Consultant-Systems & Markets Resilience Analyst-Remote

Programs Anywhere, United States


Description

About Mercy Corps

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. Now, and for the future.

Background:

The Resilience Evaluation, Analysis and Learning (REAL) Award, is a consortium-led effort funded by the USAID Center for Resilience. It was established to respond to the growing demand among USAID missions, host governments, implementing organizations, and other key stakeholders for rigorous yet practical monitoring, evaluation, strategic analysis, and capacity building support related to resilience. REAL consists of a consortium of Save the Children, Food for the Hungry, Mercy Corps, and TANGO International.

Market System Resilience is an emerging area of technical expertise and research, with the potential to strengthen the scale and impact of programming in shock-prone contexts and complex crises. Mercy Corps is launching programming and research that builds on agency expertise by layering resilience thinking into Market Systems Development (MSD) programming. There is strong internal and external appetite for learning in this space, and USAID has called for partners to test and share learning from using Market System Resilience (MSR) frameworks for design assessments and monitoring and research efforts. This body of work will play a critical role in improving Mercy Corps’ program impact and contributing to sector-wide learning. While Mercy Corps has increased its capacity to quantitatively measure dynamics and program impacts related to MSR, the agency requires additional expertise to drive forward learning and strategic adaptation of an MSR framework for the agency, support program teams in market systems resilience analysis and intervention strategies, and lead research initiatives on MSR, including overseeing qualitative methods and their integration with quantitative data.  

Purpose / Project Description:

Building on its expertise in Market Systems Development in fragile contexts, Resilience, and Resilience measurement, Mercy Corps is seeking a consultant to drive and deliver a Market System Resilience (MSR) learning agenda, supporting market systems analysis to incorporate resilience, partnering with programs to support design and adaptive management that incorporates MSR, and developing research and learning products on the topic of MSR. Mercy Corps has strong capacity in MSD and the successful candidate for this consultancy need not be an MSD expert, but must demonstrate excellent competency in defining and measuring complex systems (including but not limited to markets). 

Consultant Objectives:

The Market System Resilience Analyst will drive and manage the Market Systems Resilience learning agenda, an important strategic initiative for Mercy Corps programming and technical influence. The candidate will be responsible for overseeing the refinement of an existing analysis framework for MSR, piloting and adapting this framework in key programming contexts (potentially Nigeria, Uganda, Lebanon, and Ethiopia), and designing a research and learning agenda to measure changes and shock responses in market systems and the impact of market systems interventions on household-level resilience. The candidate will also be responsible for creating deliverables for internal and external audiences. Specifically some of the consultant deliverables will support broader research and learning efforts, such as the USAID funded Resilience Evaluation Analysis and Learning (REAL) award and the FCDO funded Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) project. The candidate will work closely with external research partners, program teams, members of the TSU, and the Research and Learning team.

Consultant Activities and Estimated Level of Effort:

The Consultant will:

  • Work with the Market Systems Resilience Measurement quantitative consultant and other key stakeholders to produce a brief literature review of existing markets systems resilience measurement frameworks, their relative strengths and weaknesses and remaining gaps that the Mercy Corps’ MSR framework is seeking to fill (5 days)
  • Expand on existing quantitative indicators in Mercy Corps’ MSR framework with complementary measures that qualitatively capture key dimensions of market resilience (e.g. diversity, connectivity, power dynamics, etc.) and give insight into both current status of these key dimensions within a community as well track trends/improvements over time in market systems functionality and resilience (15 days)   
  • Develop and implement a process with the Market Systems Resilience Measurement quantitative consultant and other key stakeholders to pilot the MSR framework in select strategic programs in order to validate the qualitative indicators individually and their complementarity with quantitative measures and making any requisite adaptations to the MSR framework. This will entail: (60 days)
    • developing and applying a clear analysis plan, analysis, interpretation and write-up findings of the MSR assessment
    • partnering with program teams to support their conduct of the assessment and translation of results into improved practice, and ensure it feeds into market activity design and on-going program decision-making
    • working with key stakeholders to capture and document lessons learned throughout this process to improve programs. This includes: (20 days)
    • developing and delivering guidance and training materials on the MSR framework aligned or integrated with existing Mercy Corps’ Markets Systems Development/measurement guidance. 
    • working with key staff and project teams to build their capacity on the tools, making any necessary contextual adjustments and enabling them to implement the MSR framework in future activities and finalize the MSR framework, provide a foundation for the training guidance described below, and inform a future learning agenda for MSR measurement more broadly
    • Develop materials and facilitate processes to operationalize the validated MSR measurement framework into future 
  • Develop externally facing materials (e.g. briefs, blogs, technical guidance, etc.) with the Market Systems Resilience Measurement quantitative consultant capturing practical lessons learned and technical guidance on the MSR framework (20 days)
  • Externally represent Mercy Corps’ work in this space with the MSR working group/community of practice (5 days)

Key Consultant Deliverables:

  • Bi-weekly updates to key internal MSR stakeholders
  • Tested and validated qualitative instruments for the Mercy Corps’ MSR measurement framework
  • Report(s) documenting the findings of the pilot MSR measurement framework for the program team that include findings from market analysis and its impact on program design/implementation, as well as gathering lessons learned to finalize the MSR measurement framework, serve as the basis for future guidance, and inform a future learning agenda
  • Internal Mercy Corps’ tools, processes, and guidance (ex. tip-sheets, training materials, presentations) on how the MSR measurement framework can be operationalized for assessment, monitoring and evaluation, at program design and inception and throughout implementation
  • Trainings and internal dissemination activities for select Mercy Corps’ staff to operationalize the MSR measurement framework
  • Externally-facing presentation(s) and technical guidance on the MSR measurement framework, including how this framework fills any existing gaps in this space, relevant quantitative/qualitative instruments, as well as guidance/promising practices for operationalizing the MSR measurement framework
  • External dissemination activities 

Required Experience & Skills:

  • 5- 10 years of experience conducting research on topics related to complex systems and systems thinking preferably to market systems development, but other relevant fields strongly encouraged to apply; 
  • Demonstrated experience producing research that is of relevance to both practitioner and academic audiences;
  • Strong experience in qualitative research methods and in developing research and evaluation plans;

Level of Effort / Timeframe 

125 days over 6-12 months 

The Consultant will report to: 

Director, Research and Learning for Resilience

The Consultant will work closely with:

  • Sr. Director, Research and Learning
  • Interim Sr. Adviser & Team Lead, Market Systems Development
  • Sr. Adviser & Team Lead, Market Systems Development
  • Sr. Market Systems Development Adviser
  • Sr. Director, Resilience
  • Market Systems Resilience Measurement
  • Relevant country teams, and members of the R&L and TSU teams

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.