Program Engagement Consultant


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AgriFin Digital Farmer II currently represents a $12 million, four-year program working in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria , with potential to expand to other markets (Uganda+). In partnership with Bayer Foundation, ADF 2 seeks to support the expansion of digitally-enabled services to 5 million smallholder farmers, delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers and building farmer income, productivity and resilience across by 50% while reaching 40% women.

The program’s core innovations are: 1) a rapid iteration engagement model to drive innovative, client-centric product development; and 2) our work with partners to develop “bundles ” of mobile-enabled services offering farmers affordable access to digital financial and market informational services. Our support programming is focused on enabling the following critical areas of innovation, that will follow an ecosystem and market facilitation approach supported through partnership activities and dissemination of evidence-based learning to ecosystem actors following a Market Systems Development (MSD) approach, with a strong gender focus :

•Agricultural Advisory and Smart Farming Solutions, drawing on Climate Smart Agriculture (dCSA)

•Appropriate Digitally-Enabled Financial Services for SHF

•Digital Platform Models Providing Market Access, Financing, Information and Resources

•Digital Channels, Logistics and Mechanization

•Use of Digital Data for Decisioning, Product Development & Risk Management.

The Program targets the core Three outcomes will contribute to the achievement of this goal:

Outcome 1: Market actors expand, improve and continue to offer high-impact DFS products and services that are tailored to address the expressed needs of SHFs;

Outcome 2: Farmers increase capability to access and utilize demand-driven, high impact technology-enabled financial products and services relevant to SHFs;

Outcome 3: Ecosystems around both supplier and farmers emerge supporting provision of digital financial and informational services to SHFs that are used at scale.

Building on the AgriFin approach, partnerships and experience to date, ADF II will build on existing approaches and partnerships, leveraging in new programming to:

Design, Test & Scale Digitally-Enabled Climate Smart Agriculture Solutions (dCSA) focus alongside other innovation areas: Climate change is already causing yield declines for staple crops exacerbating food insecurity on the African continent. Farmers are struggling to know more and more to know how best to manage their farms. ADF II will continue to maintain a focus on the original ADF II (five) focus areas of innovation i.e. (a) smart farming & ag advisory; (b) financial products & services; (c) digital markets; (d) logistics & distribution; and (e) alternative data & credit scoring leverage climatic data;

Deliver on Digital for Women: AgriFin is committed to address the digital divide by designing products and services specifically for women farmers and women in agricultural value chains. Designing for women ensures uptake, active use and impact, while increasing agricultural productivity, inclusion, poverty reduction and climate resilience. AgriFin impact evidence on gender points forward to the importance of digitizing groups, building meaningful financial bundles that are savings-led, building farm skills, market linkages and ensuring a trusted human support role as women build decisioning power, digital access and digital literacy;

Address Impacts of COVID-19 and Desert Locust: Recognizing the dramatic impact of COVID-19 and Desert Locust across our markets, we have seen that digital solutions are a lifeline to create safe, transparent, efficient and scalable solutions for farmers and the value chains in which they work. AgriFin has already successfully leveraged and will continue to engage existing agile programming, technology innovation and partnerships to scale services for farmers, while protecting the companies and markets serving them, working to rebuild livelihoods and food systems;

Crack the Digital Platform Code by building on existing and developing new platform partners, continuing to leverage digital data and diverse bundles of products and partnerships. AFD II will support existing partners, including platforms like DigiFarm, KALRO, WeFarm, World Bank Million Farmer Platform, WhatsApp for Business, One Acre Fund, Vodacom, GoogleX and ATA along with new partners like Yara/IBM, Digital Green. Each of these partners have explicitly stated the need for platform and dCSA approaches;

Support Breakthrough Models for Digital Data Sharing and Usage : Leveraging a strategic approach with AgriFin partners, including government, private sector, academics and development agencies to break down data silos and build collaborative data agendas and learning areas, leveraging closer relationships with other key think-tanks and Open-Data initiatives to shape the data opportunity in agriculture. AgriFin will develop and disseminate actionable data toolkits that can be refined directly in work with partners and available externally as a public good, continuing to push sustainable business models, open data sharing environments, farmer inclusion and research and learning around data and data sharing.

