Globally, Mercy Corps’ mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. This occurs when public, private and civil society actors interact with accountability, inclusive participation and mechanisms for peaceful change. Our global strategy 1) takes an integrated, systems approach, 2) works in partnership with diverse actors, 3) is grounded in evidence and learning, and 4) uses a gender lens. Last year, we improved the lives of 19 million people globally. Mercy Corps manages programs in 43 countries. Working in Nigeria since 2012, Mercy Corps works across 11 states with a focus on the Middle Belt and Northern states through partnerships with USAID, DfID, GHR Foundation, Nike Foundation, MasterCard, and the Foundation for Partnerships in the Niger Delta (PIND).
Mercy Corps links peace-building with economic development, focusing on vulnerable populations such as adolescent girls.
Project/Consultancy Title: Savings Groups Consultant for Adolescent Girls
Project Location(s): Abuja, Nigeria
Timeframe: 20 days in January/February 2014
Under existing programming, Mercy Corps will build adolescent girls’ economic assets through strengthening existing Savings Groups and organising new groups where needed in FCT, Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos States. In Northern Nigeria, a recent assessment found that almost half of adolescent girls already save through Saving Groups with over 60% of all adolescent girls surveyed cited an interest in learning saving techniques. A 2010 study on informal savings had similar findings in Lagos. In Savings Groups, girls typically meet once or twice a month depending on location and contribute savings. The assessment found that the majority of girls participate in Saving Groups to save money to start their own business or small economic activity. Savings Groups are a cost-effective, self-funding mechanism that do not requiring external capital and place assets directly in the hands of Nigerian girls. Savings groups provide a platform for girls to put financial education lessons they learn from other Mercy Corps programming into practice. Mercy Corps will organise savings groups of self-selected members of 15 to 20 girls.
Mercy Corps is recruiting for a consultant with experience in setting up, managing, and strengthening Savings Groups (also referred to as Village Saving and Loan Associations – VSLA) in Nigeria, including the development of associated curriculum and savings tracking platforms. Activities include:
- Develop a simple assessment tool for Mercy Corps and national CSO implementing partners to determine the number of girls in our targeted programs already participating in Savings Groups.
- Adapt/develop and train Mercy Corps on tools to determine the strengths of existing Savings Group structure and how best to strengthen the Saving Group structures (e.g. transparent pay in/pay out structures, internal controls and trust issues between members, group leadership and management structures, group recruitment and member retainment, etc.).
- Adapt existing Savings Group materials/curriculum/training tools for the topics noted above into modules for adolescent girls with low literacy levels. Sync modules with existing Mercy Corps financial education modules already in use.
- Create a capacity-building plan and related modules that can be used by local partners through the programs that focuses on: training and support curriculum; 2) savings member and data management; 3) evaluation skills of Savings Groups.
- Provide Mercy Corps will options on low-cost methodologies to track individual and group savings, ideally using SMS or low-cost technologies.
- Conduct training to Mercy Corps and local partners on curriculums and tools detailed above.
The consultant will need to consider the following when designing the tools and modules:
- Contextualizing key messages to make them relevant to current/immediate challenges in girls’ lives.
- Sequencing and phasing content to allow girls time to digest information and hear it repeated often before moving on.
- Simplifying learning methods and methodology for peer mentors
- Adapt methodology and learning methods to age and preferences of target group (e.g. low literacy adolescents girls ages 15 to 19: games and short, fun activities, discussions and stories).
- Implement and model Mercy Corps’ philosophy of social entrepreneurship and leverage Mercy Corps’ best practices and existing curriculums.
- Use existing curriculums already in use in Nigeria for savings Groups.
Timeframe / Schedule:
- Approximately 20 working days total
The Consultant will report to:
- Mercy Corps Project Manager (Abuja-based)
- Excellent oral, written, presentation and communications skills in English are required
- Must be able to articulate best practices on Savings Groups include recent studies conducted by Oxfam and others.
- MA/S or equivalent in finance, management, social sciences, international development or other relevant field.
- A minimum of 7 years of experience including 3 years in a senior management or technical advisory role on Savings Group or VSLA programming in Nigeria.
- Experience in Middle or Northern Nigeria strongly preferred.
- Experience managing interventions in gender-related programming, in particular girls. Experience on training and building capacity on girl-centered programming in increasing economic assets through savings clubs and links to financial institutions. Experience using SMS for training or messaging preferred.
- Deep understanding of the challenges facing girls in Nigeria.
- Experience with curriculum development with a focus on gender or girl-specific curriculums and skills building curriculums for marginalized, low literacy populations.
- Demonstrated understanding of peer to peer education and transferable skills education.
- Able to assess capacity development needs and design specific curriculum to address identified needs
- Experienced trainer who can transmit skills to program staff and partners alike.
Method of Application
Please submit CV and cover letter addressing the key criteria above, mentioning your daily consultancy rate (excluding per diems, and accommodation costs) and availability to Mercy Corps Nigeria at: firstname.lastname@example.org