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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: remote
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2018-07-20

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Research Consultant - with Gender Focus



UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded.

Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P)

Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a global thematic initiative to address the opportunities and challenges of implementing branchless banking and mobile money in challenging markets in Africa and Asia.  MM4P’s long-term mission is to help low income and rural households in LDCs increase their financial security through appropriate, affordable and secure means to receive, manage and save money through these “digital financial services” (DFS). DFS refers to a range of formal financial services accessible via digital channels, such as mobile money and agency banking, as opposed to traditional financial services accessed through physically visited at a bank branch. UNCDF is currently implementing this in eight countries (Benin, Laos, Nepal, Malawi, Myanmar, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia).

In Zambia, MM4P launched its program in March 2015, through funding from MasterCard Foundation, and aims at increasing active usage of DFS to 36% by 2019 amongst the adult population. Using the MM4P theory of change, the program seeks to work with all DFS providers, the regulators and the government to achieve this mandate.

Zambia was the earliest adopter of digital financial services (DFS) in Africa in 2002, and the country has made significant improvements over the years in terms of financial services delivery

outlets/channels offered through both formal and informal financial institutions. Despite that, the level of adults Zambians above 18 years who are excluded from financial services remains significant. Data from the FinScope Zambia survey conducted in 2015 showed that only 59.3 % of the population are financially included.

For more information about the DFS ecosystem in Zambia, please see the State of the DFS Market in Zambia here:

Background & Needs

Leveraging the insights from the financial diaries study, A Buck Short, and other reports on the intersection of women and DFS, the following key points are apparent:

  • There are potential benefits to using DFS for women
  • For these products to be relevant they must be designed considering the unique characteristics of women including the prevailing cultural and social norms as well as the financial lives and habits of women.

Women make up 51% of the population in Zambia and 1 in 3 Zambian women are mothers. In Zambia the average number of children per women being 6. According to Intermedia (which is based on a secondary analysis of FinScope survey), within Zambian households, 86% of women adjust their expenses according to the amount of money they have available, 59% of women keep track of the money they receive and spend, 59% of women are aware of exactly how much money they spent in the previous week and 24% of women often have to spend more money than they have available to keep up with their household needs. These statistics indicate that women play an active role in the management of household finances.

In Zambia, there is a strong savings culture (63% of Zambians save money). Among Zambians that save 52% are men and 48% are women4. Living expenses, emergencies and school fees ranked as the top three savings motivators. Children’s education is considered by far the costliest life event, and research showed that Zambian’s who consider children’s education as the biggest life expense are more likely to be women (mothers), below the poverty line, rural and involved in agriculture.

This data suggests that with access to financial services, women may be able to improve the livelihoods of their households, contribute to financial management and direct resources towards their children’s needs, particularly education.  To contribute to women’s economic empowerment and also their economic development in general, MM4P Zambia supports initiatives that target women by strengthening and supporting sustainable advances in knowledge, financial services and support services offered by an array of capable service providers.

UNCDF aims to increase digital financial inclusion for women by supporting practical research to increase the understanding of women’s financial behavior and financial service needs, support DFS providers to address the barriers to adoption and usage of DFS and enable providers to develop viable and sustainable products and services for women. To this effect, through a recently concluded research exercise with research firm AfriQinsights, data (qualitative and quantitative) has been collected on Zambian mothers’ financial behaviors, including their financial needs and challenges, their level of awareness and usage of existing financial services as well as their future financial aspirations.

Between January 15 and 26, 2018, 25 qualitative interviews were conducted by research firm AfriQinsights in the following locations: 10 in Lusaka province (Lusaka, Kafue and Chongwe), 7 in Copperbelt (Ndola, Twapia and Masiti), 4 in Central province (Kabwe and Mumbwa) and 4 in Southern province (Limbobo and Kalama). The objective was to gather information on the financial lives and challenges of the mother and gauge their understanding and usage of existing digital financial services. Interviews were carried out in homes and recorded. They were then transcribed and analyzed afterwards. Following the in-depth interviews, between February 12 and 22, 2018, 725 valid quantitative interviews were conducted specifically for this project in the following locations: 330 interviews in Lusaka across in various areas of the city, 116 interviews in Mazabuka, 117 interviews in Mumbwa, 122 interviews in Ndola. The objective was to gather precise and up-to-date data on financial habits/lives of household mothers, across five locations in Zambia. Face to face interviews were conducted with consumers (mothers with children) from different geographic, income and age brackets to get a representative sample. Interviews were carried out in homes and workplaces with connected tablets.  

