Consultant – Research, Learning, and Communications – 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.

In the disaster-prone countries of Nepal and Timor-Leste, climate-related shocks and recurrent disasters cause loss of livelihoods and household assets in poor communities resulting in food insecurity and cyclical poverty. Life-saving disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches have seen tremendous growth in the last decade, however, these efforts have had limited effect on mitigating the economic losses suffered by the poor when disaster strikes.

Mercy Corps’ Managing Risk through Economic Development (MRED) program supports the most vulnerable households in smallholder farming communities to be more resilient to the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters through a resilience approach that integrates DRR and livelihoods. The Managing Risks through Economic Development Phase III (M-RED 3) is a two-year program funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies that is a continuation on M-RED Phases I and II (2013-2020). Through earlier phases of M-RED, Mercy Corps developed a sustainable model for resilience that integrated economic and market development with proven methods for disaster risk reduction. M-RED 3 (April 2020 to May 2022) aimed to further refine and build off this model, with the goal of enabling vulnerable smallholder farming communities in Timor-Leste and Nepal to be more resilient to ecological hazards and adverse effects of climate change, and to bounce back better and more quickly from these shocks and stresses. The vision of M-RED 3 was to implement the replicable, sustainable, and scalable model designed during Phases I and II for empowering smallholder farmers to be agents in building their own resilience.

Purpose / Project Description:

The Managing Risks through Economic Development Phase III (M-RED 3) program is one of Mercy Corps’ resilience flagship programs for Asia: a designated subset of our resilience programs, which seek to deepen our technical excellence in resilience, allow us to test innovative models, and commit to strong M&E systems for measuring resilience impact. During the closedown period of M-RED 3, the Timor-Leste team intends to examine our learning over the course of program implementation to share with resilience communities of practice. As Mercy Corps is entering 10 years of community-based disaster risk reduction work in Timor-Leste, the team has generated significant learning, evidence, and success stories.

Mercy Corps is seeking a consultant to collaborate with the program team to conduct a synthesis of documentation regarding the research, learning, and the results produced by the Managing Risks through Economic Development Phase 3 (M-RED 3) Program in Timor-Leste to produce materials that clearly document the program approach, highlights and successes, stories from the ground, and recommendations to other implementing partners.

Consultant Objectives:

The consultant will work with Mercy Corps to improve documentation Mercy Corps’ M-RED 3 work and produce a set of appropriate communication materials based on this documentation to create research, learning, and sharing products regarding program approaches, lessons learned, and successes. This will include liaising with the team to gather required content and evidence, including endline results, participant success stories and community testimonies, and team reflections. The role will review existing documentation such as donor reports, baseline and endline reporting, monitoring data, and other related documents that highlight the program’s key achievements, learnings, and results. The purpose of this exercise is to consolidate these program achievements and key learnings in a comprehensive, concise, singular Impact Report and accompanying Approach Brief that will enable the program team, donors, key Mercy Corps teams and other stakeholders to have a clear understanding of M-RED’s approach, results, learnings and programmatic opportunities to help improve the design and implementation of future resilience activities or programs in Southeast Asia and in other similar areas globally.

Consultant Activities:

In support of M-RED 3’s overarching Learning and Knowledge Management objectives the tasks of this assignment include:

  • Conduct a review and synthesis of learning and communication materials from previous phases as well as learning briefs, research documents and monitoring and evaluation data collected throughout the life of the M-RED 3 project.
  • Identify any gaps of information needs for collection during the remaining period of M-RED 3, and inputs from the team required to complement existing quantitative and qualitative evidence. Prepare key questions and topics of discussion for the team for any remaining gaps.
  • Compile evidence and data points to support the presentation of M-RED 3 project impacts by gathering evidence from various data sources including program evaluations, learning briefs and other program publications
  • Review and compare progress on intermediate result indicators using project baseline report and endline.
  • Produce a synthesized learning product for access on Mercy Corps platforms to enable knowledge sharing and learning. Deliver documents (listed below in Consultant Deliverables) regarding Mercy Corps’ work in Timor-Leste that will be relevant both to domestic as well as external (regional and global) stakeholders.
  • Ensure that documents take into account global best practices and the state of the field of disaster risk reduction globally to ensure lessons learned are relevant for sharing.
  • Present the products to Mercy Corps.

Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will deliver the following:

  • Approach Brief for M-RED which includes both general program approaches (across regional program) as well as details focusing on how these approaches are implemented in Timor-Leste, including the program Theory of Change. This includes a focus on ‘nexus’ products, gender approaches, governance, and early warning systems work. While this will be informed by M-RED 3 work, the product should be more generally focused on Mercy Corps’ program approaches rather than tied only to Phase III. The Approach Document will be 4-6 pages.
  • Impact Report for M-RED 3 in Timor-Leste. A synthesized report to showcase achievements to both internal and external partners. The Impact Results Report should highlight key impact findings, showcase success stories, and draw recommendations for future programs in in Timor-Leste. The report will be 8-12 pages.
  • Research & Learning Report for MRED 3 in Timor-Leste. This report will respond specifically to program research and learning questions to be submitted to the donor as a deliverable for the final program report. This report will be 4-6 pages and will focus largely on the team’s learning around lessons learning in any of the following topic areas:
    • How long does it take for a community to be disaster-ready and under what conditions? Which factors are most influential – the time of engagement, the intensity of intervention, or other socioeconomic characteristics?
    • How well does the M-RED model contribute to gender and social inclusion in increasing meaningful participation, access to resources and access to opportunities for strengthening disaster readiness?
    • What are the best strategies to bring systemic/transformational change in enabling environments?

Timeframe / Schedule:

The consultancy will consist of 30 days over the course of 2 months, to be completed by May 31, 2022:

  • Desk research & key informant interviews with program staff: 10 days
  • Deliverable 1: 3 days
  • Deliverable 2: 10 days
  • Deliverable 3: 4 days
  • Second drafts of deliverables incorporating feedback: 3 days

The Consultant will report to:

Kirsten Mandala, Program Manager- Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, Mercy Corps Timor-Leste

The Consultant will work closely with:

  • Regional Resilience Director
  • MRED Regional MERL Advisor
  • Director of Programs, Mercy Corps Timor-Leste
  • Other program and MERL team members as relevant

Required Experience & Skills:

  • **5-10 years of experience in relevant technical field (required)
  • Master’s degree in communications, international development/affairs, public administration, or related field.
  • At least 5 years of work experience in documenting program approaches (especially resilience focused programs), with international agencies or other development partners.
  • Experience creating communications materials and knowledge management projects.
  • Knowledge and experience working in the Asia-Pacific region is a plus.
  • Good communication skills both written and oral in English.

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

To apply: