Research Consultant (National)
kathmandu with possible travel to field in sudurpaschim province
Background and Justification
Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, UN Women works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women will lead and coordinate efforts of the United Nations System to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It will provide strong and coherent leadership in support of national priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with government, civil society and other relevant actors.
Under the framework of the current UN Women Nepal Country Office (NCO) Strategic Note 2018-2022, UN Women in Nepal continues its work to strengthen women’s leadership and participation in national and local level decision-making processes and empower women economically by supporting women, especially those from the most vulnerable and excluded groups. Furthermore, NCO’s strategy for women’s economic empowerment (WEE) outlines a holistic feminist approach to WEE which extends beyond enhancing the economic competency and income generation capacity of women to also developing women’s leadership, voice and representation, and to addressing structural discrimination and barriers. In order to reinforce the ongoing WEE efforts in the country, UN Women NCO aims to support women in advancing their economic opportunities in the formal market by leveraging their vocational skills, life skills, leadership, voice and representation.
Within the scope of the SN, UN Women Nepal has prioritized interventions with women from the most excluded groups. This includes conflict affected single women who continue to face multiple level of violence and discrimination, social and economic barriers including stigmatization and challenges to re-integrating in society as a consequence of the ten -year long armed conflict in Nepal (1997-2006).
A study on the impact of Nepal’s conflict on women revealed that the socio-economic barriers that conflict affected women face, especially single women and Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) families of disappeared, women who faced injury and disability due to violence in conflict . It shows that the armed conflict in Nepal impacted women not only at the individual level but also at family and community level. In Nepali culture the identity and status of married women are intimately tied to their relationship with their husbands and/or their extended families. The social and cultural practices have maintained implicit and explicit rules whereby women have restricted mobility, limited decision-making and access to resources/property to sustain their livelihood. In general, women’s access and control over productive resources is severely restricted. In the case of single women and CRSV survivors, wives of disappeared, women who faced disability and injury due to violence in conflict they face additional discrimination and challenges in claiming inheritance/from their husbands and family members, which in turn impedes their ability access financial services and capital resource for business investment.
Learnings from UN Women’s past programming with conflict affected single women also point to challenges faced by them in availing business loans from local financial institutions, due to their inability to provide collateral and/or solicit family support. Further, perceptions around women’s poor business skills, their low repayment capacity pose as additional barriers. Prevailing social norms around their identity as conflict affected single women, results in social stigma and discrimination at the community level .
According to a 2015 global study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 CRSV survivors were neglected by the government’s provisional programme of interim relief, reparation and financial assistance for the women and children affected by the armed conflict implemented in the post conflict period in NepalThe CEDAW committee in its concluding observations (2018) to the sixth periodic report of Nepal explicitly raised concerns that women and girls who are victims of the armed conflict, including victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence, do not benefit from interim relief or full reparations.
In this context, the draft NAP-II has identified livelihood support, in particular technical skills and financial inclusion, as key areas to enable conflict affected single women to live a dignified life in the post conflict period of Nepal.
In the context of Covid-19 where a health-related humanitarian crisis has evolved simultaneously into a socio-economic crisis with an unprecedented cessation of economic activities, the need for financial inclusion to conflict affected single women has become more critical than ever before. COVID-19 has not only affected livelihoods across the world, it has also exacerbated many existing gender-based inequalities and multiple discrimination in affected countries, including Nepal.
A rapid assessment carried out by UNDP reported that the mean severity of the impact of Covid-19 to women is high due to their inability to find alternative source of income which is followed by incapacity to pay loans, psychological problems and incapability to find new job. Micro and small business are often characterized as having low asset to cash ratio, entailing high dependence on their business. This is more intense in the cases MSMEs owned and managed by women given their limited access to property and capital. Also, women led small and micro business, typically have poor access to finance, and during times of crisis such as the ongoing COVID 19 pandemics are likely to resort to informal money lenders and fall prey to usury.
