Consultant – Market Systems Assessment Design & Roll Out Technical Support Consultant – Burkina Faso & Remote At Mercy Corps


Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. As part of our activities in Burkina Faso, Mercy Corps will conduct a full in-depth market system analysis to understand the maize sector in Burkina Faso and identify concrete actionable solutions to improve its effectiveness.

Purpose of Consultancy

The consultant will provide technical support for the design and roll out of a market systems assessment of the maize sector in Burkina Faso. This assessment will follow a market systems development (MSD) approach to understand the maize sector including the relevant core, supporting functions, rules and norms. The assessment will evaluate market system performance, identify constraints and their underlying causes, opportunities, and incentives at all levels. It will include a focus on market systems resilience and understanding the relationship between the maize sector and conflict dynamics. The assessment will help inform interventions and potential partnerships to 1) support smallholder farmer resilience and productivity/growth, as well as 2) sector-wide job creation. Special attention will be given to understanding the constraints and their underlying causes as well as the feasibility of proposed solutions and new business models. As part of the market assessment, the consultant will also support efforts to build the MSD assessment capacity for the Mercy Corps Burkina Faso team to support the study implementation. The consultant will support the design and roll out of the MSA taking into account all of these aims and objectives, per the activities and deliverables detailed below.

Objectives, activities, and deliverables:

Objective 1: Provide technical support to the market systems assessment design, launch and early stage implementation with special emphasis on assessment design, process planning team preparation, sensemaking, and assessment pivots that will allow for the following:

  • A descriptive and quantified analysis of the different actors, levels and marketing channels of maize produced in Burkina (production, aggregators, transport, processing, packaging, retailers, marketing, distribution), as well as an in-depth analysis of the advantages/limitations and competitiveness of these different actors intervening at different levels of the value chain (production, logistics, aggregation, process, marketing, distribution and export), including their competitive positioning (business model, process, production and transport costs, added value, target market);
  • Identification of the obstacles/bottlenecks to the development of the various actors in the sector, as well as the possible solutions (and the relevant actors to provide them) for the removal or mitigation of these obstacles
  • Identification and diagnosis of the risk factors (shocks and stresses) impacting on the agribusiness market and market environment, their short and long term implications on economic resilience and growth, also taking into account the risks of conflicts (farmers/pastoralists in particular) and other issues such as land tenure security, women’s exclusion from land ownership
  • Identification and description of the different market players by mapping their risk profiles, their risk mitigation strategies, the strengths and constraints of implementing these strategies.
  • In-depth analysis of the potential for development of the maize supply chain in Burkina Faso in terms of production and aggregation. By conducting an in-depth analysis of legal issues, national and international regulations, and national policies affecting the maize sector (including export bans, land tenure issues, and issues related to input distribution and agricultural contracting more generally);
  • Review of the state of mechanisation in the maize sector, as well as a technological benchmark on maize farming (with a presentation of the advantages/disadvantages of the different technologies identified);
  • Identification of the main outlets for maize (flour, grits, animal and human food), the size of the markets, growth potential and trends, the marketing mix of the players, the networks at their disposal, as well as a benchmark in terms of competitiveness compared to other crops.

Mercy Corps’ will provide detailed tools, templates, and outlines in Mercy Corps format to use for deliverables.


  • Attend planning call with project team
  • Provide guidance to the lead consultant on MSA tools and approach based on MC standards
  • Support the lead consultant in conducting secondary/background research
  • Provide technical input on the research plan and work plan
  • Support the lead consultant in conducting the kick-off workshop with qualitative/quantitative data gathering training as well as MSD Lite training for the MSA research team
  • Provide technical review of data quality checks and refinement/adaptation of data gathering tools, questions, and methods as necessary
  • Support the planning and integration of market system resilience concepts and conflict analysis into the data collection process
  • Provide technical review of market system donuts, market maps (value chain), and stakeholder list (organized by market function and including market actor groups’ numbers and description of their power/influence)
  • Support the assessment and description of market systems performance (opportunities, constraints, incentives, relationships) at the function and market actor group levels (for core and supporting functions and rules/norms)
  • Support the process of assessing for cross-cutting themes (ex. youth, women, environment, conflict, resilience)
  • Support the process of pivoting assessment plans to better analyze key constraints as they emerge through the assessment process
  • Provide technical support in identifying main market systems constraints and conduct a root cause analysis
  • Together with the project team, prioritize the constraints (based on criteria developed with the project team) and justify the selection
  • Provide input in completing the MSA report template from the beginning and continue throughout the MSA & Design process for each of the selected market systems. This means that the MSA Report & Design template is closely aligned with the process described in this SoW and in the tools/template and resources that are available from Mercy Corps.
  • Other duties as identified during the consultancy related to the MSA

