May 132017

Organization: Mercy Corps
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Closing date: 31 May 2017

CONSULTANCY DATES: June – July 2017 (Flexible)

  1. Background

Mercy Corps has recently launched the South Kivu Food Security Project (FSP), a 5-year, USAID Food for Peace (FFP)-funded program with the overall goal to improve the nutritional status and social-economic wellbeing within targeted communities by addressing the underlying causes of food insecurity in South Kivu. The program aims to strengthen community resilience to the stresses and shocks that impede their food security by working with households, community leaders and the government to:

  1. Increase income through on and off farm livelihoods;
  2. Improve health and nutrition practices and services; and
  3. Promote good governances and a more stable operating environment

for approximately 30,000 households in the health zones of Kalehe, Katana and Miti-Murhesa.

The primary target groups across the program are women and youth.[1] Gender inequality is one of the strongest contributing factors to entrenched poverty and poor nutrition in South Kivu. Women and adolescent girls lack access to productive assets – including access to land, financial services, market information and technology – and control over their reproductive health and other decisions concerning their well-being. For women, the program aims to improve their health, increase their control over resources and bolster their meaningful involvement in household and community decision-making.

With youth comprising one third of the Congolese population, they represent a great and untapped potential as drivers of positive change. FSP will work with youth (aged 15-24), engaging them by providing economic opportunities, technical and life skills and a voice in civic affairs. Youth interventions aim to increase economic opportunity by providing trainings on modern farming techniques and developing business skills, and increase engagement in civic affairs, especially at a community level by reinforcing their capacity to contribute to community planning and decision-making. FSP will address youth-specific needs and work with them towards their aspirations to build a better future.

  1. Purpose / Project Description:

Mercy Corps seeks a consultant to conduct desk research, finalize the methodology for a gender and youth analysis, oversee data collection, and produce two final reports on youth and gender in the program’s target regions.** The gender and youth analysis will use a participatory approach to gather both qualitative and quantitative information to understand gender and youth power relationships in communities. The gender and youth analysis will take place at the same time as a series of other program assessments that analyze agriculture, conflict, value chains and health concerns using a resilience lens. Youth and gender concerns will be mainstreamed throughout the assessments, and qualitative data collected throughout all four assessments will be available for the consultant and are expected to be integrated into the gender and youth analyses. Fundamentally, this assessment should help the FSP team gain a better understanding of the roles that women and youth play or could play in their communities when it comes to the livelihoods, health and governance concerns being addressed by the program.

Based on the program and activity design, program needs and previously outlined knowledge gaps, here are key themes and analysis questions to be considered addressed by the consultant:

  • Adolescent girls/young women’s reproductive health: South Kivu has one of the highest rates of early pregnancy in DRC. A deep understanding of girls’ status in targeted communities and gender norms related to early marriage and pregnancy is essential for the FSP project to help design appropriate solutions to delay first pregnancy. Qualitative inquiries will reveal influencing gender norms, factors to address, and key actors and gatekeepers to engage.
  • Women and youth’s decision-making power: an analysis of decision-making power at the household and community levels (VLSA, Care Groups, Producers Organizations, Local Development Committees, etc.) should be conducted to identify opportunities and barriers to increase women’s influence at both levels. Emphasis should be placed on decision-making domains that are critical for project interventions: household income and expenses, family planning and productive health, technical services, financial resources, training information and market value chains.
    • Key Questions: Can women and youth decide how money is spent? Do they spend differently? Key questions for the value market chain are: what are women, men and female youth levels of participation? Are they engaged to the same degree as men? How do men and businesses view women and youth’s participation in marketing and sales? What support is needed to empower women and youth?
  • Women and Youth inclusion: Young people could play an important role in the agriculture value chain and ensure food security for future generations, however they face many challenges. Specific opportunities and constraints for female and male youth, including young mothers, to access and benefit from project inputs will be examined. The analysis will map out existing on and off farm entry points for youth engagement activities and identify specific needs to improve youth inclusion in local economic value chains, access to sexual and reproductive health services and engagement in community decision making.
    • Key Questions for youth in agriculture: Are young people engaged in ag-production chains? Why or why not? Which age and gender group and in what capacities? What are the barriers to the meaningful engagement of this group in the agriculture sector? Are young men and women interested in agriculture and agribusiness? What are their personal and professional aspirations? Is there a status (positive or negative) associated with engagement in agriculture? Do these perceptions differ between males and females? Are women and youth aware of the full spectrum of income opportunities available along ag value chains? What would it take for them to be inspired by a career in agriculture? How has the conflict affected the transmission of assets and knowledge to young people? How do young people gain knowledge about practices and opportunities now?
    • Key Questions for youth collective action: Do youth have access to dialogue platforms with their peers (including your association and producer associations?) Are they engaged in collective actions? How?
  • Women and youth as consumers: Do women, male and female youth have different needs where ag-related products and services are concerned? Is there anything they need (or want) in terms of inputs, equipment, specialized savings and loans that are not currently available to them specifically? How do they currently hear about products and services? How would they like to hear about them? What are some constraints around purchases of these items (decision making, distance to shop, income cycles, income etc)?
  • Vulnerability to gender based violence (GBV): Context-specific GBV risk for women and girls to ensure that the project implementation reduces exposure to violence. The analysis must identify specific gender norms to target and mitigate participants vulnerability to violence.
  • Engagement of men and persons of influence: the analysis must identify persons of influence and gatekeepers for gender and youth inclusion and practices, and norms relating to the projects key domains of change.

