Consultant - Value for Money - VenEsperanza - Remote

Programs Anywhere, United States



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.

The VenEsperanza consortium (VE) – made up of Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children, and World Vision – has worked since August 15, 2019, to deliver humanitarian multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) and complementary nutrition programming to improve access to basic needs for People in Need (PIN) in Colombia. This program targets Venezuelan migrants and refugees with intention to remain in Colombia, Colombian returnees, and host community members. As of December 2021, the consortium had delivered nearly $40M in lifesaving MPCA to over 319,000 participants, delivering complementary nutrition programming to over 63,000 people, and had begun aiding participants in registration efforts for legal migration status with the Government of Colombia (GOC) to expand access to social services. The program was recently extended to reach over 358,000 participants. VE represents both one of Mercy Corps’ largest current programs and one of Mercy Corps’ largest MPCA programs.

At the agency level, Mercy Corps has established a working group to define a common Value for Money (VfM) approach. The VfM working group is a venue to coordinate efforts towards strengthening and streamlining VfM understanding and analysis at the organizational and programmatic level. The emphasis of the group is to define what VfM means for Mercy Corps, and how and when VfM analysis can be applied consistently to programs. Complementing this, Mercy Corps is a member of the multi-agency Dioptra consortium, which seeks to develop a common methodology and software for cost efficiency analysis and to conduct joint donor advocacy around efficient program delivery parameters and best practices for VfM measurements and expectations.

Purpose / Project Description:


As a component of its learning agenda, and to further Mercy Corps’ efforts to assess programmatic value for money (VfM), Mercy Corps and the VE Consortium are interested in assessing VE’s VfM, specifically with respect to MPCA. This will also advance Mercy Corps’ commitment to sector wide VfM collaboration and information sharing through the Dioptra consortium, which also includes several VE agencies.

Information Sources

The following documents are available for review:

  • Program proposal and recent narrative reports
  • MEL Plan
  • Latest indicator performance tracking table (IPTT) and Program TolaData record
  • Program budget and transactions list
  • MEL reports, including baseline, midline, endline, and post distribution monitoring (PDM)
  • Participant selection methodology
  • CCI Report

Objectives and Study Questions

The specific objectives of this analysis are as follows:

  1. To assess the cost and design, efficiency, effectiveness and equity of VE MPCA using accepted VfM methodologies.
  2. To increase VE team understanding of VfM analyses and their use.
  3. To contribute to the sector wide evidence base for cost efficiency in humanitarian MPCA programming.
  4. To provide VE Consortium members with data around VfM for advocating with donors and/ or other internal/ external stakeholders and/ or designing future interventions.

The study will focus on the following key questions:

  • Cost and design: what are the cost drivers of the program? How are they affected by the program design with respect to equity?
  • Efficiency and cost-efficiency: Have the resources been allocated equitably to marginalized individuals/groups and intended target? What is the program's cost-efficiency performance with respect to other MPCA programs?
  • Effectiveness: Has the program achieved the intended outcome(s)? Has the program addressed originally identified inclusion barriers?
  • VfM: How can the agency use VfM data to understand how to efficiently and effectively allocate resources?

Consultant Activities:

The study will use the VfM framework developed by Mercy Corps, which comprises a theoretical VfM model, metrics and cost analysis method. The analysis uses the Dioptra cost analysis method as the backbone to classify costs and a series of metrics to assess the VfM of the program. No additional data collection is expected beyond interviews with staff members. The consultant is expected to use Dioptra for cost analysis and training will be provided by Mercy Corps staff. The method includes suggested metrics and this consultancy is expected to add new metrics in the analysis. The analysis will explore the following aspects:

a) Costs and design - Identifying the makeup of the cost allocation across cost categories in order to identify cost drivers. This will include considerations around the program design and how the targeting of marginalized groups has contributed towards cost allocation.

Suggested metric: cost of a category as % of the total cost.

b) Efficiency - Quantifying the delivery of goods and services to participants and the cost of adopting an equitable reach.

Suggested metrics: cost per dollar transferred; cost per person reached through MPCA assistance; cost per marginalized person reached through the program (if the budget breakdown allows).

c) Effectiveness - Quantifying the achievement of the project results, including outcomes addressing structural barriers, and the likelihood that the results are sustained over-time.

Suggested metrics: percentage of actual/ targets met for outcome-level indicators; cost per outcome unit (to identify based on the logframe); percentage of actual/target met of outcome indicators addressing identified barriers and imbalances.

Consultant Deliverables:

The assignment will lead to the following deliverables:

1) VfM report and summary

Pilot report outline (up to 15 pages):
a) Background and program documentation review
b) Methodology
c) Results
d) Implications

2) One-page summary (e.g. results infographic)

3) Training of Country team staff members. Note: this is support only. The main training material will be developed by the Mercy Corps Senior MEL Advisor.

VfM training curriculum:
a) Concepts of VfM - the 4E’s;
b) VfM framework at Mercy Corps; and,
c) Ingredients for a VfM analysis.

Timeframe / Schedule: 

This assignment requires an estimated 25 consulting days. The estimated timeframe for this assignment is May 2022. The assignment will be conducted remotely. The timeline is proposed below:

  • April 1-15: SoW posted
  • May 2: Consultant contracted
  • May 3-7: Orientation, review, and methodology consolidation (5 days)
  • May 9-12: VfM training (4 days)
  • May 13-26: Analysis (10 days)
  • May 27 – June 2: Report writing (5 days)
  • June 3-10: Feedback
  • June 20: Finalization and dissemination (1 day)

The Consultant will report to:

Senior MEL Advisor

The Consultant will work closely with:

The VfM team will consist of Mercy Corps Senior Advisor on the HQ MEL Team, a VfM Consultant, several VE team members, and potentially another consortium partner HQ team member. Mercy Corps staff will provide an overview of the methodology and an example of what the final product may look like.

Required Experience & Skills:

  • 5-10 years of experience in relevant technical field (required)
  • MSc, PhD, or a strong academic background in economics
  • At least 5 years of prior experience in at least one of the following: value for money, cost efficiency, cost effectiveness and/or cost benefit
  • Proven experience in analyzing and writing similar reports
  • Open to learn a new software solution for cost analysis
  • Fluency in English

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.