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Consultant -Connecting Humanitarian Cash Transfers

Portland (United States of America) | Washington D.C.

Deadline to apply: September 30th


The electronic cash transfer learning action network (ELAN) convenes humanitarian agencies and private sector partners to support shared learning and direct communication around four major work streams: (1) e-vouchers, (2) e-cash, (3) pathways to financial inclusion and (4) data management and protection. The ELAN is convened by Mercy Corps with support from the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth and advisory group members including CaLP, IRC, Oxfam, MasterCard and NRC.

Promoting "financial inclusion" is not traditionally an outcome of direct humanitarian assistance programs. However, it has gained traction in a number of recent emergencies in connection with electronic cash transfers (e-transfers). There is great interest in linking humanitarian e-transfer recipients with digital financial services (such as remittance, savings, lending or insurance products), that enable cash transfer recipients to better prepare for and respond to crises. The ELAN's Financial Services Primer for Humanitarians introduces the opportunities and challenges associated with using emergency e-transfers as a pathway to financial inclusion. A comprehensive review of existing evidence related to linking e-transfer recipients with new digital financial services does not currently exist. As a result, humanitarian agencies currently lack guidance on how to design e-transfer programs in a way that can encourage use of new financial services among recipients.

Purpose / Project Description:

This consultancy will improve understanding about how humanitarian cash transfer programs can link recipients to financial services, creating pathways towards financial inclusion. It will investigate how the design of e-transfer products and programs affects the usage of new digital financial services among e-transfer recipients (where data exists).

This consultancy will review program examples to identify the extent to which program participants engaged with new products and services introduced through e-transfers. The consultant will then identify specific factors that influenced uptake and usage of digital financial services among program participants. The consultant will consider the following factors when analyzing program examples:

  • "Account access" refers to if and how the humanitarian 'beneficiary' became a 'client' of the financial service provider (and success factors if this process was smooth, or barriers if it failed).
  • "Product features" associated with the e-transfer delivery mechanism, which can include the user interface, hardware requirements, fee structures and linkages/access to additional products and services.
  • "Consumer experience" when using the e-transfer product, including convenience, security, issue resolution and reliability.
  • "Encouragement activities" (carried out by either the humanitarian agency or the FSP) that promote access and use of new financial services. These may include training on financial management strategies or incentives and support related to specific products.

The consultant will (if possible) consider program examples that did and did not seek to improve financial inclusion as an explicit objective, and will examine cases that both achieved and fell short of establishing that link. S/he will work closely with ELAN staff and members to select appropriate program examples and gain access to necessary program documentation, informants and field sites. The consultant may propose travel to field sites if implementing partners are willing to grant access to program staff and participants for primary research.

Consultant Objectives:

1 Improve understanding of how to design e-transfer programs to encourage and increase use of a range of new financial services among transfer recipients.

1 Provide concrete program design recommendations to cash transfer practitioners interested in promoting use of new financial services among program participants in a range of scenarios (i.e. acute natural disasters and in protracted conflict). 2 Document systemic barriers or opportunities in the various examples (i.e. KYC, etc.)

Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will first participate in selecting appropriate program examples and then create a research plan that responds to data collection needs and partner agency availability. The consultant will work closely with ELAN staff throughout the project and will incorporate feedback from ELAN members on the final report.

  • Together with ELAN staff, select a minimum of 5 program examples to examine. ELAN staff will conduct a call for program examples, and prepare a list of options prioritizing programs that:
  • Offer evidence on uptake and use of e-transfer mechanisms and related digital financial services among participants.
  • Offer opportunities to compile this evidence (through primary research with program participants or FSPs).
  • Have staff that are willing and able to contribute necessary documentation, contacts and coordination to conduct this research.
  • Can facilitate contacts with FSPs to understand their perspective on e-transfer recipients as clients. (2 days)
  • Based on a final list of program examples and contact availability at partner organizations, draft a research and report development proposal (including timeline/LoE, budget and research methodology) for desk research and field visit(s). (2 days)
  • Draft interview guides and other research tools and revised based on feedback from ELAN staff. (Estimated LOE, 3 days)
  • Create a report outline and revise based on feedback from ELAN staff. (Estimated LOE, 1 day)
  • Conduct primary research in 1 - 2 program locations (Estimated LOE, up to 10 days)
  • Create and share report drafts (2) for review (Estimated LOE 11 days)
  • Create & deliver final draft (Estimated LOE 3 days)

Total Estimated Consultant Days: Up to 32 days - contingent upon approval of program example list and workplan by both the consultant and ELAN staff.

Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will provide the following:

  • Detailed work plan for the consultancy, including review dates
  • List of programs to be reviewed and included in the study
  • Proposal for field travel
  • Interview guides, or other research tools for review by ELAN staff
  • Report outline
  • Draft reports (2) and final report

Timeframe / Schedule:


Date expected

Introduction with ELAN staff/confirm work schedule and deliverable dates

Upon contract signature

Create workplan


Share list of program examples to profile


Share research methodology tools and field travel proposal for review


Share report outline for review


Share draft 1 for review


Share draft 2 for review


Final draft due


Note: all dates subject confirmation between consultant and ELAN staff at the beginning of contract.

*Note: Other ELAN member involvement to be confirmed

The Consultant will report to:

Electronic Cash Program Manager, Mercy Corps / ELAN

The Consultant will work closely with:

Director of Financial Inclusion (Mercy Corps); Electronic Cash Transfer Officer (Mercy Corps / ELAN); ELAN member organization stakeholders contributing to research outputs*

Minimum qualifications

The consultant will have experience with humanitarian cash transfer programming and proven experience producing high quality research with and for humanitarian and development audiences. The ideal consultant is also familiar with digital financial services and financial inclusion concepts and terminology.

Please follow this link to apply:

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Portland (United States of America) | Washington D.C.
  • Grade: N/A - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Cash-Based Interventions
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
  • Closing Date: 2015-09-30

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