It will also be important that the youth and gender assessments have a foundational layer of understanding of the basics behind gender and youth dynamics. Some of the data will have already been collected through the Resilience assessments on gender and youth as a crosscutting issues when looking at agricultural practices, value chain, conflict analysis and access to health services, in which case it will need to be included and analyzed in the context of this assessment. This includes:

  • Intra-household income and resource allocation patterns of husbands, wives and young family members including: What are the main income streams in the household and who is responsible for them? Do household members pool income? Who manages them (i.e., makes decisions about expenditures on household and productive goods and services such as healthcare, education, household equipment and technologies, cooking equipment and supplies, food, farm labor, seeds, fertilizers and other investments? Can women and young people decide how money is spent? Do they spend differently?

  • Gender and Age dynamics in producer groups, agricultural-related groups including local development committees: How do women, men and youth fit within the leadership structure of the groups? Whether the groups are mixed gender or same-sex and what determines composition? Do gender roles and age influence membership and leadership positions in groups? What about other group structures that support agriculture-related activities, like water management groups, self-help groups, savings and loans groups, commodities traders and others. What similarities and differences exist between single-sex male and female groups in terms of group dynamics, profitability, level of member engagement, social capital and connections to government and private sector actors?

  • Intra-household and community dynamics, including barriers and potential enablers to women and youth’s engagement in the public and private spheres of work. An example would be community ideas and perceptions on the childcare barrier or the threat of domestic violence that prevent women from participating in, or reducing the benefit they gain from trainings, group activities and other behaviors that are necessary for sustained household food security, increased productivity and individual empowerment.

  • Consultant Activities

  • Finalize the methodology for a gender and youth analysis

  • Conduct desk research

  • Oversee data collection

  • Produce two final reports on youth and gender in the program’s target regions

  • Present findings to FSP team

  • Deliverables:

  • A work plan that includes the anticipated methodology, the analytical frameworks that will be used, a sampling plan, a training plan, a timeline of fieldwork and drafts of all questionnaires and tools. The work plan will be submitted to the FSP Gender and Youth Advisor and STRESS consultant prior to fieldwork for input and feedback. The consultant will finalize the inception report and field tools in collaboration with the FSP Gender and Youth Advisor.

  • Training session on gender and youth analysis methodology including process for youth and gender specific data collection to be conducted with the FSP Gender and Youth Advisor.

  • Gender and a youth assessment final reports: initial desk review, methodology description and analytical frameworks used, including actual sample size, a list and demographic breakdown of interviewees (sex, age group, geographic location and other relevant details), findings, recommendations, a final work plan, a bibliography referencing all documents and data reviewed and cited, copies of training materials, copies of all actual tools and guidelines used, interviews and focus group guidelines. All references to secondary data must be appropriately cited. A draft report will be initially submitted to the FSP Gender and Youth Advisor for input and feedback.

