Consultant - International Advisor - Rakhine Market Analysis Unit

Programs Anywhere, United States



The COVID-19 pandemic is jeopardizing economies, healthcare, and food systems throughout Myanmar, and in Rakhine State in particular. Although the health effects are certainly felt very strongly, it is expected that the negative economic impact on the most vulnerable will be much greater in scope and duration. There are multiple layers of economic impacts related to the COVID-19 crisis that will create breakdowns in supply chains, potential shortages and price spikes of inputs, reduced market outlets for agriculture, distortions in the labor market, and reduced cross-border trade, all affecting food production and food security. While the health effects are severe, the economic shock on the most vulnerable is expected to be harsh and lasting. These shocks are exacerbated in geographies where conflict-related - and potentially natural disaster-driven (esp. during the rainy season) - displacements of populations will further limit populations’ access to basic services, markets, and health facilities. In the face of COVID-19 and intensified conflicts in Rakhine State, continued in-depth, targeted and on-the-ground assessments are vital to clarify the market constraints and needs specific to individual affected areas, in order to inform early recovery, economic policies, and programme design. It is vital that credible data collection and analysis are conducted regularly to inform early recovery, economic policies and to ensure programme design and responses are well targeted and effective.


Purpose / Project Description:

Mercy Corps has recently setup a Rakhine Market Analysis Unit to gather much needed hard data and provide analysis that will help development practitioners and policymakers make informed decisions based on a better understanding of the present and potential impacts of COVID-19 on:

  • households’ access to basic needs, purchasing power and coping mechanisms, with a focus on key factors that are currently driving economic vulnerability and potential food insecurity in target areas and a disaggregated analysis by specific vulnerable groups;
  • the market functionality, with a focus on the broader food systems in the country as well as other households’ basic needs;
  • trade (agr. inputs and supply, machinery, commodities) and cross-border dynamics;
  • the performance, resilience and liquidity of the financial services sector; access to finance for households and businesses; and trends in remittances; and
  • the labour market, both for formal and informal employment, and with a focus on agricultural labour and low wage sectors (construction, factories, food services).


Consultant Objectives:

Mercy Corps is looking to recruit an International Advisor Consultant to periodically contribute to the research and analysis of the Rakhine Market Analysis Unit, along 3 phases (see below) and for a total of up to 25 days.


Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will:

  • Phase 1 – Design and establishment of the MAU (2 days):
    • Take part in the collaborative design and start up of the Rakhine Market Analysis Unit as a whole, in close coordination with the MAU Team Leader, Mercy Corps team in Myanmar, as well as its global technical support teams to come up with a clear vision, methodology, data collection and analysis plan, and identification of learning products
  • Phase 2 – Study on the impact of COVID-19 on markets in Rakhine (20 days):
    • Lead on the design, data collection and report production of one research product focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the fishery industry in Rakhine State as per agreed deadlines. This would include the following deliverables:
      1. Deliverable 1: Desk review, tool development and team training.
        • Conduct a review of literature and secondary data collection on the COVID-19 impacts on fishery, including initiatives (research, data collection, response projects) currently underway in Rakhine State. Design of the research methodology and the establishment of a detailed workplan. Develop and test qualitative and / or quantitative data collection tools necessary for the research and train the data collection team on the methodology, tools and basic analysis functions.
      2. Deliverable 2: Field Research.
        • Map out key informants based on the agreed methodology and focus of the analysis, including mapping out key value chain actors across different townships of Rakhine State. Ensure timely and quality data collection in the field.
      3. Deliverable 3: Data analysis and report production.
        • Analyze the data collected and produce an analytical report (20 pages) as per agreed deadlines.
  • Phase 3 – Data analysis and reporting (3 days):
    • Take part in the collaborative final analysis of the Rakhine MAU data and generated evidence, including participation in an analysis workshop and review of final report


For the three deliverables outlined under Phase 2, the consultant will be required to collaborate with a local researcher / expert, whose CV will need to be shared with and approved by Mercy Corps before commencement of the works. The consultant will work with the Mercy Corps Market Analysis Unit’s team for the data collection.


Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will:

  • Take part in meetings leading up to the design and establishment of the MAU
  • Produce an in-depth research report (20 pages) on of the above-described themes on the impact of COVID-19 and conflict on market dynamics and / or households in Rakhine State – the exact research topic will be determined upon recruitment – see detailed breakdown in “Activities” above
  • Take part in meetings leading up to final data analysis and reporting of the MAU

Timeframe / Schedule: 

  • Phase 1 – Design and establishment of the MAU (2 days) – End August / beginning September 2020
  • Phase 2 – Study on the impact of COVID-19 on markets in Rakhine (20 days) – September / October 2020
  • Phase 3 – Data analysis and reporting (3 days) – December 2020

The Consultant will report to: Director of Programs

The Consultant will work closely with: Market Analysis Unit’s Team Leader, Director of Strategy & Program Development, Markets Program Manager, Country MEL Manager, Project officers / enumerators, Technical Support Unit, and additional headquarters-based support departments as needed.


Required skills and experience:

Mercy Corps seeks candidates with solid market systems development and humanitarian response programmatic background, excellent analytical and writing skills, and preferably experience with the Myanmar and Rakhine context. Key requirements include:

  • MA/S or equivalent in international development, social science, business administration or other relevant fields.
  • Demonstrable experience in humanitarian assistance and/or market systems development analysis and market impact assessments in contexts that are fast changing and fragile, with a focus on the above-outlined sectors.
  • Excellent English writing and communication skills, and the ability to present information logically and concisely.
  • Ability to work under pressure and deliver quality products under tight deadlines and in sparse working environments.
  • Ability to work as part of diverse teams and facilitate planning processes.
  • Strong preference given to candidates with prior field experience and demonstrated understanding of the critical development issues in Rakhine State.

Applications for this position will be assessed on a rolling basis.