Support Ecosystem Learning, Impact Evaluation & Reporting. Market ecosystem actors and the development community lack sufficient information, proven products and tools, and effective partnership models to successfully provide effective digitally-enabled services to farmers. AgriFin serves as a public information resource related to digitally-enabled services for smallholder farmers, share program research, tools and project engagement learning, as well as disseminate lessons learned through a dedicated website and social media.

Country Focus

KENYA

ADF has worked with a network of 55 partners in Kenya reaching more than 1.5 million farmers, with deep relationships across government, telcos, banks and ag innovators. Kenya programming will continue to leverage scale partnerships with Safaricom’s DigiFarm program, but also expand to other scale partners, including WeFarm, One Acre Fund, Pula, Equity Bank and others. Kenya is an innovation hub for Africa and will be a focal market for building climate-smart services with irrigation, soil testing, mechanization, post-harvest loss and other solution providers for expansion across the continent. As an advanced digital ecosystem for farmers, Kenya is also an important market for developing gender transformational models for Africa in financial inclusion, market access and sustainable agricultural practice.

ETHIOPIA

ADF’s core partner in Ethiopia has been the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), with expanded services to a range of institutions and partners linking into the ATA environment, which has allowed for outreach to over 250,000 smallholders on digital channels. This partnership has driven scale and potential for transformative services based on our Ethiopian digital ecosystem study, the development of a consolidated digital data hub with plans for open APIs to external partners, the digitization of the Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACC) reaching 3 million farmers and the development of ATA’s 8028 IVR services for emergency Desert Locust and COVID-19 response. We expect to continue to leverage this relationship to build out gender transformational models with ACC, as well as new models for digital innovation leveraging the ATA digital data hub, with links to the Digital Green FarmStack solution. ADF II will also expand partnerships outside of the ATA ecosystem as the digital ecosystem in Ethiopia advances with the development of the telecom sector and can enable agribusinesses, innovators and financial service providers. The ACC will form a significant basis for gender-transformational service delivery, working in partnership with the Gates Foundation and other actors.

NIGERIA

The Nigerian market has proven very dynamic over the short span of ADF II programming, reaching more than 360,000 farmers across a diverse network of partners, driven by agribusiness and technology innovators. A strong foundation has been built for continued scale with organizations like Flour Mills of Nigeria, AgroMall, Viamo, Airtel, Ignitia, Hello Tractor, Pula, Sterling Bank, NIRSAL and others. A key challenge in Nigeria has been around gender inclusion. Moving forward, new and existing partnerships will focus on gender transformational engagements that leverage women’s groups, digitally-enabled “end to end” market services, gender inclusive credit scoring and financial services, building human to digital training approaches and climate-responsive services.

TANZANIA
Mercy Corps’ AgriFin programming is well established in Tanzania, with deep partnerships with 15 leading institutions in Tanzania, including banks, MNOs, government, agricultural companies, and technology innovators reaching more than a half million farmers. We propose to continue support to scaling partners, including Vodacom, WeFarm, CRDB, One Acre Fund, CGIAR and also Chomoka, which provides digital solutions for women’s savings groups in rural areas. We expect significant scale opportunity in Tanzania at the intersection of data analytics, digital financial services, market access and farmer advisory. Tanzania is still a nascent market for smart farming solutions, which will be a focus of ADF II activities, together with efforts to build gender inclusion and relevant products and services.

Purpose of Engagement

AgriFin Digital Farmer I has been operating in Tanzania for over four years. Partners are at various stages of product development for Digital Financial Services (DFS) and Digital Information services (DIS) to smallholder farmers. In 2020, ADF II closed offices in Tanzania, hence necessitating the need for an on-the-ground person to support the Agrifin team based in Nairobi, Kenya, in the engagement and follow-up of partners in-country under ADF II. The consultant will be required to advance Tanzania based partnership relationships while supporting the Nairobi based technical team in successful implementation and evaluation of ADF engagements. This will include crafting engagements, developing new/existing partnerships and facilitating product development initiatives that meet the strategic needs of our core partners (primarily MNOs and banks).

