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United States of America: Consultant - Gender and Resilience Research - With Travel to Asia and Africa

NGO/UN Job Vacancy

Organization: Mercy Corps
Country: United States of America
Closing date: 29 Jun 2017


Mercy Corps seeks a consultant to undertake research to better understand the connection between gender and resilience to climate and ecological shocks and stresses, as well as implications for program strategy, interventions and measurement.

Project Description and Research Objectives:

This research will build upon learning from Mercy Corps’ BRIGE (Building Resilience through the Integration of Gender and Empowerment) Program, which seeks to build community resilience by increasing Mercy Corps’ capacity to better respond to gender-specific needs and vulnerabilities during complex and chronic crises. The BRIGE Program provides strategic technical guidance to flagship resilience “parent” programs in Niger, Indonesia and Nepal, supporting the programs to assess, adapt and learn how program approaches sensitive to gender and social inclusion can further impact resilience to climate and ecological shocks and stresses.

Disasters and chronic stresses can undermine the foundations of communities, but may also provide opportunities to begin to transform deeply entrenched inequality. Although men, women, boys, and girls are all vulnerable to the impacts of disasters, women and youth are often exposed to additional barriers – such as constraints on their mobility or insufficient access to land, education, and finance – that decrease their capacity to adapt to adversity and contribute to change. At the same time, women, youth, and other vulnerable groups often have critical knowledge and skills that can help their households and communities respond to and recover from crises. The BRIGE program is supporting Mercy Corps and its partner agencies to better identify and utilize these untapped resources while empowering women and youth to be part of household and community decision-making. Ultimately, BRIGE seeks to empower marginalized groups as agents of resilience, thereby increasing the coping capacities of households and communities to manage the impacts of recurring disasters, slow-onset crises, climate change, and poor governance.

In the final phase of implementation, BRIGE is seeking a consultant to undertake research regarding the intersection of gender and resilience, particularly relating to women’s access to and use of critical resilience capacities.

The proposed research seeks to address the following questions:

  • What effect do increased levels of 1) women’s equitable household decision-making, 2) women’s meaningful participation in relevant community groups, and 3) access to market linkages have on household and community resilience to climate/ecological shocks? How are these three capacities interdependent? (E.g., Do increased levels of household decision-making affect levels of meaningful community participation?) What are the major barriers to achieving these three capacities?
  • Are behaviors that are classified as resilient with regards to the three capacities listed above consistent across country and community contexts? (E.g., Is joint decision-making at the household level always a resilient behavior?)
  • Which BRIGE interventions, or combination of interventions, have had the strongest positive effect on improving women’s empowerment in household decision-making? Was this done in ways that also contribute to household or community resilience?

The BRIGE gender and resilience research will be primarily qualitative with a minor quantitative component. Relevant quantitative data has already been collected through certain parent program baseline evaluations, and a short follow-up survey will be conducted as part of the research consultancy. In some country programs, local studies are underway to examine aspects of the research questions outlined above, and this consultancy will triangulate the findings from this country-level research and fill gaps where needed.

Intended Purpose and Audience:

This research is intended to be used by Mercy Corps and other development/humanitarian practitioners, as well as donors, to facilitate more informed, evidence-based decisions around program strategy and implementation through a better understanding of the intersection of gender and resilience. Although the concept of resilience is not new, the use of a resilience lens to explicitly guide organizational strategy and donor investment is a growing trend, as evidenced by the establishment of the USAID Center for Resilience in 2015 and the number of international NGOs who are incorporating newly developed resilience frameworks into their organizational strategy.

Worldwide, women and girls have been shown to be an enabling force for recovery and resilience. Despite this, women and girls remain sidelined in household and community decision-making, undermining the critical and transformative role they can play in building resilience to climate and ecological shocks. Successful gender integration in programming is necessary to support the most vulnerable populations, and to contribute to household and community resilience. Nonetheless, gender considerations remain largely absent from resilience-focused programs, due in part to insufficient availability of tools and research.

Within and across organizations, there is momentum to better understand this intersection of gender and resilience in order to more effectively design, implement and measure programs. For example, the Gender and Resilience Working Group convenes over 35 development and humanitarian organizations and donors to share information, resources and experiences to better understand this critical connection. The Working Group is currently developing a conceptual framework around gender and resilience, and seeks further evidence to understand how gender dynamics impact access to and use of resilience capacities. As such, the Working Group will be one platform for dissemination of this proposed research.

