Consultant - Digital Cash and Voucher (CVA) Advisement - Remote

Programs Anywhere, United States


Description

Background

Mercy Corps is an international, non-governmental humanitarian relief and development agency that exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. Mercy Corps works in more than 40 countries, and has been present in Nepal since 2005. In Nepal, Mercy Corps works to build the absorptive, adaptive, and transformative potential of vulnerable individuals and communities across the country. Through a systems-based approach to market development, financial services access, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and youth engagement, Mercy Corps builds resilience among target communities.

Purpose / Project Description

The main purpose is to help teams design and adapt CVA as a result of COVID-19 and its aftermath. This is a hands-on support role for someone who has a successful track record supporting field-level assessments, contracting, and programme adaptations -- including experience promoting the use of digital tools and/or service providers throughout the CVA programme cycle. This person will be expected to directly support teams as they transition to new and increasingly remote implementation models, covering adaptations to needs / market assessments, participant selection / enrollment / verification (fulfilling Know-Your-Client requirements where necessary), transfers (unrestricted or restricted), and ongoing monitoring efforts. 

Consultants with demonstrated relevant experience in the following countries will be prioritized: 

    • Americas: Haiti*, Colombia
    • Asia: Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan
  • Middle East: Iraq, Lebanon
  • Africa: DRC*, Mali*, Niger*, Nigeria, Zimbabwe

Consultant Objectives

This consultant will help teams leverage and manage new digital service providers and partnerships in support of active CVA, with aims to (1) scale existing footprints within impacted communities, (2) strengthen service delivery and product offerings for typically unbanked clientele, and (3) support broader collaboration models with peers as related to humanitarian response and coordinated cash delivery.

As a part of Mercy Corps’ CVA approach, the agency has committed to increase uptake of digital products and services for the most vulnerable households, local agent networks, and small-scale merchants. Building off work led by ELAN, and more recently with regulators and local financial institutions in select countries, this consultancy aims to foster collaborative partnerships with local payment providers in order to diversify payment mechanisms in use. For unrestricted / cash transfers, we prioritize working with locally-viable FSPs through the promotion of shared standards. (For more information on Mercy Corps’ latest COVID / CVA response strategies, please refer here.)

Areas of focus will include advisory on both transfers (delivery mechanisms) and participant data management, vis-a-vis established SOPs, programme designs (which may include consortia), and community best practice. Resulting tools, methodologies, and partnership models will be documented & refined through specified country support, to then be shared across the agency for more general use.

This consultancy reports into the Technology for Development (T4D) team, with dotted lines to relevant country programmes. Consultant(s) will also operate in close coordination with the Programme Performance and Quality (PAQ) department and Technical Support Unit (TSU). 

Consultant Activities

The consultant will:

  • Spearhead digital capacity assessments as well as financial / payment service provider opportunity / needs mapping, risk / trade-off matrices, etc.
  • Directly support CVA programmes and country staff with transitions to digital, whether related to data management / analysis or the adoption of new digital delivery mechanisms. This includes helping review or refresh standing SOPs or programme design documents, in conjunction with other departments providing this technical support and quality assurance.
  • Generate broader landscape analyses, as related to strategic stakeholder engagement (e.g. with peer agencies, government) or new CVA programme designs in select countries, as per strategies and priorities set forth by country teams

Support may include some or all of the following, depending on a specific country’s portfolio and needs:

    • Scoping: work with country teams to identify relevant digital service providers and propose various digital priorities and partnership models. This includes leveraging existing best practice guidance, resources, and/or global agreements or partnerships in place for use by teams
    • Design: help teams forecast ‘digital costs’ for new programme budgets; troubleshooting capacity / resource gaps; supporting budgets and work plan adjustments, including justifications for cost- and no-cost extensions
    • Procurement: facilitate informed FSP selection in accordance with MC policies; supporting SOW development between MC and technology providers and/or digital components of FSP contracts. This may also include helping teams frame new business relationships / partnerships vis-a-vis providers, to help evolve traditional client / service provider models
  • Implementation: support vendor / partner engagement and management, serving as bridge between MC and technology providers as needed. Identify training gaps and enable skills development on both sides. 
  • Shared Learning / Knowledge Management: Develop tools to conduct relevant assessments/analyses and build on the results that can be shared with other teams, share lessons learned. 
  • Ongoing: Provide support to existing CVA portfolio (especially Francophone countries) as feasible/required