Scope of Work

This scope of work sets the terms of reference for the consultant for AgriFin Digital Farmer (ADF II) Tanzania implementation. The consultant is expected to commit at least (4) working days per month to AgriFin Digital Farmer (ADF II). Under the direction of the ADF Technical teams, the consultant will be responsible for the following key activities:

Partner Engagement Support

  • Support strong partner relationships, project plans and product roadmaps.
  • Assist and in some cases lead the development of partner business and work plans, reviewing research, marketing plans, business processes, operational manuals, product and technology specifications, and financial statements to do so.
  • Perform tasks based on project plans, those agreed with ADF II management, and those assigned by program management.
  • Monitor project progress, with regular oversight of technical consultants or third-party providers, report and resolve, or assist in resolving issues, under direction of ADF II management
  • Prepare project progress reports and status updates.
  • Conduct due diligence on prospective partners, compile required legal documents and share reports on the same.
  • Keep up to date with the Tanzanian agri/fintech ecosystems and participate ongoing learning meetings with program stakeholders related to program focus areas, working in coordination with technical team managers.
  • Assist the program in identifying technical consultants as needed, in preparing terms of reference and scopes of work, and provide support and oversight for consultants as required.
  • Contribute to the ADF II learning agenda and track partner impact metrics as and when required.

This project implementation shall be fully consultative with key stakeholders and all learning outputs will be developed in close coordination with ADF II and related partners to ensure recommendations and final learning outputs remain strategically aligned the program strategy.

Deliverables

The consultants will provide ADF II with the following deliverables, with specific timelines to be agreed in the approved consultant workplan:

  1. Weekly back to office report (BTOR) following partner meetings and engagements, including a summary of project status, potential project risks, and any other updates from partner meetings with ADF II partners, existing donors, contractors, and other ecosystem members.
  2. Weekly check-ins with the Task Managers – outside of the standing Technical Team meetings.
  3. Monthly report updating project status, potential risks and any other updates from partnership implementation in the months.
  4. Partners engagement strategies, roadmaps and product workplans on a need’s basis.
  5. Final/handover report on activities with partners and future prospects for developments in additional program areas with working partners.

Required Qualifications

  1. Advanced degree in business, engineering, economics, or relevant field
  2. Work experience in providing advisory services for multi-year international Agricultural and financial sector development projects.
  3. Proven expertise in fundraising and proposal writing.
  4. Demonstrated strong management, coordination, teamwork and planning skills.
  5. Familiarity with Mercy Corps systems is a plus.
  6. Strong analytical and technical skills.
  7. Excellent communication skills and a proven ability to establish and maintain interpersonal and professional relationships.
  8. Excellent verbal, written interpersonal and presentation skills in English.
  9. Ability to offer coaching, mentorship and development of technical capacity.

Project Learning Agenda

The following Key ADF II Learning Agenda questions will be addressed:

  1. What financial and value-added products and services do SHFs, including women and youth, value most and why?
  2. How does bundling of products and services impact uptake and usage of digital financial services?
  3. What capacity building tools have the highest impact on SHFs willingness and ability to use digital financial services?
  4. How and to what extent have ADF II partners have been successful to achieve scale and commercial sustainability?
  5. What are the main drivers of success and failure of different partnership and bundled approaches?

Ownership/Control of Work Product/Publication

Matters relating to ownership and control of work product and publication of materials produced during course of this engagement are addressed in the main contract agreement entered into between Mercy Corps and the Consultant for performance of services for AgriFin Digital Farmer II.

Authorship and Acknowledgement

Matters relating to authorship and acknowledgment of any materials produced by the Consultant during the course of this engagement are addressed in the main contract agreement entered into between Mercy Corps and the Consultant for performance of services for AgriFin Digital Farmer II.

Task Manager/Coordination/Reporting

The Task Manager for this engagement is AgriFin’s Program Deputy Director, with oversight from AgriFin’s Program Director. The consultant will direct all communications to the ADF Task Manager.

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