Deliverables (in support of the lead consultant):

  1. Review and input on the kick-off workshop agenda and materials
  2. Review and input on the research plan with work plan
  3. Review and input on the field assessment logistics plan
  4. Lead feedback and plans related to assessment pivots
  5. Review and input on the MSA Report Outline and Template
  6. Contribute to the draft MSA Report (including excel tools/templates)
  7. Draft labor market sub-sector report (as part of main MSA Report)

Objective 2: Build staff capacity in MSD

As part of the process of conducting the market assessment and design work, the consultant will help build the capacity of the Mercy Corps project team in the Market Systems Development (MSD) approach. Most of this capacity building will be done through learning-by-doing with the project team throughout the MSA & Design process. Training materials can be made available by Mercy Corps and adapted/improved as is needed in consultation with the Mercy Corps team.


  • Co-lead MSD Lite training with the lead MSA consultant
  • Co-lead qual/quant data gathering methods training with the lead MSA consultant
  • Support ongoing on-the-job learning capacity building throughout the entire process with the lead MSA consultant


  1. All relevant training materials and coaching guidance

LOE and Timeline

Below is a list of consultant activities with estimated days of effort and timelines. The exact timeline will be determined between the Mercy Corps team and the consultant at the onset of the consultancy, and due dates will be finalized in the work plan upon approval by Mercy Corps.

The anticipated LOE for this assignment is up to 25 days within a 3.5 month period. Ideal start date is mid-September 2021. All deliverables must be approved by the Mercy Corps representative to be considered final.

  1. Support the market systems assessment design, preparation, launch and early implementation (including resilience considerations and the labor market as a sub-sector) 20 days, Sept – Oct 2021, Remote & in-country, Deliverables:
  2. Review and input on the kick-off workshop agenda and materials
  3. Review and input on the research plan with work plan
  4. Review and input on the field assessment logistics plan
  5. Lead feedback and plans related to assessment pivots
  6. Review and input on the MSA Report Outline and Template
  7. Contribute to draft MSA Report with intervention design; draft the labor market sub-sector report
  8. Provide final review of MSA & Program Design Report 5 days, November to mid-December 2021, Remote, Deliverables:
  9. Contribute to the final MSA report with intervention design and Results Chains
  10. Final labor market sub-sector report within the main MSA report (feeding into the intervention design and results chains)
  11. Review and input on the draft work plan

Build staff capacity in MSD. Deliverables – All relevant training materials

Total 25 days, September to mid-December 2021

Mercy Corps Responsibilities

  • Share existing documents or other information (e.g. documentation on Mercy Corps and other donor/agency projects, research reports, meeting debriefs etc.) relevant to completing the assignment
  • Assist in refinement of market assessment tools in preparation of the in-depth market assessments. This will be done with input by Mercy Corps’ technical experts to ensure that Mercy Corps’ Market Systems approach is followed
  • Organize transportation to/from locality
  • Facilitate meetings with key stakeholders from the community, including mapping of stakeholders and liaison for scheduling meetings and any follow-up
  • Provide any materials and refreshments for workshops (including printing)
  • Review/approve all draft and final deliverables
  • Contract and pay any research team to support primary data collection (if necessary)

Assessment Team

  • Assessment Lead – Market Assessment Consultant
  • Mercy Corps Sahel Regional Advisor
  • 4 Burkina Faso staff/consultants
  • Project logistical and financial support staff

The Consultant will report to

Mercy Corps Senior Agriculture Advisor, Agriculture Systems

The Consultant will work closely with:

The Burkina Faso team and HQ-based technical advisers in agriculture, market systems and employment, and Director, Markets and Cash

Required Experience and Skills

  • BSs in economics, business administration international development, or any research related field, MSc/MBA is preferred
  • 5-10 years of progressive experience and proven high level of competence in socio-economic development, economic development-related programs, ideally in in a vulnerable context;
  • Previous experience working with MC MSA tools and processes
  • Demonstrated experience with market systems assessments and designing private sector development activities (required)
  • Experience with agricultural markets required and maize (preferred)
  • Experience with resilience assessment and design (preferred)
  • Experience working in Burkina Faso (preferred)
  • Fluency in spoken and written English (required) and French (preferred).
  • Ability to work under pressure, independently and with limited supervision
  • Demonstrated creative problem-solving skills and excellent time management capacities
  • Security, political and cultural awareness
  • Highly developed interpersonal communication skills
  • Deep commitment to humanitarian principles and values

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.


How to apply

Click Here to Apply

Closing Date: 11:59pm (UK Time) on Monday 13 September 2021

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