Some of the highlights from the research exercise include:

  • 53% of Zambian mothers live in rural areas and are low/middle income earners.
  • 45% of rural, low/middle income mothers interrupted their education at the primary level.
  • 50% of Zambian mothers are small business owners or self-employed, typically in an informal setting.
  • 88% of Zambian mothers own a mobile phone and 46% of them have a mobile money account.
  • Owing largely to their partner’s financial contributions, 60% of Zambian mothers could save and plan for the birth of their first child.

To build on the findings from the research exercise:

UNCDF is looking for a Research Consultant with expertise in conducting research on women with a focus on digital finance and financial inclusion. The objective of the assignment is to:

a) Identify gaps in the existing data. Provide feedback on the current quantitative and qualitative research findings on Zambian mothers from AfriQinsights and identify opportunities for additional data collection to supplement the existing data.

b)    Conduct a secondary analysis of existing qualitative and quantitative data gathered during the research exercise, with the support of UNCDF’s data analyst. The outcome of this secondary analysis will be a research report summarizing the trends and insights on Zambian mothers, completion of the profiles and financial journeys of different segments of mothers (rural, low/middle income, urban, middle income and urban high-income mothers).

c)    Identify existing digital finance products in the market that could be redesigned and subsequently tested to meet the needs of target segment.

d) Generate insights for financial inclusion strategies e.g. digital financial literacy programs, targeting Zambian mothers, based on the data analysis exercise.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Consultant will conduct a secondary analysis of existing data and generate insights to support recommendations made to providers and other stakeholders working in the “financial inclusion for women” space. This includes the following activities:

  • Review desk research report provided by AfriQinsights and supplement with missing examples of existing digital financial services products for women in other markets outside of Zambia, including their successes and challenges faced in implementation
  • Survey the data and supporting materials collected by AfriQinsights during the research exercise to map the financial lives of Zambian mothers and identify their (non) financial needs and challenges
  • Provide a mapping of the financial lives/journeys of Zambian mothers based on analysis of data already collected
  • Conduct a comprehensive secondary data analysis, with the support of UNCDF’s data analyst, to identify insights and optimize subsequent product redesign, using existing data on Zambian mothers, and other sources of data. The analysis will have a specific focus on:  
    • Developing detailed profiles of Zambian mothers  
    • Better understanding of different segments of mothers including youth, rural/low-income mothers etc. including their challenges  and needs
    • Informing DFS product redesign for different segments of Zambian mothers and/or alternative digital solutions/strategies to reach Zambian mothers, including the potential partnerships required
  • Conduct meetings with key stakeholders within the Zambian DFS industry to share insights generated during the data analysis exercise
  • Compile ALL insights and lessons learned into a final report on “Redesigning digital (finance) solutions for Zambian mothers: Lessons Learned”


  • In-depth analysis of existing datasets from the research on Zambian mothers and other sources
  • Produce a report on findings and actionable recommendations for DFS providers and other stakeholders in the DFS/financial inclusion for women space, based on insights. Where applicable, the report should also include examples of similar solutions developed for women in other markets, highlighting the successes and challenges encountered in the development and implementation of those products
  • Recommendations on communication tools or strategies to effectively reach mothers
  • Presentation highlighting key findings from the analysis. Presentation to be used for future engagement with relevant DFS stakeholders


  • Suggested timeline for completion of the project is 15 days


Functional Competencies:

  • Demonstrated excellent research skills both qualitative and quantitative skills and experience conducting gender focused research;
  • Knowledge of relevant statistical analysis programs;
  • Demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills in English (a technical writing sample may be requested);
  • Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment;
  • Self-development, initiative-taking;
  • Strong ability to communicate and function effectively in local/international/multicultural environment;
  • Excellent networking with a demonstrated ability to build and maintain professional relationships;
  • High level planning, organizational and time management skills, including flexibility, attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure to meet changing deadlines;
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills, including the ability to liaise effectively with different stakeholders at varied levels;
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills of a high order, including the ability to formulate recommendations and advice;
  • Ability to perform and extract relevant information in highly sensitive environments;
  • Ability to effectively train women from different geographies and languages on new subjects, ideally financial services;
  • A high level of maturity and sensitivity to working with the target group.
  • Excellent presentation and representation skills in multicultural contexts;
  • Ability to translate complex technical ideas to a non-technical audience in both verbally and in writing;

Required Skills and Experience


  • A Master’s degree in sociology, anthropology, women’s studies or related social science;
  • Additional training related to data analysis and customer value management.


