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Feb 152017
 

Organization: Mercy Corps
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Closing date: 15 Mar 2017

Consultancy Title: Assessment Specialist *for the South Kivu ‘Strategic Resilience Assessment’ (STRESS)*

Duty Station: Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, and remote from consultant’s home base

*Duration: 70 days total from March – July 2017*

Deadline to apply: March 10th 2017

Approximately 50 days (10 weeks) full time in Bukavu

Estimated 6 March 2017 – 12 May 2017

Approximately 20 days from remote home location

Estimated spread out from 15 May 2017 – 28 July 2017

Background:

Mercy Corps is kicking off the Food Security Project (FSP), a 5-year USAID Food-for-Peace funded program with the overall goal that vulnerable populations in South Kivu have increased food security, improved nutritional status and enhanced well-being. In order to achieve this goal, the FSP will strengthen community’s resilience to the stresses and shocks that impede their food security. The FSP theory of change holds that improved resilience is necessary to create a more stable, transformative environment in which sustainable, inclusive development progress — including access to nutritious food, better overall health and more economic opportunities — can be made.

To enable the program team and key partners to account for the complexity around resilience within the FSP project area, a Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) was built into the program’s first year, known as the Refinement phase. The Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) is Mercy Corps’ methodology for incorporating resilience building into strategy development and long-term program design. It builds an understanding of the dynamic social, ecological and economic systems within which communities are embedded.The overarching goal of the STRESS process in South Kivu is to develop intervention strategies and approaches that build the absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities required among target program participants and stakeholders in FSP’s specific intervention zones, in support of improved food security of the most vulnerable populations.

Purpose / Project Description:

Mercy Corps seeks a bilingual (French/English) Assessment Specialist skilled in leading large, multi-sector, integrated assessments with both secondary and primary, qualitative and quantitative, data sources. The right person will bring a strong ability in systems-thinking and experience in approaches for understanding complexity for development programming. S/he will also value shared learning and have demonstrated experience using assessment processes to build the capacity of program implementation teams.

The STRESS is led by a core group of staff from the FSP Program Team, with advisory support from Mercy Corps global technical advisors and local stakeholders in South Kivu. The Assessment Specialist will play a central technical role supporting the FSP Program Team to carry out the STRESS process in South Kivu, with primary responsibility for an identified set of STRESS deliverables. S/he will provide in-country oversight and technical leadership on designing resilience assessment tools and an integrated analysis framework; ensure assessments that fall under the STRESS umbrella during the FSP program’s Refinement phase are aligned within an overall resilience implementation planning framework; drive and undertake data collection alongside the FSP Program Team; coordinate and lead analysis to inform the development of an updated program Theory of Change; and draft sections of the final report. The Assessment Specialist also plays a lead role in an important in-country systems-mapping workshop and may need to lead additional, smaller workshops as deemed necessary.

The Assessment Specialist will provide full-time in-country support during critical phases of the STRESS process, roughly 10 weeks. The remainder of his/her support will be through remote contact with the FSP Program Team and Mercy Corps technical advisors from the consultant’s home location, over the course of about two months.

Objectives:

To ensure the technical quality of assessment processes during the South Kivu STRESS, as described under Activities below, and responsibility for developing key assessment tools and analysis deliverables.

Activities:

The Assessment Specialist will:

  • Work with the STRESS advisory team and STRESS Coordinator to execute a Scoping Workshop, which will include a systems mapping exercise, identify a narrowed set of questions for data collection, and prioritize data collection efforts.
  • With support from the STRESS Coordinator, develop an overall South Kivu STRESS Data Collection Assessment and Research Plan, based on the STRESS Scope of Work, key questions identified during the Scoping Workshop and identified additional, sector-specific assessments that need to be carried out during the FSP Programs’ Refinement phase. This plan will serve as the overall resilience implementation planning framework and should demonstrate how all data collected will contribute to improving the program Theory of Change and implementation strategy.
  • Lead the design of primary and secondary data collection tools and instruments, including bringing in additional key designated technical support as needed and for final review. Organize and lead tool trainings and pre-tests. The Assessment Specialist is the primary person responsible for the technical quality of data collection tools and data collection efforts.
  • Work with the FSP M&E Manager to oversee and coordinate STRESS-related data-collection activities, by delegating specific activities as needed and ensuring work quality. Data collection activities include, but are not limited too:

  • Literature reviews

  • Expert interviews

  • Community level participatory appraisals

Oversee and ensure that data is properly consolidated, cleaned, synthesized, and summarized for effective analysis.