  • Timeframe / Schedule:

The consultant will commit to an estimated total of 45 working days, excluding travel days, starting June 2017: approximately 10 days of documents review and research scoping, 12 – 15 days of field interviews and data collection, 1-2 days of dissemination workshop and findings alignment with team, and 10-12 days of report writing.


Approximate Due Date (May be revised)

Work Plan with anticipated methodology, analytical frameworks that will be used, a sampling plan, a training plan, a timeline of fieldwork and drafts of all questionnaires and tools

June 18

Training session on gender and youth analysis methodology

June 23

Data collected

July 16

Data analyzed and findings presented to FSP team

July 23

Two draft reports on youth and gender

July 30

Two final reports on youth and gender

August 6 6. Information and Services Provided by Mercy Corps:

For the duration of their consultancy, the consultant(s) will be provided with:

  • Collaboration and support of the FSP team in country.
  • Access to all project documentation at the beginning of the consultancy.
  • Access to Mercy Corps’ Office for working.
  • Transport in all sites targeted for the baseline.
  • Mercy Corps has a database of potential enumerators and will be able to hire them in advance of the arrival of the consultant. The consultant should take this into account when drafting his/her proposition. Data collectors will be expected to undertake a training on gender and age-sensitive data collection prior to field work inception (3 days, with Gender and M&E component).

  • Consultant Profile

Mercy Corps is seeking a Gender and Youth Assessment Specialist skilled in leading multi-sector, integrated assessments with both secondary and primary, qualitative data sources. She or he must be fluent in French. The right person will bring a strong experience in BOTH or integrated Gender and Youth Assessments, as well as demonstrated experience 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.

  • BA/S or equivalent in gender studies, sociology, social science, international development or other relevant field required.
  • Broad knowledge of youth, gender and development issues, agriculture, livelihoods and food security issues in Eastern Africa with substantial experience in designing, implementing and analyzing social and gender analysis and or assessments in rural areas required.
  • Strong experience in designing and implementing both gender and youth assessments. Proposals that do not mention skills and/or experiences in BOTH gender and youth will not be considered.
  • Proven experience combining formal expertise on gender mainstreaming and gender equality with action-oriented research and learning processes, developing gender training tools and delivering trainings on gender-responsive programming.
  • Demonstrated capacity in research methods including data analysis, qualitative methods and focus group discussions required.
  • Demonstrated capacity to analyze complex issues, draw relevant, concise conclusions and produce a comprehensive technical report.
  • Must be independent but collaborative, willing to share thoughts and ideas, and able to give constructive feedback to Mercy Corps teams and other consultants.
  • Demonstrated cultural sensitivity, particularly in multi-ethnic and multi-religious contexts.
  • Experience working for international donors, a plus.

  • Selection criteria

Candidates for the consultancy will be selected according to the following criteria:

Relevant technical qualifications and experience for the tasks to be performed
Relevant experience of similar assignments in challenging political/operational environments.

Experience with NGO agencies
Language capacity (Francophone)
Knowledge of the region
Lowest Price

The Consultant will report to:

FSP Gender and Youth Technical Advisor

The Consultant will work closely with:

Mercy Corps FSP team and STRESS Consultant

[1] Mercy Corps defines youth as ages 10 – 24 years. Our definition starts at early adolescence (10-14 yrs) – key formative years for education and life skills, includes late adolescence (15 -19 yrs) – key years to prepare youth for economic productivity-, and extends to 20 – 14 yrs which represents a key period to activate youth economically.

How to apply:

**Please apply here:

Application Procedure and Requirements:**

Candidates interested in bidding for this should submit the following to Mercy Corps by the closing date of May 31, 2017:

  • A technical proposal with detailed response to the ToRs, description of the assignment, approach and methodology to be used;
  • Initial work plan based on methodology outlined;
  • A financial proposal including cost per day;
  • CV
  • A minimum of 2 references;

Please include links to any applicable assessment reports the candidate has authored.

Applications can be submitted in either English or French.

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