During the Socio-Economic Recovery (SER) consultations, it was reported that single women-led households, women from the Dalit community, conflict affected women and poor women have become the most vulnerable groups during the lockdown; and are more at risk of the sexual violence . Further the issue of psycho-social wellbeing, regular medical needs and livelihood issues was also raised by conflict affected women’s group during the consultation. One of the key recommendations of the single women’s group was the need for the government to focus on subsidizing local resources for sustenance of their local business so as to enable them to be better prepared for disasters such as Covid-19.
For the short term, SER has prioritised to work with key partners to support the exploration and implementation of measures to alleviate financial hardships. These measures may include the provision of subsidies for operating costs, particularly for workers’ wages, tax rebates and easing loan payments by waiving penalties and extending payment timelines. Also, in the medium and long term, SER has prioritized to support entrepreneurship and the establishment of new businesses, particularly for youth and women, as well as ensuring that new and existing MSMEs are resilient to future shocks. This will involve capacity building and improving access to services related to business registration, business development, business continuity and business financing. To make these interventions inclusive and prevent the most vulnerable groups from falling through cracks, it is imperative to design interventions that address the specific needs of women from excluded groups such as conflict affected single women. In line with the priorities listed in the SER, UN Women Nepal aims to design an initiative on “Financial Inclusion of Conflict affected Single Women to advance their Economic Security and Rights” in Sudurpaschim province of Nepal. This initiative will target in particular women who became single due to conflict, CRSV survivors, wives of disappeared, women who suffered mental and physical torture and women who faced disability and injury due to conflict. To inform the design of this initiative, UN Women is seeking the services of a consultant to conduct a feasibility analysis.
 Excluded women’s groups include rural women, conflict affected women, survivors of trafficking, returnee women migrant workers, home-based workers and women living with HIV.
 Across the lines-The impact of Nepal’s conflict on Women-2010, https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Nepal-Across-Lines-2010-English.pdf
 UN Women documented this issues from the interaction meeting with conflict affected single women in 2019
 Global Study on the Implementation of the UNSCR 1325 “Preventing Conflict Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace. Available at: http://wps.unwomen.org/~/media/files/un%20women/wps/highlights/unw-global-study-1325-2015.pdf
 Rapid Assessment of Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19 in Nepal, UNDP 2020
 United Nations Socio-Economic Recovery Framework 2020
The objective of the study to identify the most feasible programmatic interventions to accelerate the financial inclusion of conflict affected single women at the local level in the post Covid-19 recovery phase. It specifically aims to:
- To map the existing financial institutions, their services and identify regulatory, policy, operational and programmatic gaps from a gender perspective.
- To identify key barriers and challenges that conflict affected single women continue to face in accessing financial services from existing financial institutions in Nepal, including social and cultural norms especially in Sudurpaschim province.
- To map the major locally available/ongoing financial inclusion programmes of GON, private sectors and development actors in Nepal and analyze their strength and weakness from a gender perspective.
- To develop a set of recommendations to inform UN Women, government and development partner’s programming on financial inclusion from a substantive equality approach.
Duties and Responsibilities
Scope of work:
In line with the objectives mentioned above, the scope of assignment is as follows:
A. To map the existing financial institutions, their services and identify regulatory, policy, operational and programmatic gaps from a gender perspective
- Collect, review and analyze relevant documents of existing Financial Institutions (FIs) and their services across Nepal from a gender perspective. Given UN Women’s proposal to implement this initiative in Sudurpaschim province, the study should focus on FIs that have a strong presence in Sudurpaschim province.
- Conduct interviews/discussions with representatives from FIs (physically or virtually) to assess their institutional policy, operational structure and financial tools and services, regulatory measures from GESI lens, with a particular focus on conflict affected single women in the Covid-19 context.
- Analyse gaps if any in the existing policies, operational and programmatic frameworks of these FIs to address the specific needs of conflict affected single women on financial inclusion. This will entail an assessment of services available; the supply of financial services– who is currently being served and under what conditions, associated restrictive conditions such as collateral requirements for loans.
- Prepare a list of most relevant FIs (cooperatives, micro-finance and/or commercial banks) to work on financial inclusion to conflict affected single women in Nepal, particularly in Sudurpaschim province in the Covid-19 context.
