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.
This consultancy 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.
In addition, a key priority for Mercy Corps is to expand our research and influence on issues related to climate change. Within this, we have prioritized investing in greater evidence generation to inform advocacy and programming focused on climate adaptation in fragile and conflict-affected states, including addressing the climate-related drivers of conflict and climate induced migration and displacement. To date, Mercy Corps has developed a research and learning agenda, outlining research questions that align with broader agency-wide initiatives. We have also secured multiple externally funded grants focused on the theme of climate adaptation and resilience. To advance these initiatives, Mercy Corps requires support to design and lead studies, advance thought leadership and promote research utilization from a seasoned researcher with experience related to climate change
Purpose / Project Description:
The purpose of this consultancy is to advance key climate research objectives for Mercy Corps, by supporting the development implementation of key climate research projects, as well as disseminating this research and representing key findings at COP26 and other major events.
Climate adaptation measurement literature review for USAID
Mercy Corps will conduct a literature review and key informant interviews with USAID and other expert stakeholders on adaptation measurement approaches, highlighting the diversity of approaches, the most commonly used, and strengths and limitations of common approaches. The review will include an examination of approaches and modeling efforts to measure the impact of adaptation over longer time frames and dynamic contexts. The literature review will further identify opportunities to adjust, improve and/or expand USAID adaptation measurement going forward. Mercy Corps will also work with TANGO and USAID to identify any opportunities for further integrating and/or pulling out adaptation measurement questions from past and ongoing resilience measurement and evaluation of key climate adaptation activities.
Advancing Mercy Corps Climate Adaptation Research Agenda
In addition, Mercy Corps is looking to expand its evidence-generation on climate change. Through the support of the consultant, Mercy Corps seeks to develop original research products, in consultation with members of the Research and Learning Team, the Technical Support Unit (TSU), and other internal and external stakeholders. The consultant will support research and drafting of major long papers, shorter reports and quick-turn around thought pieces per year and will contribute to the development of policy documents, as needed. In addition to producing research and analysis, the position will play a key role in communicating and leveraging the products through presentations and other forums to influence internal and external debates and decisions. Finally, the consultant will contribute to new research proposals and partnerships, to help expand the scope and impact of our research and influence around climate change.
Consultant Activities and Estimated Level of Effort:
The Consultant will:
- Conduct a literature review on climate adaptation measurement approaches for USAID funded REAL award by:
- Scoping & inception meetings with key USAID stakeholders, Mercy Corps’ Director for Migration & Climate Research, Director for Resilience Research, and Director for Energy, Environment and Climate technical team (5 days)
- Develop evaluation criteria and review strategy (5 days)
- Develop and share final workplan for review and approval (10 days)
- Conduct literature review (20 days)
- Revise literature review based on stakeholder feedback (10 days)
- Finalize and disseminate literature review (15 days)
- Advance Mercy Corps’ Climate Adaptation Research Agenda by:
- Finalizing written products (technical reports, briefs and shorter, quick-turnaround thought pieces) for two ongoing research activities related to climate change and conflict, and evaluating the impact of a disaster risk reduction program (10 days)
- Preparing communication materials (presentations, panels, etc.) and representing Mercy Corps’ research, thought leadership, and policy positions (5 days)
- Identifying new opportunities where Mercy Corps can measure program impacts on climate adaptation, including, including developing 1-2 concept notes for specific research projects (10 days)
Key Consultant Deliverables:
- Bi-weekly updates to key internal Mercy Corps stakeholders
- For USAID
- Final draft of climate adaptation literature review
- Externally-facing presentation(s) on climate adaptation literature review
- External dissemination activities
- For Mercy Corps’ Climate research agenda
- 1-2 short form reports, thought pieces, blogs, etc.
- 1-2 presentations for external audiences
- 1-2 research concept notes
Required Experience & Skills:
- Master’s degree international development, environmental science, or other relevant field (PhD preferred)
- 5 to 7 years relevant experience conducting independent research, analysis and publishing on climate related topics with a focus on low income conflict-affected or fragile countries.
- Experience with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and experience applying them in a development or humanitarian context. (experience with the use of GIS in research is preferred)
- Extremely strong writing skills, including past experience publishing.
- Demonstrated ability to communicate to multiple audiences, including policy makers, practitioners and academics.
- Strong analytical skills and the ability to effectively gather and summarize large amounts of information from various sources.
- Demonstrated sensitivity, skill and experience in working diplomatically and effectively within diverse cultural settings and in public relations and correspondence with a wide variety of public constituents.
- Strong networks, relationships, and profile with major external actors, including policy and academic audiences
Level of Effort / Timeframe
Up to 90 days over 6 months starting 11 October 2021, with the option of extending
The Consultant will report to:
Director, Research and Learning for Migration and Climate
The Consultant will work closely with:
Director, Research and Learning for Resilience
Director, Energy, Environment, and Climate Technical Support Unit
Sr. Director, Research and Learning
Relevant country teams
Members of the R&L and TSU teams
Application deadline: 24 September 2021
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.