Individual Training Consultant – Mud Brick Stabilization at Mercy Corps Nigeria

Consultant - Review and Development of MIYCN Training Package at Mercy Corps Nigeria

Mercy Corps has been present in Nigeria since 2012, focusing its interventions on humanitarian assistance, economic development, and conflict mitigation. With the ongoing insurgency in Northeast Nigeria causing the displacement of millions of individuals, Mercy Corps started its humanitarian response in 2014 to address the rising humanitarian needs. As the crisis has persisted, Mercy Corps’ strategy has also expanded to address the root causes of the conflict and seek to build the long-term resilience of communities with integrated programs focusing on governance, the recovery of markets and livelihoods, social cohesion and social protection, youth empowerment, and local conflict management.

Mercy Corps has been implementing its comprehensive shelter program in Borno state since 2017 to date that includes shelter repairs for IDPs, returnees staying with host communities, construction of permanent shelters for returnees, construction of transitional shelters in camps, construction of emergency shelters in camps and transit sites and distribution of basic emergency shelter materials for new arrivals at reception centers.

Mercy Corps carries out series of housing typology surveys in North-East Nigeria those shows that mud blocks are among the abundantly used, self-produced and economical construction material and most of the permanent houses are built with mud or mud blocks in rural areas. In recent past, humanitarian agencies especially busy delivering shelter & WASH assistance has shown interest and are busy in transforming their structure designs to adopt the mud blocks as walling materials considering the availability, skills and the cost effectiveness. Based on these surveys and the developments; Mercy Corps has introduced some research and training related to mud blocks production under its humanitarian programming.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Individual Training Consultant – Mud Brick Stabilization

Location: Maiduguri, Borno
Employment Type: Contract

Position Background / Summary

  • The USAID/BHA funded program title as Addressing Diverse and Acute Primary Threats (ADAPT) to Human Security in North Eastern Nigeria, is to save lives and prevent human suffering among displaced, returnee and host households in Borno State. The Goal aligns with BHA’s overarching mission statement to “save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the physical, social, and economic impact of rapid and slow-onset disasters”. The scope of the program is also in alignment with the three strategic objectives of the 2019 – 2021 Humanitarian Response strategy for Nigeria, which are:
    • Save lives by providing timely and integrated multi-sector assistance and protection interventions to the most vulnerable.
    • Enhanced timely, unhindered, and equitable access to multi-sector assistance and protection interventions through principled humanitarian action.
    • Strengthen the resilience of the affected population, promote early recovery and voluntary and safe durable solutions to displacement and support social cohesion.
  • Under the ADAPT Shelter program, Mercy Corps has an applied research component as a sub-purpose titled as Improving local technologies and practices for the sustainability of the ongoing shelter assistance in North East Nigeria. The research project to be implemented in collaboration with the University of Maiduguri and RAMAT Polytechnic Institute.

Technical Approach – Applied Research and Studies Project:
The proposed research approach will look at structural alternatives to already in use framing, walling and roofing materials for the core shelter & WASH structures. Key themes for the research are:

  • Improving the resistance of available types of timber to termite attacks
  • Designing a collapsible/transportable shelter model to help people facing repeated displacements, and
  • Looking at the local resilient materials that replace tarpaulin sheets
  • Using low cost stabilization techniques to improve the quality of locally produced mud blocks.

Mud-blocks as Structural Alternatives:

  • Mercy Corps will be signing an MoU with RAMAT and UNIMAID to conduct applied research to measure the behaviors of different locally used stabilizers and the overall strength of the product. The findings will help the sector to develop guidelines on the subject and roll-out the contexts specific training sessions for the local artisans and the mud block producers.
  • This study will pave a path to bring in low cost compressed stabilized earth blocks techniques for increased longevity and sustainability shelter structures. The study will also look at the soil types in Borno, strength analyses using different stabilizers and ratios, environmental aspects (possible degradation), existing practices in the country and potential institutional partners.
  • The outcome of this research will help Mercy Corps design a technical training for the artisans and the self-builders busy in making these bricks and ultimately will ensure improved quality bricks are being produced for the longevity of the shelter repairs and the transitional shelters.
  • Prior to rolling-out a training component for the self-builders a tailor-made applied research is prerequisite to analyze the behaviors of the soils from these LGAs, casting bricks with different proportions of sand and clay mixes with different ratios of the stabilizers. This will help the technical team to hit and trial various proportions of cement and lime to use as stabilizers to measure the strength and compare them with the local stabilizers. The cost benefit analyses will inform the achievable strength using the right proportions of soil and sand and appropriate stabilizers.

