Consultant - Urban Resilience Assessment - Zimbabwe

Programming Harare, Zimbabwe


Project Location: Zimbabwe


Mercy Corps has been present in Zimbabwe since 2002 focusing its interventions on a multi-sectoral market systems development portfolio mobilizing communities to promote small scale agriculture and revive local economies. Zimbabwe continues to experience recurrent environmental, economic and social shocks affecting the wellbeing of its communities and undermining development investments. Mercy Corps puts resilience at the core of its strategy to contribute to the wellbeing of Zimbabweans by building both urban and rural communities’ capacities and strengthening systems and institutions.

Purpose / Project Description:

The goal of this Urban Resilience Consultancy is to lead a consortium in an assessment that informs the design of a multi-year, DFID funded urban resilience project, as well as generate evidence and knowledge to strengthen urban resilience in Zimbabwe. Using Mercy Corps’ Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) framework as the guiding approach, the project will carry out an urban resilience systems analysis in order to develop an urban resilience strategy and road map for the future programming in Zimbabwe. The project intends to incorporate cash-based approaches, as well as tailored and layered strategies onto cash-based models to have the greatest effect on resilience.

The first step of the project is to carry out an inception workshop that will gather key stakeholders to set a development vision, analyze shocks and stresses, and set out an overall learning agenda for the assessment. This workshop will provide key inputs for follow-on research on which approaches work to build resilience in urban settings in Zimbabwe, how to collaborate effectively with public and private sector partners, strategies for working across the development and humanitarian spheres, as well inform pilot projects (e.g. cash transfer project) designed to test resilience-building approaches.   The consultant will incorporate the outputs from the STRESS process  into the design of the next phase of the project, and guide consortium partners in a) designing the assessment based on the STRESS methodology; b) train partners on the assessment methodology and data collection processes; c) support partners in data collection; d) produce a synthesis report and e) lead the consortium in a strategy workshop based on the assessment findings. The Risk and Resilience Assessment consultant will have extensive facilitation experience that s/he will draw on to design and deliver a high-quality, participatory, and interactive learning event.

Assessment Objectives:

The objective of the Strategic Risk and Resilience Assessment consultancy is to guide a consortium in an urban risk and resilience analysis, including co-facilitate a Mercy Corps-led inception and scoping workshop, determine the scope of the assessment, train consortium partners on data collection and capture methods, support review and reflection meetings based on data, and produce a final report.

  • Guide relevant civil society, government and private sector stakeholders in developing a development vision and strategy for Zimbabwe that mitigates and takes into account environmental, economic and socio-political shocks and stresses,
  • In partnership with key stakeholders, determine the scope and learning questions for the assessment; ensure assessment considers the effectiveness and complementarity of humanitarian, particularly cash-based safety nets, and development efforts,
  • Develop and train teams on data collection methods, building off of Mercy Corps’ STRESS methodology
  • Guide consortia members in data collection and data analysis through periodic review meetings; ensure feedback on cash transfer programs is incorporated in the learning
  • Facilitate consortium data analysis and strategy meetings
  • Develop a synthesis report based on field learning from across the consortium.

The Urban Risk and Resilience Assessment Lead will be supported by Mercy Corps team members for the initial scoping workshop and will lead all stages of the process thereafter, guiding and supporting members of the consortium team.

Consultant Activities

The Consultant will:

  • Review all relevant background information and STRESS assessment toolkit (provided by the country office team)
  • Attend and support, as needed, the scoping workshop (Sept. 2019, dates, TBD)
  • Support the design and assessment process based on the STRESS methodology
  • Create an assessment calendar, assign responsibilities and drive the process
  • Draft/edit/finalize all assessment plans, including core research questions, data collection methodology, handouts for data collection
  • Train partners on field assessment methods
  • Support field teams in data collection, to ensure quality control
  • Carry-out all activities outlined under assessment objectives, including:
    • Facilitating periodic review meetings to ensure feedback on cash transfer programs is incorporated in the learning
    • Facilitating consortium data analysis and strategy meetings

Consultant Deliverables and Schedule

The Consultant will:

  • Week 1: Develop a planning calendar and roles and responsibilities for the assessment, including data collection and data analysis; Participate in the scoping workshop
  • Week 2: Design assessment process - define scope and learning questions for the assessment in collaboration with consortia leads
  • Week 3- 4: Develop training process and train consortia teams on data collection methods for assessment
  • Week 5- 9: Provide assistance to consortia teams to carry-out their assessments
  • Week 10 -12: Develop a synthesis report based on field learning from across the consortium
  • Week 13-14: With consortia assessment leads, facilitate a participatory and interactive strategy workshop based on the assessment findings

Required Experience & Skills

  • At least 7 years’ experience working in international relations/development with NGOs, governments, multilateral organizations, think-tanks or private companies required;
  • Experience leading market and/or organizational assessments, required;
  • Experience conducting research, including data collection, coding and synthesizing qualitative data, required; applicants will be asked to provide previous reports;
  • Previous experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa preferred;
  • Effective verbal and written communication, organizational and prioritization skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment;
  • MA/MSc in international relations, development, economics, anthropology or related degrees preferred.

Timeframe and Level of Effort

This  65 - 80 day consultancy is scheduled to take approximately 12-16 weeks within the timeframe of  September 2 - December  30, 2019.

Estimated Costs: Dependent on consultant rate.  Level of Effort and travel costs associated with 1 trip to Zimbabwe.

The Consultant will report to:

  • Director of Programs, Mercy Corps Zimbabwe
  • Mercy Corps Senior Resilience Director (North, West, Central Africa)

The Consultant will work closely with:

  • Resilience Research, Learning and Grants Officer
  • Mercy Corps Senior Director for Resilience
  • Mercy Corps Regional Resilience Director (South and East Africa),
  • Senior Advisor TSU, Team Lead Cash & Early Market Recovery
  • Senior Resilience Knowledge Management Advisor
  • Mercy Corps RKH Knowledge Team Leader
  • Mercy Corps RKH Knowledge Management and Research Specialist