Mercy Corps

Program Engagement Consultant

Mercy Corps

Job Description

Mercy Corps’ mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. The AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) program is a six year, USD 24.7 million program of Mercy Corps, supported by The MasterCard Foundation. The core problem AgriFin Accelerate seeks to address is the inclusion gap for smallholder farmers (SHF) who lack access to affordable, accessible, demand-driven financial products and services that drive higher productivity and income for farm families. Drawing on Mercy Corps’ experience implementing the AgriFin Mobile program and years of work in the Agriculture, finance and ICT sectors, AgriFin Accelerate will support the expansion of digital financial services (DFS) to one million farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over six years, delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers. AgriFin Accelerate’s primary target group is unbanked smallholder farmers living on less than $2 per day in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. AgriFin Digital Farmer (ADF), a USD 5 million program, supported by the Gates’ foundation, will support the expansion of digital financial services (DFS) to one million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria over two years, delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers. Three outcomes will contribute to the achievement of this goal: Outcome 1: Market actors expand, improve and continue to offer high-impact DFS products and services that are tailored to address the expressed needs of SHFs; Outcome 2: Farmers increase capability to access and utilize demand-driven, high impact technology-enabled financial products and services relevant to SHFs; Outcome 3: Ecosystems around both supplier and farmers emerge supporting provision of digital financial and informational services to SHFs that are used at scale. The program’s core innovations are: 1) a rapid iteration engagement model to drive innovative, client-centric product development; and 2) our work with partners to develop “bundles” of mobile-enabled services offering farmers affordable access to digital financial and market informational services. Specific focal areas for innovation will include the use of digital technology to educate and inform farmers, tech start up acceleration, the use of new and alternative data to support financial service Design and the use of human centered design techniques to ensure products are closely linked to the needs of farmers, particularly women and youth. The program will follow an ecosystem and market facilitation approach supported through partnership activities and dissemination of evidence-based learning to ecosystem actors following a Market Systems Development (MSD) approach, with a strong gender focus. Mercy Corps AgriFin: GIZ Digital Platforms for Agriculture (DPA) Overview The challenges in agriculture in Africa, particularly for the smallholder farmers producing 80% of it’s’ food for consumption, are complex, and no single solution exists to reverse age-old issues around markets, infrastructure, poverty and exclusion. Digital solutions can provide relatively low-cost solutions that reach scale quickly, open new markets, and surpass the traditional brick-and-mortar approach to customer acquisition and the distribution and sales of products and services. Over the past five years, AgriFin has worked both to build capacity of fintech and agtech innovators to scale and also worked to broker partnerships for them onto larger digital platforms, typically hosted by banks, mobile network operators, large agricultural enterprises and government. Digital platforms are evolving as drivers for impact and viability in delivery of key services for agriculture and also for scale up of young, breakthrough technology providers. Digital platforms can host multiple service providers, working to offer “end to end” services to drive transformation in agricultural markets and impact for smallholders, while decreasing risks and increasing revenue models for fintechs, agtechs and other market actors. Drawing on Mercy Corps’ experience implementing the AgriFin Mobile, AgriFin Accelerate and AgriFin Digital Farmer programs, GIZ has engaged Mercy Corps to understand how young technology innovators can be supported in scale and operational viability by engaging with emerging models of digital platforms. The GIZ smart development hack is a six-month, €1,300,000 initiative to work with cohort of partners in Kenya and Nigeria to develop digital solutions that address challenges in the agriculture sector. The GIZ smart development hack will be implemented out of the existing AgriFin Digital Farmer program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and leverage existing partners in KY & NG. Purpose of Engagement AgriFin program has a stream of new program activities, both in program implementation with its innovation partners as well as other development actors to provide strategy support, business modeling, and develop learning outputs. The program is seeking an expert consultant who can rapidly stream into AgriFin team execution against these work streams, ideally with past experience with the AgriFin portfolio. Scope of work The consultant will conduct the below activities:
  1. Support AgriFin strategic engagements with its core partners develop critical evidence and innovative models on the effectiveness of digitally enabled services for smallholders, with a specific focus on gender-inclusive solutions. This activity will be conducted under proposed supplemental activities for Gates Foundation and will include partners like Safaricom and ZANACO.

  2. Support AgriFin strategic engagements with selected startups, providing technical assistance and mentorship to ensure the startups can establish proof-of-concept for the business models. This activity is under GIZ’s Smart Development Hack, focused on developing digital solutions that will address Covid-19 related disruptions in agriculture supply chains and Food Systems.

  3. Support the development of both internal and public-facing learning outputs, including but not limited to webinars, blogs, case studies, and synthesis decks, in collaboration with the Strategic Learning and Communications Lead.

  4. Other program support as agreed upon by the task manager

Deliverables The consultant will work to submit monthly activity reports and timesheets detailing advisory support towards mentioned activities, as well as all related work product. Required Qualifications **
  1. Advanced degree in business, engineering, economics or relevant field

  2. Work experience in providing Advisory Services for multi-year international Agricultural and financial sector Development Projects.

  3. Proven expertise in fundraising and proposal writing.

  4. Demonstrated strong management, Coordination, teamwork and planning skills.

  5. Familiarity with Mercy Corps, MasterCard and Gates foundation Systems is a plus.

  6. Strong analytical and technical skills.

  7. Excellent communication skills and a proven ability to establish and maintain interpersonal and professional relationships.

  8. Excellent verbal, written interpersonal and presentation skills in English.

  9. Ability to offer coaching, mentorship and development of technical capacity.

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