Consultant - Sprout Platform Business Development and Partnership

Programs Africa - Various Locations, Kenya


Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. 
Agrifin Program Context:
Nearly one and a half billion poor people live on less than US$1.25 a day. One billion of them live in rural areas where agriculture is their main source of livelihood. An estimated 70 million SmallHolder Farmers (SHF) live in Sub Saharan Africa, over half of whom are women.Smallholders, who typically farm two hectares or less, provide over 80% of the food consumed in a large part of the developing world, contributing significantly to poverty reduction and food security. However, increasing fragmentation of landholdings, especially in infrastructure, coupled with reduced investment support, growing competition for land and water, rising input prices and climate change threaten this contribution, leaving many smallholders increasingly vulnerable.
Mobile phones are a powerful tool to access the electronic national retail payments system and enable vast numbers of clients to use a range of financial and informational services at lower cost. In agriculture, progressively more services are being delivered via mobile phone. Applications now deliver direct specific, timely information on agricultural production methods to farmers through their mobile phones.Moving beyond one-to-one communication, there are internet- and SMS-based services that allow farmers to access inputs; access price information on different crops and provide a platform for smallholders to collectively sell crops and buy inputs, thereby lowering costs and accessing new markets. Launched in 2012, Mercy Corps AgriFin’s primary target group is unbanked smallholder farmers living on less than USD 2 per day. Mobilizing a vast network of partners, AgriFin ensures that the needs of farmers inform the design of partner products and services. Our shared global context is challenging – climate variability and population growth present unprecedented challenges. Yet, our experience tells us that farmers are determined to beat the odds.
Sprout and CGIAR Context:
Sprout, a project of Mercy Corps AgriFin, envisions a future where every small-scale farmer in Africa has access to farmer-friendly, expert validated agricultural information and knowledge on best practices and personalized services in the palm of their hands, helping them to make informed decisions, adapt to climate change, improve their productivity, and their livelihoods. Sprout’s approach and software platform leverages the emergence of key agriculture value chain actors - Farmer Facing Organizations (FFOs) and their digital platforms, farmer data and reach - as a scale pathway to enable FFOs to transform their SSFs’ access to decision support information, best practices, and personalized services. 
Sprout is a member of EiA’s 2022 Cohort. Excellence in Agronomy (EiA), a program of CGIAR, aims to deliver an increase in productivity and quality per unit of input (agronomic gain) for millions of smallholder farming households in prioritized farming systems by 2030, with an emphasis on women and young farmers, showing a measurable impact on food and nutrition security, income, resource use, soil health, climate resilience and climate change mitigation. Jointly, Sprout and EiA have 7 developed deep content datasets and a new MVP Hyper Local Seasonal Forecast weather service for Nigerian FFOs and SHFs in Q1-3 2023.
The project seeks to address critical gaps in agricultural knowledge dissemination and support services for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia. With a focus on enhancing collaboration between Farmer Facing Organizations (FFOs), CGIAR Ukama Ustawi, and government agencies, the project aims to co-create tailored solutions that meet the evolving needs of farmers and FFOs. Through structured surveys, platform assessments, and partnership initiatives, the project will gather insights, assess existing platforms, and co-design interventions to improve access to relevant agricultural content and services. By leveraging local expertise and stakeholder engagement, the project aims to empower smallholder farmers with the knowledge and resources needed to enhance productivity, resilience, and sustainability in agriculture.
Purpose / Project Description:
The consultant will support the fulfillment of the objectives, activities, and deliverables below in close collaboration with the DCSA Director and Sprout Lead.
Consultant Objectives:
The Sprout Platform Business Development and Partnership Consultant will maintain and develop partner relationships, lead marketing initiatives, contribute to product and business development, and manage Sprout platform engagements and partner implementations.
Consultant Activities:
The Consultant will:
  • Maintain and develop partner relationships, identifying potential engagements, participating in due diligence, coordinating follow-up meetings to gather content and service/product needs and regularly updating the Sprout business development (BD) pipeline
  • Engage with potential content providers and FFO partners to identify content needs and ensure effective use of the Sprout platform, expanding its reach to new markets and geographies.
  • Plan and support the implementation of marketing initiatives, including digital marketing through newsletters, social media, conferences/webinars, and develop business development materials and strategies to raise awareness about Sprout.
  • Actively participate in product development meetings, support partner prospecting, and platform development, and manage Sprout engagements, providing regular progress reports and timesheets.
  • Identify organizations and partners to plug into the Sprout Platform and assist in updating the Sprout Platform Content Priority Spreadsheet.
  • Actively contribute in product development meetings and engagements.
  • Partner Prospecting and Platform Development by maintaining and developing partner relationships, identifying potential engagements, participating in due diligence, coordinating follow-up meetings to gather content and service/product needs and regularly updating the Sprout business development (BD) pipeline. 
  • Sprout Platform and partner relationship management: Support the implementation of identified Sprout engagements including kick-off meetings, internal update meetings, and regular updates with the partner and other members of the Sprout Project team to ensure success.
  • Socialize the newly developed AI chatbot among FFO partners, onboard them on the AI chatbot pilot, and collect feedback.
  • Coordinate with the MC AgriFin team in identifying in other CRM platforms
  • Backup all information from Hubspot CRM for future migration
Consultant Deliverables:
The consultant will work to produce updates on the deliverables below alongside regular progress reports and activity time logs, in close collaboration with the DCSA Director and Sprout Platform Lead:
  • Coordinate and conduct Sprout Platform introductory meetings to unique and new partners.
  • Gather partner requirements and coordinate with content transformation team for content acquisition and transformation 
  • Develop and socialize periodic newsletters. 
  • Develop Business development collateral for engaging partners.
  • Coordinate and conduct Sprout platform introductory meetings. 
  • Regularly update the Sprout BD partner pipeline and manage Sprout's social media presence. 
  • Support partner management and maintain relationships with current onboarded partners. 
  • Share market-based insights with the product team and support product development. 
  • Developing and conducting Team-building activities for the Sprout team.
  • Coordinate with the MC AgriFin team in identifying other CRM platforms
  • Backup all information from Hubspot CRM for future migration
Timeframe / Schedule: 
The Timeframe will be between June 17, 2024 -  Oct 31 , 2024
The Consultant will report to:
Agrifin DCSA Director and Sprout Lead.
The Consultant will work closely with:
The Agrifin Technical team
Required Experience & Skills:
  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, business or a similar area
  • About five years of proven sales experience in business or a related area
  • Exceptional communication and presentation skills, both written and verbal, in order to express technical and nontechnical concepts clearly and concisely
  • Technical skills required to create proposals and find solutions to meet client requirements, such as using software programs and machines
  • Excellent organizational skills to meet goals and set priorities
  • Be proactive, organized and handle work under stressful and uncertain environments
  • Previous experience working with MC AgriFin, and their network of 150 partners highly preferred
  • Previous experience supporting partners integrate, port, and leverage the Sprout Platform and the Sprout Learning services
  • Able to manage team and clients remotely    
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.