B.To identify key barriers and challenges that conflict affected single women continue to face in accessing financial services from existing financial institutions in Nepal, including social and cultural norms especially from Sudurpaschim province
- Collect, review and analyze all relevant documents on financial inclusion to conflict affected single women in the rural context within country and beyond.
- Collect primary data from field and/or remotely on key barriers and challenges of conflict affected single women in relation to financial inclusion, taking into account social and cultural norms from Sudurpaschim province of Nepal in the context of Covid-19.
- Analyze the primary and secondary data to identify key barriers and challenges and associated capacity gaps of conflict affected single women to address those challenges. This will also entail an assessment of the demand side of financial services from women; what issues are raised and what barriers may women face when seeking to become customers of financial institutions, such as illiteracy, workload or the lack of control over household financial resources?
C.To map the major locally available/ongoing financial inclusion programmes of GON, private sectors and development actors in Nepal and analyze their strength and weakness from a gender perspective
- Collect, review and analyse all relevant programmes on financial inclusion in Nepal or beyond.
- Collect primary data from field and/or remotely from the relevant representatives of government, private sectors and development partners implementing financial inclusion programmes at national/sub-national level in Nepal in the federal context.
- Analyze strength and gaps of the financial inclusion programmes and identify the most relevant financial model/entry points to address gender gaps and strengthen financial inclusion of women, especially for conflict affected single women.
D. To develop a set of recommendations to inform UN Women, government and development partner’s programming on financial inclusion from a substantive equality approach
- Develop a set of recommendations to inform UN Women, government and development partner’s programming on economic security and rights; with a focus on enhancing financial inclusion, and what that would entail from a substantive equality approach.
- Provide a set of strategic recommendations for evidence-based advocacy with key stakeholders- government, private sector, FIs, development partners, with possible entry points.
- Document at least two successful financial inclusion models that can be adapted to address the needs and interests of conflict affected single women at the local level.
TARGET DATE (for final submission)
Inception Report with details of data collection methodologies and tools, proposed work plan
Within two weeks after the signing of a contract
A Draft Report with the key findings of the study inclusive of the following.
Within 12 weeks after the signing of the contract
Final Report with a set of focused recommendations to future programme design on financial inclusion, in particular, to conflict affected single women from a substantive equality approach. Final Report should incorporate at least two successful case studies of financial inclusion model/programme to women in the rural context from Nepal or beyond and a policy brief. Consultant should make a presentation on the key findings.
Within 16 weeks after signing of the contract
15 November 2020 – 15 March 2021
The payment will be made upon the successful completion of the deliverables
- 20% payment upon submission and approval of the inception report
- 40% payment upon submission and approval of the first draft report
- 40% payment upon submission and approval of the final report.
The primary data collection will be conducted in Kathmandu and Sudurpaschim province of Nepal either directly from the field or remotely.
With support from UN Women, the consultant will ensure the quality measures of the proposed assignment. The quality measures will be finalized during the inception meeting which should be incorporated in the inception report.
- Gender equality and social inclusion (including Leaving No One Behind)
- Context and culturally sensitive approach
- Human rights-based approach
- Do No Harm
 The financial institutions should include commercial bank, agriculture development bank, micro-finance, cooperatives, and Nepal Rastra bank.
 key informant interviews with 10-15 representatives from financial institutions from Sudurpaschim province and Kathmandu as well as representative from Department of Cooperatives under Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation.
 Key informant interview/discussions with at least 15 primary respondents from conflict affected single women, in particular the groups prioritized for this TOR, through telephone and other relevant communication platforms in case the mobility restriction continues.
 key informant interview with at least 8-12 representatives from relevant programmes on financial inclusion designed and implemented by government, private sector and development actors.
- Sound knowledge of the governance system of Nepal, in particular the new context of federalism and Covid-19
- Sound knowledge of women, peace and security including impacts of conflict on women in Nepal and ranges of conflict specific issues.
- Sound knowledge and technical expertise on gender and financial inclusion
- Proven knowledge of international and national human rights conventions and normative instruments related to gender equality, women’s economic, social and cultural rights.
