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Financial Services Job Mercy Corps

Project/Consultancy Title: Financial Services in Livestock Market Systems in the Horn of Africa

Project Location(s): Home based. Situation permitting, there may be some travel in Kenya, Ethiopia and/or Somalia


Mercy Corps has been a leader in the livestock sector in the Horn of Africa for almost two decades, working closely with government, local civil society and private sector actors in the drylands of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to strengthen inclusive and resilient livestock systems. Since 2004, Mercy Corps has partnered with over 500,000 livestock-keeping families in East Africa’s drylands through a robust portfolio of programs and research. Mercy Corps takes a holistic view of livestock systems, which goes beyond production and marketing to identify opportunities to strengthen the ecological, political, economic and social systems that underpin livestock production, thereby enhancing the resilience of livestock producing households. Mercy Corps recognizes that the health, inclusivity, and resilience of the livestock system that connects countries in the Horn of Africa is central to the stability and economic growth of the region as a whole.

Purpose / Project Description:

Mercy Corps is developing an in-depth regional strategy to support the development of livestock market systems within the Horn of Africa, particularly the pastoralist regions of Somalia, Northern Kenya and Eastern and Southern Ethiopia. Building on Mercy Corps’ deep footprint working on livestock markets and supporting functions across the three countries, this regional, multi-sectoral livestock strategy will identify challenges and opportunities to strengthen cross-border linkages, trade and connections to end markets within the livestock sector, and opportunities to strengthen the role that livestock plays in household resilience to economic and environmental shocks. The overall objective of the strategy will be to identify concrete opportunities to build on and link Mercy Corps’ existing body of work within the livestock sector across the three countries to increase impact, strengthen regional integration and enhance linkages across livestock markets in the Horn of Africa.

Mercy Corps has been supporting the expansion of Islamic finance for pastoralists and traders in Muslim communities in both Kenya and Ethiopia. This includes the establishment of the Somali Microfinance Institute (SMFI) in Ethiopia in 2011 and the first Sharia compliant SACCO in Northern Kenya – Crescent Takaful SACCO (CTS) – in 2017. Mercy Corps has also also worked with financial service providers to provide livestock sector products like Mifugo Kash Kash in Kenya*,* that financially empowers small-scale traders to purchase livestock.**

Consultant Objectives:

Mercy Corps has conducted a contextual analysis of livestock market systems with a focus on four cross-border trade corridors between the three countries and is conducting studies on commercial enterprises and women’s economic empowerment in pastoralist areas. In addition, the team would like to dig deeper into what Mercy Corps has learned through these initiatives with an aim to make recommendations on (1) best practice to inform how to replicate and/or expand these financial services into new geographies in the Horn of Africa and (2) what interventions could be done to promote new product development in the livestock sector that ultimately creates new opportunities for pastoralists and small scale traders. The consultant should use a market systems development approach (MSD) to understand the financial service sector in the target geographies and make intervention recommendations. This study will be used to inform participatory regional intervention design workshops and develop recommendations for Mercy Corps programs.

Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will:

  • Synthesize Mercy Corps MSD approach to financial services in pastoralist areas from strategy and program documents and interviews with key team members
  • Identify key financial constraints faced by commercial pastoralists and small-scale traders
  • Recommend interventions could be done to promote new product development in the livestock sector that ultimately creates new opportunities for pastoralists and small scale traders
  • Present the preliminary findings at a Mercy Corps virtual regional workshop for feedback
  • Develop final report on financial services for livestock in the Horn of Africa with recommendations for intervention areas

Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will:

  • Produce an approach and workplan for review by Mercy Corps advisors
  • Review secondary resources from Mercy Corps programs, development and academic literature
  • Develop a presentation of preliminary findings to share at a Mercy Corps regional workshop
  • Develop a final 8-10 page MSA report that presents the sub-sectors, key constraints and recommendations for intervention areas

Timeframe / Schedule:

This consultancy is estimated at 10-15 days over the course of 2 months, beginning in September 2020 and ending in October 2020. The final schedule will be based on the final assessment work plan.**

The Consultant will report to:

Allison Huggins, Deputy Regional Director, Africa

The Consultant will work closely with:

Regional Strategy Consultant, Regional Market Systems Advisor, Global Livestock Advisor, Global Gender Advisor, Regional Resilience Director

Required Experience & Skills:

  • At least 5 years of experience working on financial services, market systems development, pastoralism and livestock trade, and/or other related fields.
  • Experience in the Horn of Africa and/or with the target pastoralists enterprises (livestock, milk, fodder) is a plus.
  • The consultant should also have excellent written and presentation skills in English to produce strong communication materials for consumption by diverse stakeholders.
  • Experience working with Mercy Corps and/or on programs funded by SDC is a plus.

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