Consultant - SIDA-TAGHIR Learning Research Activity - Livelihoods

Programs Anywhere, United States



Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.  Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons.


The primary goal of Mercy Corps’ livelihoods sector is to contribute to Iraq’s stabilization, reduce poverty and inequality by increasing resilience capacity in order for people in Iraq (including Syrian refugees) to obtain sustainable livelihood and employment opportunities, and access to goods and services while reducing the effects and risks of disaster, conflict, or other shocks.  For the next two years, the livelihoods sector will focus on linking emergency response activities to early recovery and rehabilitation, and eventually transitioning to longer-term recovery and sustainable development. The sector’s strategy will build on what Mercy Corps has already accomplished during the emergency and early recovery phase in the affected communities to identify innovative development solutions and integrated holistic livelihood interventions that can enhance their resilience and maintain economic stability.



TAGHIR is a three year project funded by SIDA on “Promoting resilience for returnees and host communities in Ninawa”. The project runs from 1 June 2019 to 31 May 2022, and targeting 112,265 people (youth, returnees and host communities) in three districts in Ninawa, including Mosul, Sinjar and Tel Kaif - which are prioritized due to the diverse ethnic and sectarian make-up of the population in Ninewa (Sunni Arab, Shi’a Arab, Shabak, Yazidi, Christian, Turkman, Kurd), as well as the large number of displaced and returning populations. The goal of this project is: To facilitate peaceful environment and wellbeing of the returnees and host communities in conflict affected districts and sub-districts of Ninawa through psychosocial resilience, social cohesion and livelihood restoration.




The interest of the Mercy Corps Livelihood Sector’s learning agenda is to continue building an evidenced-based through programmatic lessons learned and rigorous research and analysis. Program team will generate, capture, share and use knowledge that supports and improves development outcomes. Based on evidence, Mercy Corps will further improve its existing program designs, approaches and methodology, share knowledge and build stakeholder capacity to implement new learning. 



The learning research activity will assess job placement and entrepreneurship interventions in the context of Iraq, with a central focus on the sustainability of interventions, and overall impact on long term employment. Ultimately the activity aims to generate evidence-based research and learning of livelihood interventions, approaches, methodology and program design in Iraq, and identify alternative innovative solutions, with the aim of supporting and increasing Mercy Corps’ impact, sustainability and scale.


Preliminary Research Questions

Job Placement Interventions: How are current job placement interventions and approaches in Iraq ensuring dignified and sustainable long term employment, specifically for vulnerable groups of people (women, youth, People with Disability (PWD) and conflict affected populations?


Are there particular employment interventions which lend themselves to being implemented at scale in Iraq that can be adapted by Mercy Corps to improve its programming?

  • With regards to Mercy Corps’ current approach on employability, transferability and career development skills training and internship program in contributing to securing steady productive long term employment?


Entrepreneurship Interventions: How are current entrepreneurship development support (EDS) interventions contributing to long term profitability and sustainability of businesses?

  • With regards to starting, maintaining, and growing the business long term?
  • With regards to job creation, through supporting businesses, in long-term job opportunities?
  • With regards to risk mitigation of business continuity, fraud and corruption?
  • With regards to timing of in-kind or cash support at the end of the training in order for them to start, maintain and sustain livelihoods?
  • With regards to businesses led by vulnerable groups (women, People with Disability (PWD) and conflicted affected populations)?


Are there particular EDS interventions which lend themselves to being implemented at scale in Iraq that can be adapted by Mercy Corps to improve its programming?


Methodology and Scope

The research data will be collected through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. A thorough desk review of all secondary data will proceed data collection to compile information on the past and current  livelihood interventions of Mercy Corps and other livelihood actors in Iraq; their impact, successes and challenges. Gender and inclusion focused documentation will be critical for the success of the research.


