Consultant - Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrency in Programming - Remote
Purpose / Project Description:
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. Our mission is to alleviate poverty, suffering, and oppression and work to build secure, productive, and just communities in over 40 countries around the world. Empowering people with bold solutions to help them become drivers of their economic well-being and become major players in their economy is a cornerstone to our strategy. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse, and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.
Mercy Corps is a leader in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA). CVA comprises almost half of our global humanitarian portfolio and last year we transferred some $57M through cash and voucher programs to vulnerable populations in support of both humanitarian and resilience-building outcomes. We are currently a leading voice on technology platforms associated with cash distributions and consortia implementation. As our cash portfolio has become an integral pillar of our humanitarian response, while also leveraging development efforts, we foresee the integration of digital technology as the foundation of all our cash efforts within the next 2 years – even in the very fragile contexts in which we work. One of the key emerging technologies for digital cash programming is cryptocurrency. Mercy Corps has been piloting the usage of cryptocurrency for the past 3-5 years through Mercy Corps Ventures as well as some initial pilots as a part of its humanitarian and development programming.
To stay ahead of the curve and ensure that Mercy Corps can implement contextually relevant and appropriate technologies in this space, we seek a consultant to identify key opportunities, gaps, and needs within our programmatic and global teams.
The consultant will help Mercy Corps assess its current portfolio using blockchain-enabled technologies and digital currencies in humanitarian and development settings with a focus on certain priority sectors such as financial inclusion and climate. The consultant will examine the capacity and resource gaps and make recommendations on how the organization can resource appropriately. The consultant will scan the industry for lessons learned and make recommendations for Mercy Corps’ blockchain programming for the next 2-3 years.
1. The Consultant will help Mercy Corps develop its strategic positioning as follows:
- Scan of cryptocurrency landscape, including:
- Initial mapping of ecosystem (priority countries) based on key factors: regulation readiness for blockchain/cryptocurrency transactions, internet coverage for communities.
- Review of existing blockchain and cryptocurrency advances within the humanitarian and development sector and summarize the lessons learned from other agencies.
- Written assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses, informed by and including:
- Review Mercy Corps’ cash transfer programming to identify opportunities and strategic priorities for cryptocurrency piloting and integration
- Required human and financial resources for this pilot testing to ensure that Mercy Corps executes these pilots effectively and responsibly
- Capacity and readiness to implement cryptocurrency programming
- Develop strategic positioning for Mercy Corps in cryptocurrency programming, including:
- Outline the preconditions, criteria, and key questions (enabling environment, regulatory and policy environment, local partners, technology partners, country office engagement/appetite, etc.) for initial engagement with country teams on cryptocurrency integration
- Recommendations on beneficiaries’ confidence and trust in regards of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency with a focus on client protection, digital skills, and digital literacy
2. The consultant will also support Mercy Corps in the roll-out and socializing of the above strategy:
- Develop a targeted capacity building strategy to develop specific program team roles/profiles (and ideally, a roster) specialized in adoption and integration of blockchain-enabled technologies at regional and country level to support scalability & sustainability in the adoption process. Priority sectors to be discussed with the consultant but may include financial inclusion and climate
- Develop a pilot-to-program strategy/pathway to scale for mainstreaming the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. If possible, this would involve the development of a fully integrated pilot pipeline with clear entry points and benchmarks for program adoption and use at scale
The Consultant will:
- Provide a report on the state of the industry on blockchain and cryptocurrency in the humanitarian and development context, lessons learned from both Mercy Corps programming and others, and recommendations for Mercy Corps positioning in that space, including a research and learning agenda.
- Provide clear recommendations on blockchain and cryptocurrency priority use cases within Mercy Corps programming, including partners, geographies, criteria and conditions for pilots and programming
- Develop 2 to 3 discrete concepts for piloting (geography, sector, program, country team, external stakeholders/partners, HQ team, etc.) linking to the above learning agenda
- Provide a partner matrix analysis with recommendations on which partner(s) is most appropriate and under what circumstances that outlines specific roles of the partners (re: funding, implementation, design, etc.)
- Develop a communication package for both internal and external audiences around the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, including the possibility of representing Mercy Corps at key emerging technologies forums
Timeframe / Schedule:
The Consultant will work on a part-time basis from November 2022 to June 2023 for a maximum of 80 days.
The Consultant will report to:
Sr Director Technology for Development
The will work closely with:
Sr Advisor, Cash & Voucher Technology; Sr Director Economic Growth; Chief Investment Officer, Ventures; web3 Lead / Head of Pilots, Ventures; Pilot Lead, Blockchain for Development/Humanitarian, Ventures; Cash Matrix team members; Strategic Philanthropy & Partnerships team; TSU Financial Inclusion team
Required Experience & Skills:
The ideal consultant will have the following experience and skills:
- 5-10 years of experience in a relevant technical field
- Experience in blockchain and digital assets
- 3-5 years related professional work experience in digital financial services industry, inclusive payment systems, cash transfer programming, more specifically in humanitarian and development contexts
- Experience in strategy development, project management, research writing and presentation
- English fluency required
In addition to your CV, please submit a brief cover letter which includes a list of relevant projects/experience, expected fees/daily rate, and availability. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis for a target start date of late November 2022.
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.