About 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. Now, and for the future. Mercy Corps began programming in Sudan in 1985, and has been operating in states of what is now South Sudan since 2005; Operations have continued since the independence of South Sudan in 2011. We have been working to meet people’s immediate needs, and with communities, to build local capacity and promote economic development, especially with the eruption of violence in December 2013. Mercy Corps South Sudan works aims at addressing a number of interrelated needs within a range of activities including livelihoods, peace building, agriculture, water and sanitation, health and nutrition, financial access and economic development. Mercy Corps applies a broad and integrated approach to address challenges to product and service availability, access and utilization among communities of intervention to integrate targeted assistance for the immediate needs of critically vulnerable populations with a larger strategic focus on market facilitation that promotes long-term systemic change while working through strategic partnerships to realize scale and impact of programs.
Purpose / Project Description
Mercy Corps South Sudan with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is implementing the Strengthening Resilience in Agriculture, Livelihoods and Markets through Local Institutions in Mundri and Koch (STREAM) with the overall objective of improving food security of 6,350 households through enhanced gender equitable market access and increased agricultural production and off farm and non-farm livelihood opportunities. Western Equatorial in South Sudan has previously been a food basket and has the potential for the accelerated production and feeding the nation, unfortunately due to the years of disruptions due to the social, economic, political and more recently the health implications from COVID-19 have hampered production capacity and supply chains. Needless to say, at the household level, production capacity, skills and technologies and level of aggregation have completely been hampered.
In mobilizing and strengthening the capacity of the producers in various value chains to be selected, the STREAM project has taken on the Cooperative model as an anchor institution for diffusing knowledge, skills, organizing and aggregating farmer potential in these areas. The STREAM project believes that the Cooperatives do provide a huge potential for accelerating and engagement with smallholder farmers at scale while leveraging opportunities for markets and its potential growth especially in increasing yield, incomes and strengthening market systems in these areas.
Mercy Corps will be leading efforts on identifying and strengthening various value chain market systems opportunities between these communities in ways that are mutually beneficial and reinforcing opportunities for social economic inclusion and stimulation of the local economy. The first component of the consultancy should focus on assessing and analyzing the capacity and gaps of cooperatives while at the same time understanding key functions that are critical in ensuring that the cooperatives remain functional. The second part of the consultancy should focus on developing
The consultancy will focus on assessing the current structure of existing and new cooperatives in Mundri and Koch areas of the project to focus on strengthening their capacity through clearly understanding the structures and opportunities for cooperatives while at the same time exploring this information to develop a cohesive vision for increasing their performance. This assignment will involve developing very concrete ideas on how to work with cooperatives and what opportunities are available. It’s prudent that in creating these opportunities, a well thought out and tailored capacity tools are developed with a Training of Trainee’s (ToT) provided to key stakeholders within the STREAM project in Mundri and Koch in Western Equatorial.
· Overview and secondary literature review and current state analysis of South Sudan cooperative operation/context especially in Western Equatorial.
· Identify appropriate cooperative approaches that facilitates an inclusive environment for surrounding Bomas to benefit from the Payam level cooperative.
· Develop key tools to revive cooperatives including key business plans and financial projections for profitability that cooperatives can work towards including activities in agricultural production, marketing, processing of agricultural products, provision of inputs, sharing of machinery and how the cooperatives can support in service provision to the surrounding vulnerable farmers.
· Identify key support areas for sustainability of the cooperatives. It’s prudent that recommendations are grounded on cutting edge ideas not business as usual. The STREAM project greatly appreciates the Markets system Development approach a framework for sustainability especially on the “who does” and “who pays” vision framing.
· Develop training manuals for cooperatives and deliver a ToT training for staffs and CAD officials supporting cooperative development.
· Review the Cooperative/producer groups viability tool and support its development and use in applications such as tableau application or any other recommended application.
· Identification of opportunities that can be explored by the cooperative that are relevant to their growth
· Match current constraints within the program with other opportunities linking with smallholder farmers and out growers. The current constraints should be linked with opportunities within the chains selected by the STREAM project.