The research will collate primary data through individual surveys, in-depth semi-structured interviews with past and current program participants, key stakeholders, and focus group discussions (FGDs) to develop a deep understanding of the targeted interventions, and specifically Mercy Corps’ previous and current program participants’ experiences, perceptions, and opportunities. Data collection tools will be developed to fit the contexts, translated into the local languages and reviewed by Mercy Corps Iraq staff.



The consultant is expected to deliver the following:


  1. Inception Report: After conducting a desk review of the livelihoods intervention landscape in Iraq, the consultant is expected to produce an inception report of how information will be analyzed, presented and discussed/adjusted together with Mercy Corps.
  2. Design, develop, review and refine data collection tools: With Mercy Corps Iraq’s SIDA-TAGHIR program and MEL teams, develop tools, including translation to Arabic languages, where appropriate.
  • Encode and analyze data
  1. Present Findings and Key Recommendations: The comprehensive final research findings must follow the following criteria: The consultant is expected to deliver a comprehensive final report; the report should be in four (4) hard-cover-bound, physical, copies and a soft copy (PDF and Word - submitted electronically); page limit for the full report is 40 pages (exclusive of annexes and attachments).


The consultant will also submit a short 2 page summary of findings for external dissemination.


Report Structure & Content:

  1. Cover Page, List of Acronyms
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Executive Summary: This section should be a clear and concise stand-alone document that gives readers the essential contents of the report, including a summary of major findings, lessons learned, and recommendations.
  4. Methodology: This section should be sufficiently detailed to help the reader judge the accuracy of the report and its findings.
  5. Limitations: This section should address constraints and limitations of the methodology, and the implications of these limitations for the findings, including whether and why any of the evaluation findings are inconclusive.
  6. Results: This section should provide a clear assessment of progress with respect to indicators / targets / objectives and/or evaluation questions. Reference baseline and midterm evaluation information as well as program logic, theory of change, etc.
  7. Synthesis, Recommendations and Lessons Learned: This is space for the evaluation team to think about the data and results, and make concrete recommendations for current or future program improvements, pull out organization lessons learned, and generally comment on data and results. Everything presented in this section should be directly linked back to the information presented in the Results section of the report
  8. Conflicts of Interest: Disclose any conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest, including the interest of program staff in having a successful program.
  9. Annexes: These should include a complete file of data collection instruments in English and translations (Arabic); list of stakeholder groups with number and type of interactions; SOW, qualitative protocols developed and used, any data sets (these can be provided in electronic format), any required photos, participant profiles or other special documentation needed.


The report will be submitted in English and must include clear, substantiated recommendations for improvement of future similar programming.



The Consultant will work closely with: SIDA-TAGHIR Senior Program Manager, Head of Livelihoods, Program Performance and Quality Director.


The Consultant will report to: MEL Manager for SIDA-TAGHIR.



Mercy Corps will review and approve the methodology, approaches, plans, and tools prior to usage.



The consultant is expected to carry out the following tasks and to produce a comprehensive final evaluation report.





3 days

Desk review of livelihoods job placement and entrepreneurship interventions in Iraq, as well as Mercy Corps Livelihoods programs


2 days

Produce inception report of how information will analyzed and presented and discuss/adjust together with Mercy Corps


3 days

Design, develop, review (with Mercy Corps Iraq’s SIDA-TAGHIR program and MEL teams) and refine data collection tools including translation to Arabic languages, where appropriate.


5 days

Conduct data collection activities


3 days

Encode and analyze data


3 days

Prepare draft evaluation report


2 days

Finalize report based on MC feedback





  1. All the collected data and provided reports will be sole property of Mercy Corps and should not be shared or published without approval.
  2. Mercy Corps will not have any obligations for any issues arising between the consultant and SIDA-TAGHIR  staff/management. 
  3. Mercy Corps will have a maximum of 3 reviews/revision processes for each tool/report submitted before service provider finalization and usage.
  4. All the materials must be delivered in word and pdf format.
  5. The consultant must sign the data-sharing agreement with Mercy Corps at the onset which stipulates that any data on programme documents, internal Mercy Corps must not be shared unless otherwise have prior approval from Mercy Corps.