  • Lead the design of an integrated analysis plan/framework, drawing from tools used in past Mercy Corps STRESS processes. The Assessment Specialist is the primary person responsible for the development of the analysis plan/framework and its technical quality.
  • Drive analysis of data collected, both through carrying out analysis and delegating activities as appropriate, and produce analysis deliverables as identified in the overall STRESS Scope of Work and Data Collection Assessment and Research Plan.

  • Work remotely with the FSP STRESS Core Team and Advisory Team to design an analysis workshop for internal and external participants which will focus on the identification of resilience capacities and the building blocks to refine the program theory of change, based on the results of data collection. (The workshop will be led by the FSP Team in South Kivu.) Support the FSP team to interpret and consolidate analysis workshop results, including updating analysis outputs as necessary.

  • Develop recommendations for updating the FSP Theory of Change based on STRESS results

Deliverables:

The Assessment Lead is responsible for delivering the following written products:

  • Scoping Workshop outputs: Systems Map, Hazards (Shocks & Stresses) Map, and synthesis of decision points made during the Workshop
  • Data Collection Assessment and Research Plan
  • Final set of data collection tools
  • Final analysis framework
  • Consolidated and cleaned tables and summaries of collected data
  • Input into design of Analysis Workshop agenda (remote support), including preparing draft analysis summaries/briefs to be used during the workshop (corresponding to the analysis products below)
  • Final written analysis products, including:

  • Introduction (section for the final report)

  • Methodology Overview (section for the final report)

  • Literature Review (technical oversight/sign-off of lit reviews produced by the Core Team)

  • Shocks/stresses overview and impact on food security (section for the final report)

  • Food security and development constraints overview (section for the final report)

  • Summary of findings of primary data collected

  • Vulnerability and integrated impact analysis of target population, including specifically identified stakeholder groups (section for the final report)

  • Updated systems map and hazards map (elements for the final report)

  • Resilience capacities descriptions (section for the final report)

  • Written recommendations for updating the FSP Program Theory of Change based on analysis findings

Timeframe / Schedule: The total Level of Effort is estimated to be about 70 days, over a 21-week period, starting early March 2017 through end of July 2017.

In country: approximately 10 weeks/50 days, full time, from approximately 6 March – 12 May 2017

Remote: approximately 20 days, from 15 May – 28 July 2017

The Assessment Lead will report to:

FSP Chief of Party

The Assessment Lead will work closely with:

  • The South Kivu STRESS Lead Technical Advisors
  • The STRESS Coordinator (FSP Program Grants Coordinator), who will play a leading coordination role on the STRESS and draft major reports.
  • The South Kivu STRESS Core Team, composed of FSP program staff, and the STRESS Advisory Team, composed of Mercy Corps technical support staff and other program stakeholders

Qualifications

  • University degree in a directly related field, such as International Development, Statistics, Economics, or Agriculture, with coursework in qualitative research, quantitative analysis, etc. Master’s degree in relevant field preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience managing complex, integrated assessment processes in challenging environments and working to deadlines
  • Demonstrated experience designing, training, and implementing qualitative and quantitative data collection tools, such as focus group discussions, participatory rural appraisals, and key informant interviews.
  • Excellent qualitative and quantitative data analysis and synthesis skills
  • Demonstrated skill in managing teams and programs of work
  • Some experience working with, and demonstrated understanding of, the concepts of resilience and systems-thinking approaches strongly preferred.
  • Shows assertiveness and ability to be flexible in a fast paced, dynamic environment
  • Demonstrated fluency to work in French and English, including reading, writing and verbal communication.

Application Materials

Interested candidates are requested to apply with their CV, cover letter and links to any applicable assessment reports the candidate has authored.

PI96823217

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