Consultancy Objectives:

This consultancy consists of the following key objectives:

  • Design and conduct research in BRIGE program areas in Nepal, Niger and Indonesia exploring critical connections between gender and resilience to climate/ecological shocks and stresses
  • Generate accessible written products that answer the key research questions and provide recommendations to improve institutional and organizational policy and program strategy using a more gender-sensitive resilience approach


In Nepal, the research should take into account the role that caste plays in gender dynamics and resilience to climate and ecological shocks and stresses.

Overall, it is important to note that the proposed research questions address women’s empowerment, which is only one dimension of gender and does not explicitly take into account other critical elements such as age, gender identity, etc. Thus, conclusions from this research around the broader intersection of gender and resilience will be limited, and final written products should reflect these limitations.

Consultancy Activities:

The Consultant(s) will:

  • Conduct desk research including but not limited to:
  • BRIGE program and parent program documents
  • BRIGE program tools, specifically the three tools developed to assess women’s levels of household decision-making, community group participation, and access to market linkages and networks
  • Monitoring and evaluation data collected in BRIGE/parent programs, in particular baseline data collected through parent programs that are directly relevant to BRIGE objectives
  • Mercy Corps’ approach to resilience and the Strategic Resilience Assessment (STRESS) process as well as previous STRESS reports (from Niger and elsewhere)
  • Mercy Corps’ past research related to gender and resilience, including BRIGE Niger country research on household decision-making
  • The Gender and Resilience Working Group’s draft conceptual framework on gender and resilience
  • Mercy Corps’ gender minimum standards
  • Existing approaches to and research on resilience and/or gender from USAID and peer organizations
  • Conduct initial remote discussions with select program and resilience staff at Mercy Corps
  • Develop research methodology document complete with sampling and field work work plan
  • Develop draft and final research tools (focus group discussion and key informant interview guides, as well as a brief survey, which is to be administered as a follow-up to relevant data collected through parent program baseline/midline evaluations)
  • Prepare for and conduct field work, including:
  • Initial meetings with BRIGE and parent program teams
  • Preparation for field data collection
  • Training for enumerators as needed
  • Piloting of tools
  • Field data collection
  • Clean and code data
  • Analyze data
  • Develop draft and final report package

Consultancy Deliverables:

The Consultant(s) will submit the following deliverables as per the consultancy:

  • Methodology document including sampling approach and field work work plan
  • Draft and final research tools
  • Transcripts from qualitative data collection
  • Raw and cleaned data sets
  • Draft and final report package, to include:

  • A full research report consisting of the following elements:

  • Executive Summary

  • Background and introduction

  • Methodology and approach

  • Key findings

  • Conclusions

  • Recommendations for the following:

  • Gender and resilience framework (may build upon the framework under development by the Gender and Resilience Working Group)

  • Gender and resilience assessment tools (already developed and piloted by the BRIGE program)

  • Gender-sensitive resilience assessments

  • Gender-sensitive resilience-focused program strategies

  • Annex: Data analysis

  • A policy brief (5 pages or less), inclusive of high-level findings and recommendations

  • A brief memo (3 pages or less) on BRIGE program effectiveness (observations on what has worked well, what has not worked well, and recommendations for future initiatives)

All deliverables must be in English. The final report package must be formatted according to Mercy Corps’ branding guidelines.

Timeframe / Schedule:

  • Early July 2017: Finalize contract
  • Late July - September 2017: Desk review and initial interviews, methodology and tools development, field work prep
  • October 2017: Field work in Niger (estimated 10-12 days)
  • November 2017 - early February 2018: Field work in Nepal and Indonesia (estimated 14-18 days per country)
  • February - March 2018: Data analysis and development of draft report
  • March 2018: Final report package due

The Consultant(s) will report to:

BRIGE Technical Program Director

The Consultant will work closely with:

BRIGE Program Teams, parent program teams, and country and regional M&E staff in Nepal, Indonesia and Niger, as well as global and regional resilience technical staff

Required Experience & Skills:

The ideal consultant will have the following experience and skills:

  • Past experience designing and conducting research in relevant sectors, including designing and implementing surveys, interviews and focus group discussions
  • Proven qualitative methodological skills
  • Strong technical understanding of a resilience-based approach to development
  • Experience working in the sectors of gender, disaster risk reduction (DRR), agriculture, livelihoods, financial inclusion and/or market systems development, preferably with significant field experience
  • Experience in Niger, Indonesia and/or Nepal preferred
  • English fluency and strong writing skills required
  • French language skills required for Niger data review and field work (report will be in English)

How to apply:

To Apply, go here:

Please submit 1) a cover letter inclusive of relevant past projects/experience, and 2) CV(s) of consultant or consultancy team members on the Jobvite system. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full application inclusive of proposed work plan and budget.

Applications must be received by 29 June 2017 before midnight EST.