3. Activity plan
- Secondary literature review of Cooperative structure and STREAM project vision and opportunities for Cooperatives in the project areas. 3 days with Inception report on current structure of Cooperatives developed.
- Research plans and tools which includes key processes, tools and plans for cooperatives assessment with tools concluded in two days.
- Cooperative assessment to best understand their capacity, constraints and opportunities. This should include links to STREAM project identified value chain opportunities+ draft analysis and report (including presentation of draft findings to STREAM project team for eight days
- Capacity development tools and documents for engaging with cooperatives developed based/tailored from the assessment findings, these tools should be used for delivering a ToT to key program and stakeholders for three days.
- Cooperatives strengthening ToT delivered to key project staff, cooperative leaders and County Agricultural Department officials. Conducted in two days.
- Viability and monitoring tools for cooperatives developed, shared and approved by STREAM project team completed in two days
- Conduct intervention design and planning workshop for Cooperative with tools and report on design developed. Three days of including workshop and design report.
- Write final report to be completed in two days.
Cooperative’s assessment report (25-30 pages each max)
The consultant with support from the STREAM project will be required to develop and shared detailed cooperative assessment with clear indications of what the current state of cooperatives with understanding of their capacities, constraints and incentives with links to the key value chains identified within the STREAM project. The report should have some of the following features if possible:
- Background & Purpose
- Selection of market systems
- Cooperative group structure
- Cooperative management
- Current production and marketing structure
- Market Systems Map and donuts for the cooperative structure and functions they interact with – Graphic and Narrative
- The overall ‘map’ of the market systems including the main functions and flows of value and information
- The key ‘supporting functions in in the cooperative systems that supports its viability
- Volumes and Prices for current and potential cooperative capacity to break even
- Trade Flows with cooperatives in relation to some of the key value chains identified – Graphic and Narrative
- Margins Analysis for productivity and profitability of Cooperatives
- Seasonal Calendar – Graphic and Narrative
- Business Enabling Environment for Cooperatives
- The key formal rules –policies, standards, regulations etc – and informal rules (incentives) shaping the behavior of players.
- Environmental links to key markets
- Gender and the market selected and their interaction with cooperatives
- Opportunities, Challenges, Constraints within Cooperatives
- SWOT Matrix
- Key factors driving changes in the systems
- Recommendations and suggested interventions
Cooperative viability tools
Building from the cooperative assessment report, the consultant will be required to develop a key viability functions for cooperatives and this could include access to inputs, markets, management and legality etc. and how to measure that over that. This tool will be used to constantly measure the performance and growth of each of the cooperatives, the viability tool should focus on increasing self-reliance and sustainability of the cooperatives without additional support in the future.
Based on tools developed for strengthening the capacities of cooperatives, it’s prudent that the consultant does provide a training of trainers for key STREAM staff to enable them to perform their function of strengthening capacity of cooperatives will be critical. The ToT should be comprehensive and should cover the growth cycle of the cooperatives and aligned to project management.
Due dates will be finalized in the workplan upon approval by Mercy Corps. The anticipated LOE for this assignment is 20-25 days. This consultancy is therefore scheduled to start in August 2021.
The Consultant will report to: STREAM Program Manager.
The Consultant will work closely with:
Other Mercy Corps South Sudan staff, its technical support unit and other members of the STREAM consortium
Required Skills and Experience
· Minimum 5 years’ experience in Agribusiness, Agricultural economics including implementing and advising programs and strong experience working with the Agricultural cooperatives and the private sector
· Strong experience in conducting Cooperative assessment, Cooperative management tools, Cooperative capacity strengthening and monitoring tools innovative and feasible intervention designs for Agricultural cooperatives in South Sudan.
· Experience in leading workshops and collaborating with a wide network of stakeholders
· Strong communication and writing skill
· Experience in delivering facilitative training of trainee’s capacity initiative
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
Closing Date: 11:59pm (UK Time) on Sunday 1 August 2021