- Demonstrated experience in conducting research on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, and formulation of action-oriented programming recommendations
- Demonstrated commitment to working with women, girls, other genders that are economically, socially, culturally excluded and/or marginalized
- A minimum ten years of proven experience in conducting research, working with national/international development partners in the areas of GEWE and financial inclusion, including the production of publication-ready reports
- Detailed understanding of the full range of ethical and safety issues associated with conducting this type of research and demonstrated ability to address these
- Researchers must have excellent written and verbal communication skills as well as strong gender analysis skills
Required Skills and Experience
PhD or Master’s degree in Economics, international development studies, gender/women’s studies, women, peace and security, economics, political science, related social sciences, or related discipline.
Minimum ten years of research work experience on issues related to gender and financial inclusion, women’s economic empowerment.
Proven expertise in the area of gender equality, financial inclusion and the empowerment of women.
Experience in working with government, donors or the UN previously is an asset.
Publications in peer reviewed journals on women’s economic empowerment, financial inclusion.
Excellent command of written and oral English and Nepali.
How to Apply ?
Interested consultants must submit the following documents/information in a single PDF file to demonstrate their qualifications though UNDP jobs site: jobs.undp.org.
- Expression of interest with technical proposal describing your approach, methodology, and timeline for how you will achieve the TOR;
- Completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from: http://www.unwomen.org/about-us/employment;
- A separate page of financial proposal, proposing total lump-sum figure with detail breakdown of professional fee per deliverable.
The financial proposal must be submitted in a separate page using the following template
Estimated number of working days
Amount in NPR per deliverable
Inception Report (including final methodology, data collection tools, proposed work plan etc.)
Draft report with key findings of the study inclusive of the following.
-Summary report of desk review
-Summary report with preliminary findings of primary data collection (Interview and analysis)
-A list of most relevant FIs to work on financial inclusion to conflict affected single women
-A list of key barriers and challenges and associated gaps in relation to financial inclusion
-A list of the most relevant financial model/entry points to strengthen financial inclusion of women, especially for conflict affected single women
-A set of recommendations to inform UN Women, government and development partner’s programming on economic security and rights; with a focus on enhancing financial inclusion, and what that would entail from a substantive equality approach.
-A compilation of at least two successful financial inclusion models that can be adapted to address the needs and interests of conflict affected single women at the local level.
A final report and a copy of presentation of the findings
Total lumpsum Financial proposal (fee cost)
Evaluation and Selection Criteria
The total number of points awarded during the evaluation is 100, with the technical qualification evaluation accounting for 70 points and the financial proposal accounting for 30 points. Only the candidates who have attained a minimum of 70% of total points will be considered as technically qualified candidate.
A two-stage procedure is utilized in evaluating the proposals, with evaluation of the technical proposal being completed prior to any price proposal being compared. Only the price proposal of the candidates who passed the minimum technical score of 70% of the obtainable score of 70 points in the technical qualification evaluation will be evaluated.
Technical qualification evaluation criteria:
The total number of points allocated for the technical qualification component is 70. The technical qualification of the individual is evaluated based on following technical qualification evaluation criteria:
- PhD or Master’s degree in Economics, international development studies, gender/women’s studies, women, peace and security, economics, political science, related social sciences, or related discipline (5 points);
- A minimum of 10 years of proven experience in conducting research, working with national/international development partners in the areas of GEWE and financial inclusion (15 points);
- Sound knowledge and technical expertise on financial inclusion from gender lens (20 points);
- Proven knowledge on gender equality, women’s economic empowerment and women, peace and security. (15 points);
- Analytical and language skills based on a writing sample of original research (15 points).
Financial/Price Proposal evaluation:
The financial proposal of candidates who meet the technical assessment threshold will be evaluated. The total number of points allocated for the financial proposal is 30. In this methodology, the maximum number of points assigned to the financial proposal is allocated to the lowest price proposal. All other price proposals receive points in inverse proportion.
A formula is as follows:
p = y (µ/z)
p = points for the financial proposal being evaluated
y = maximum number of points for the financial proposal
µ = price of the lowest priced proposal
z = price of the proposal being evaluated
Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment, please combine all your documents into one single PDF document. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form and written sample will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.
In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
‘UN Women is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individual especially women are highly encouraged to apply’.