Next Level Financial Inclusion Project Evaluation Consultant
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities which support them, as well as those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 25 U.S. cities, we improve outcomes in the areas of health, safety, economic wellbeing, education and power.
The IRC has been working in Uganda since 1998 supporting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees and various institutions in the country, notably the government, community-based organizations (CBOs), civil society organizations (CBOs) and the private sector. The current program portfolio in Uganda includes health and nutrition, support to persons with specific needs (PSNs) including case management, legal assistance to refugees, prevention and response to gender-based violence, and economic recovery and development (ERD). The IRC has a country office in Kampala and field offices in Amudat, Imvepi, Kyegegwa, Lamwo, Moroto and Yumbe, as well as an urban office in Nsambya within Kampala.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a leading designer and implementer of financial inclusion programming in challenging contexts affected by conflict and crisis, targeting displaced populations and vulnerable host communities as part of our economic recovery and development response. Access to financial services is inherently tied to the ability to incubate and grow businesses, and the ability to save for future shocks or hardships. Designed to meet the particular needs of these populations, the IRC’s village savings and loans association (VSLA) programs supports those most in need manage financial risks through access to capital, financial literacy training and business training.
In order to better understand the challenges VSLA members face in accessing and using formal financial services, the IRC seeks to conduct a desk review (including grey literature) of linkage approaches and formal financial inclusion project examples and undertake a project evaluation of the “Next-Level Financial Inclusion” IRC project funded by Mastercard.
With Mastercard funding, IRC is implementing pilot projects in Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda to test models leveraging our established network of community-based trainers to connect Village Savings and Loans members to formal financial services. The aim of the project is to increase VSLA members’ access to financial products and services, including larger business loans to improve their immediate fiscal health and ease the potential transition to long-term income generation. Three core project activities are 1) expanding CBTs’ service offering with enhanced training on financial products, 2) facilitating formalization of VSLAs by creating linkages to local banks and ensuring VSLA member use loans, savings accounts, and digital services where available, and 3) encouraging adoption of digital financial service tools by both VSLAs and new banking customers.
SCOPE OF WORK
In order to better understand the challenges VSLA members face in accessing and using formal financial services, the IRC seeks to conduct a desk review (including grey literature) and undertake a project evaluation of pilot projects in Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda, including the impact of COVID on project partners and clients in both achieving project objectives and in affecting long-term financial access.
The overall objective is to use the information generated through the desk review research and project evaluation interviews to develop externally available guidance on facilitating formal financial inclusion of VSLAs and their members.This includes recommendations for a sustainable community-based trainer model; barriers and opportunities for increased digital financial services access, and insights to inform future financial inclusion programming.
Expected LOE of component consultancy elements (per consultant): 18-20 days
- Review and understanding of project components and context – 1 day
- Desk review: identification and review of external research papers and examples related to formal financial inclusion for vulnerable beneficiaries – 3 days
- Synthesis of research findings – 1 day (note: collaborate with 2nd consultant on shared desk review)
- Development of evaluation survey(s) for use with project staff, partners (including financial service providers), and beneficiaries – 1.5 days (note: collaborate with 2nd consultant)
- Conducting project interviews through focus group discussions and key informant interviews – 7-9 days
- Analysis of project data with country M&E team: 1 day
- Collaboration and discussion with consultant in 2nd country on report framework– 1 day
- Report preparation and writing – 3.5 days
- Report revision – 1 day
·Submission of report encompassing:
- Lessons learned from the Mastercard Financial Inclusion Project that presents findings from stakeholder interviews, program data reviews and reports
- Annex comprising desk review of academic literature, case studies and peer organization reports on initiatives to connect VSLAs to financial institutions for access to savings accounts and loans, compared and contrasted with Mastercard Financial Inclusion Project approach to create recommendations for futur
- Annex including survey tools developed and used with stakeholders
- Annex including detailed notes and summaries of 15-20 key informant interview with project staff, partners, clients, and municipal and district level-public officials
Note: IRC will support the consultant activities by providing all project proposal and implementation documents, including financial literacy training materials and outcome and output data, introductions to project staff, leadership, beneficiaries, and partners, preliminary survey questions and considerations, and 1 cycle of review of interim and final deliverables including survey tools, desk review summary, and final report.
1.Draft evidence summary: (including references; will become report annex) based on the desk review, including examples of programs/research that worked particularly well to connect VSLAs to financial institutions for access to savings accounts and loans.
Deadline: January 22, 2020
- Finalized survey tool(s):(note: to include one round of IRC feedback and revision between Jan 19 and 22nd)
Deadline: January 29, 2019
- Interviews in Uganda/ Cote d’Ivoire: February 1 – February 19th
- Draft report: (inclusive of all annexes and source materials) March 15th, 2020
- IRC Review finalized: March 19th, 2020
5.Final report: March 26th, 2020
- Project background
- Existing evidence/research (based on desk review; in annex)
- Research methodology
- Survey tools (in annex)
- Findings from research in country
- Notes and summaries from interviews (in annex)
- Apparent successes and challenges of project
- Recommendations for future financial inclusion programming
- Suggestions for case study examples to be built out by IRC
6. Possible follow up questions allowed until April 30th 2020 and completion of end of Mastercard Project Final Report prepared by IRC.
STANDARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT:
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles
outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are
Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values,
the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from
Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal
Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.