  • A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in conducting research, with at least 3 of those years spent conducting research with a focus on women, is required;
  • Understanding of issues related to financial services & financial inclusion, specifically digital financial services, is desirable;
  • Experience with creating and executing trainings for women, ideally on how to use (digital) financial services, is desirable;
  • Understanding on Human Centered Design Principles. Experience in product development is desired but not mandatory;
  • Passionate about understanding people, culture and markets, as well as uncovering how things really work;
  • Ability to translate highly technical terms into language that is easily understood by the layperson;
  • Excellent attention to detail, a proactive approach to achieving key results, and a high level of thoroughness in a complex multitasking and matrix management environment;
  • Extensive experience working on developing data analytics dash boards, geo-spatial mapping;


  •         Fluency in English.

Timeline, duration of assignment, duty station and expected places of travel:

  • Timeline: 13 August 2018 to 31 August 2018 (15 days)
  • Location(s):   Remote, maximum of 5 days in country if needed

Please note that consultants residing in the duty station will not be compensated for living expenses. 

  • Total Number of Working Days for Assignment: 15

Application :

Interested individuals must submit the following as proposals in order to demonstrate their qualifications: (NOTE: the system does not allow multiple uploads of document. Applicants must make sure to upload all documents in one PDF file).

All applications must contain the following information:

  • Cover letter with a summary statement of competencies in relation to the TOR;
  • Earliest availability and proposed schedule for consultancy;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Completed and signed P11 Personal History Form with names and current contacts of 3 referees (available from;
  • Fully completed and signed Financial proposal for the full months assignment outlining the total professional fee (including professional fees, per diem in Lusaka) other professional expenses (such as insurance, taxes, etc.), duty travel (1 return ticket from country of origin to Lusaka, Zambia);
  • Two signed references or three references contact details;

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please make sure you have provided all requested materials.

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the following methodology:

Preliminary Evaluation - Step I: Pre-Screening;

Technical Evaluation Weight - 70% x (Step II: 20 Points + Step III: 30 points + Step IV: 50 Points = 100 Points);

Financial Evaluation Weight - 30% = Step IV.

Step I: Screening

Applications will be screened and only applicants meeting the following minimum criteria (listed under education and experience) will progress to the pool for shortlisting:

Step II: Shortlisting by Desk Review:

UNCDF will conduct a desk review to produce a shortlist of candidates and technically evaluate candidates as per the following criteria.

20- Education/Qualification;

20- Functional competencies for assignment (technical, analytical and writing skills);

30- Experience

As applicable, only the top 4 ranked applicants achieving minimum 49 points for Step II shall be invited for a test.

Step III: Test:

A technical test shall be conducted with the top 4 ranked applicants who have a minimum of 49 points for Step II. Only candidates who obtain a score of 70% or more in the test shall be invited for an interview.

Step IV: Interview:

A competency-based interview shall be conducted with the candidates that obtained a score of 70% or more in the Test.

Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 56 points in the Technical Evaluation (Short- listing score, Test and Interview) will be considered as technically qualified and will be reviewed further for financial evaluation.

Step V: Financial Evaluation:

The following formula will be used to evaluate financial proposal:

Lowest priced proposal/price of the proposal being evaluated x 30%.

Award Criteria

The contact shall be awarded to the applicant whose offer have been evaluated and determined as:

Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and Having received the highest combined weight (technical proposal & Interview) 70% + financial 30%= 100%.

Both individual consultants and individuals employed by a company or institution are welcome to apply. 

Any individual employed by a company or institution who would like to submit an offer in response to a Procurement Notice for IC must do so in their individual capacity (providing a CV so that their qualifications may be judged accordingly). Women candidates or women-owned businesses are strongly encouraged to apply.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
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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