Consultant Deliverables

This consultancy will produce:

    • Context / FSP mapping (external) - at least one (1) per country assigned
  • Digital CVA Readiness diagnostic (internal) - one (1) brief per country assigned
  • Learning briefs & hosted webinar sessions - at least one (1) per country assigned, to be broadcast to field staff

Timeframe

The Consultant will work up to 40 working days.  A detailed work plan is left to the discretion of the consultant. This is a deliverable based role, so full or part-time offers will be considered.

The Consultant will report to: 

Sr. T4D Advisor, with a dotted line to in-country leadership based on what countries are assigned

Required Skills and Experience

  • 5 years of experience in cash transfer programming required (i.e. writing and analysis on proposal development; humanitarian assessments; CVA implementation; CVA capacity building); 
  • At least two (2) response assignments that demonstrate the ability to successfully adapt support and assistance methodologies to real-world complexities (slow onset, rapid onset, protracted/complex crises) - required
  • Relevant educational achievements. Bachelors, or Masters preferred. 
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required
  • Proficiency in French required if proposing to support Haiti, DRC, Niger, and/or Mali. Other languages (Arabic, Spanish) are a benefit. 
  • Concrete experience integrating technological solutions to CVA programmes, to enhance accountability and impact.  
  • Mercy Corps Core Humanitarian Competencies (as defined in the Humanitarian Capacity Framework) preferred.

Technical competencies:

  • Possesses strong understanding of theoretical and applied knowledge about CVA
  • Knows and applies Mercy Corps’ CVA minimum standards
  • Can lead rapid market assessments
  • Can identify and initiate setup of payment delivery mechanisms
  • Can conduct response analysis and program design (CVA related)
  • Is able to update CVA SOPs in line with Mercy Corps’ Minimum Standards, as required
  • Can host / draft technical briefs for donors, with support from Cash Matrix Team

Functional competencies

  • Can write proposals, concept notes for funding
  • Understands donor regulations and compliance (USAID, ECHO, DFID, UN, etc.)
  • Supports the development of program strategies
  • Supports team members through coaching and capacity building
  • Possesses basic M&E competencies to ensure program accountability and evidence of impact
  • Can identify and nurture strategic partnerships with private sector and peers
  • Is familiar with using integrated approaches and applying systems thinking
  • Can identify and leverage opportunities for CVA collaboration/coordination, building off lessons learned and documentation generated from existing consortia

Success Factors

Consultants should demonstrate a winning track record in program development, and bring flexibility, creativity, and enthusiasm to every project they undertake. The individual must have exceptional writing skills and the ability to set priorities, pay attention to detail, and work under tight deadlines within complex team environments and coordination structures. Experience with emergency contexts will be important for the success of this position. 

The consultant must take an active role in building and maintaining external relationships as well as demonstrating the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts. The individual must learn quickly how to provide technical data and support in the most efficient and effective form possible, to ensure sustainable uptake.

Accountability to Partners

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Travel and Working Condition

The consultancy may be conducted remotely and on a part or full-time basis, to be clarified in a work plan submitted by the consultant and agreed with MC. Any remote work will be required to follow each identified country’s time zone and business hours. 

How to Submit Your CV

This notice does not constitute an offer of employment.  Any description contained herein may be modified and/or revoked.  Interested applicants should carefully note the minimum qualifications and submit a CV along with a cover letter detailing previous experience, and a proposed daily rate to Mercy Corps online career site at mercycorps.org/careers. 

Mercy Corps Diversity Statement 

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 Statement

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact. 

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.