale of its programming in these areas.  Specific to youth employment, we recognize the value and potential that can arise from leveraging digital innovation for youth employment (DIYE).  We have seen this impact across the labor market including building job seekers skills, unlocking new work opportunities with on-demand and gig work, and linking job seekers to good jobs. We also understand that true scale will be best supported with strategic program partnerships, perhaps with a technology partner, a social enterprise or an INGO.  We recently completed a Scoping Study to understand the DIYE landscape broadly and refined Mercy Corps’ value proposition in the space.  Relative to agriculture, Mercy Corps has embarked on several work streams, including traceability, leveraging satellite-based observations for M&E, and the development of predictive learning through AI.  It is now time to develop a digital strategy for agriculture that link all these different workstreams into a coherent engagement, including layering interventions, identifying partners and business models, and testing and learning.

Purpose / Project Description:

The purpose of the proposed consultancy is to identify digital solutions and strategic partners to support Mercy Corps work in agriculture and youth employment.  Assisting Mercy Corps in both technical areas to more effectively focus our work in high-potential opportunities and build a foundation upon which to take that forward is key. 

In support of the employment team, the consultant will build upon the foundational understanding we already have and analyze the landscape (including identification of main actors, promising solutions and game-changing technology, and identification of key strategic partners).  In support of the agriculture team, the consultant will develop a digital strategy with clear priority areas, identify potential partners, and develop business models ready for testing and learning.  In both areas, the consultant will focus on identifying partners that can help us move toward achieving scale, going beyond pilot programs and helping translate effective solutions to new communities or regions where we work.

More specifically, the consultant will:

  • Analyze the landscape in terms of main actors and promising solutions and comparing it to existing Mercy Corps programming;
  • Develop a three-year strategy for agriculture and refine the youth employment strategy, identifying solutions with potential fast return and those that need further exploration;
  • Help identify potential strategic partners to support Mercy Corps’ work; and
  • Help develop concept notes and/or solutions for both sectors.

Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will undertake the following activities:

Youth Employment

  • Complete landscape analysis for digital innovation in youth employment (DIYE) at Mercy Corps – includes reviewing Mercy Corps DIYE portfolio and distinctive; competitive analysis specific to our value proposition; technical review and evaluation of select digital solutions; and mapping of current and potential partners including social enterprises, INGOS/NGOs, donors and government agencies.
  • Advise and input on Mercy Corp DIYE strategy and distinctive
  • Identify and prioritize quick-win leverage points and/or programs that MC is currently implementing and that offer best opportunity for replication or scale
  • Develop 1-2 concept notes and/or models that leverage high-potential approaches and partnerships


  • Complete landscape analysis for digital agriculture - includes: summarize Mercy Corps’ distinctive to date based on a review of Mercy Corps’ current portfolio; competition analysis; and mapping of current applications and potential partners
  • Digital strategy for agriculture – includes what is feasible for scaling now and what areas Mercy Corps should position for
  • Support to concept notes and/or models for digital solutions

Consultant Deliverables:

Proposed outputs of this consultancy will include:

  • Youth Employment – Landscape review, including mapping of actors/competitors & comparison with Mercy Corps’ solutions to date, including outreach strategy.
  • Youth Employment – Leverage Action Plan (2-4 pages) summarizing and prioritizing which MC DIYE programs offer greatest potential for scale and/or transfer.
  • Youth Employment – 1-2 concept notes and/or program models that support expanded partnerships and/or scaled implementation of DIYE programming.
  • Agriculture - Mapping of actors/competitors & comparison with Mercy Corps’ solutions to date.
  • Agriculture – a four-page Digital strategy document highlighting digital priorities
  • Agriculture – 1-2 models/concept (including business model) for digital solutions in agriculture.

Timeframe / Schedule: 

The anticipated length of this consultancy is approximately 60 days (split evenly between the youth employment and the agriculture objectives) beginning in Nov 2019 and concluding approximately in Feb 2020. While a final timeline will be developed in consultation with Mercy Corps at the beginning of the consultancy to establish deadlines for submission of the deliverables, below is an indicative timeline for the engagement:

Nov 30: Landscape analysis youth employment

Dec 30: Landscape analysis agriculture

Jan 15: Digital strategy and quick wins for DIYE

Feb 15: Digital strategy agriculture

Feb 30: Concept notes/models

The Consultant will report to:

The consultant will report to the Deputy Director and Employment Team Lead, Markets and Financial Inclusion, Technical Support Unit (TSU).

The Consultant will work closely with:

The consultant will work closely with the Interim Senior Director Agriculture Systems, Markets and Financial Inclusion, the Senior Employment Advisor, other the Agriculture TSU team members, technical advisors focused on youth employment, and field program staff engaged in employment, agriculture and social ventures, and others TBD

Required Experience & Skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in international development, business, economics or related field.
  • Minimum of 5-10 of experience working with projects focused on agriculture, employment or job creation.
  • Substantial experience and knowledge of technology applications that support efficient labor markets and skill building, and agriculture production and markets.
  • Superb written and verbal communications skills
  • Fluency in English is required.