Consultant Objectives

  • To facilitate the applied research, Mercy Corps is looking for an individual training consultant to develop a training manual in light of the research outcomes as stated above and organize ToT (Training of Trainers) sessions for shelter & WASH technical staff, artisans and the mud block producers.
  • The training shall be focused on the low cost effective techniques for stabilization of locally produced mud blocks in Borno State. Consultant shall be benefiting from the research that shall be carried out by the research associates from RAMAT and UNIMAID.

The training will be addressing the key technical areas as stated below:

  • Local Mud Blocks Production Techniques
  • Local practices to stabilize the mud blocks
  • Comparative strength analyses of stabilized mud blocks, ordinary mud blocks and cement blocks using different stabilizer ratios and bonding additives.
  • Difference between Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) and Stabilized Mud Blocks (SMB).
  • Additional cost, efforts, resources and equipment required to produce CSEB
  • Comparative strength analyses of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) and Stabilized Mud Blocks (SMB).

Consultants Activities

  • The Consultant/s will develop a Training Manual for Mercy Corps on the theme “Stabilization of Mud Blocks with key themes listed in above section under objectives.
  • Organize 6 sessions of ToTs (practical and theory) for for shelter & WASH technical staff, Artisans and the mud block producers.
  • The training shall be focused on the low cost effective techniques for stabilization of locally produced mud blocks in deep field locations namely Dikwa, Damboa, Gwoza, Ngala, Monguno and Bama in Borno State. The training will be addressing the key technical areas as stated in above section;

Field / Site visits, Which Will Cover:

  • Delivery of the ToT sessions in LGAs listed above. Mercy Corps will provide the transport via UNHAS, accommodation in the guest house, the local transport, arrange the venue and the refreshment for the trainees and trainers during the training sessions.

Training manual should be minutely, covering:

  • An introduction/overview of mudbrick stabilization (Context, Usage, The how and why, Advantages, Disadvantages)
  • Soil Identification (Geological information on the types of soils in Borno State)
  • Soil Suitability/Soil properties and its suitability for stabilization.
  • Soil Testing Methods/Machinery.
  • Raw materials, stabilization, amount and type of stabilizers locally used.
  • Building standards and hence quality of blocks required
  • Load bearing requirements of construction using mud bricks.

Total Level of Effort:

  • 45 days (Including weekends).


  • Consultant MUST be based in Borno State
  • Transportation of Consultant to the various deep field offices (Bama, Gwoza, Ngala, Damboa, Monguno and Dikwa) via UNHAS Chopper based on availability;
  • Per diem
  • Accommodation (Humanitarian Hub) in the deep field offices (Bama, Gwoza, Dikwa, Ngala, Monguno and Dambao). In a location where there is no Humanitarian Hub, Mercy Corps will accommodate the consultant in its guest house
  • The Consultant will be paid on the number of days worked
  • Provision of training stationaries
  • Provision of venue for the training.

Success Factors
The successful consultant must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Must have an Engineering background (Civil / Building / Construction Engineering) with 4 – 10 years work experience.
  • Must have experience in similar activities.
  • Must be certified to practice engineering in Nigeria.
  • Familiarity of local context, culture and the language
  • Understanding of the context of Lake Chad Basin Crises in Borno state
  • Familiar with the local construction practices
  • Familiarity with humanitarian response in North East Nigeria
  • Familiarity with “shelter in emergencies” and shelter after disasters”.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should send a brief Concept Note / Proposal, along with work plan and financial proposal and sample of similar work done (plus IEC Materials), including their Resume also indicating daily consultancy fee rate and cost of material to be used for the purpose of the training to: using the Job Title as the subject of the email.