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Microfinance Impact Assessment Specialist, Home Based

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UNOPS mission is to expand the capacity of the UN system and its partners to implement peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations that matter for people in need. Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, UNOPS vision is to always satisfy partners with management services that meet world-class standards of quality, speed and cost effectiveness. By assisting UN organizations, international financial institutions, governments and other development partners, UNOPS makes significant, tangible contributions to results on the ground. UNOPS employs more than 6000 personnel and on behalf of its partners creates thousands more work opportunities in local communities. With its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, a network of five regional offices and a further 20 operations and project centres, UNOPS oversees activities in more than 80 countries. UNOPS is committed to achieving a truly diverse workforce.

Background Information - Myanmar

UNOPS is the Fund Manager for the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) in Myanmar. LIFT is a multi-donor fund for seven years (2010 – 2016) to address food insecurity and income poverty in Myanmar. The Donor Consortium of LIFT comprises Australia, Denmark, the European Community, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The overall objective of LIFT is to contribute resources to a livelihoods and food security programme with the aim of making progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 1 (the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger) in Myanmar. Working through a trust fund modality, LIFT’s purpose is to sustainably increase food availability and incomes of 2 million target beneficiaries.

This is to be achieved through delivering the following programme outputs:

1. Increased agricultural production and incomes supported through improved production and postharvest technologies, improved access to inputs and markets.

2. Targeted households supported in nonagricultural livelihood activities and/or trained in livelihood skills for employment.

3. Effective social protection measures supported that increase the incomes, enhance the livelihood opportunities or protect the livelihoods assets of chronically poor households.

4. Sustainable natural resource management and environmental rehabilitation supported to protect local livelihoods.

5. Capacity of civil society strengthened to support and promote food and livelihoods security for the poor.

6. Monitoring and evaluation evidence and commissioned studies used to inform programme and policy development.

And the following management outputs: 7. Funds allocated in line with Fund Board policies and are accounted for in a transparent manner.

8. Fund flow and partner performance monitored and evaluated.

LIFT is implemented through a variety of local implementing partners (IPs) who were successful in submitting proposals that supported the LIFT purpose in the areas targeted.

LIFT has long recognized the importance of increasing access to financial services as a means to achieve its outputs for both agriculture and non-agriculture livelihoods. Recently, LIFT’s baseline study found that, whilst 83% of households in the four agro-ecological zones took a loan in the prior 12 months, only 16% were able to do so from a low interest financial services provider (FSP).

LIFT has funded a number of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Myanmar. However, only with the passing of the new Microfinance Law in November 2011 did it become possible for LIFT to significantly scale up its assistance to the provision of microfinance services as part of a broader strategy of financial inclusion. In March 2012, the LIFT Fund Board resolved to open a Microfinance (renamed “Financial Inclusion”) Window (FIW), now constituted with a total amount of US$30m.

At the same time, there is a growing need to demonstrate that financial inclusion brings real benefits to the poor in terms of increased income, better housing, clothing, food and education for their children. LIFT wished to take the lead in this area in Myanmar, for example though upcoming projects or working with some of its IPs.

However, there are several ways to conduct impact assessments, e.g. through experimental research, randomised control trials (RCTs), quasi-experiments or qualitative research. Generally, RCTs (ideally accompanied by qualitative research) are considered to be the most rigorous approach to impact evaluation, but they come with issues regarding lead times and cost.

Functional Responsibilities

The overall purpose of the consultancy is to develop a microfinance impact assessment system that is based on the best practices available but customized to the particular needs and current standard operating practices of Myanmar.

Under the direct supervision of the LIFT Programme Officer - Markets and Microfinance, the Impact Assessment Specialist will perform the

following duties:

a) Consult with the LIFT Fund Manager’s Office (FMO) and LIFT funded MFIs/IPs about their objectives and priorities with regard to improved impact assessment for microfinance projects.

b) Conduct a desk-based review and synthesis of existing microfinance evaluation and impact assessment approaches in Myanmar, including those conducted by LIFT funded MFIs/IPs.

c) Identification of impact indicators complying with microfinance industry impact assessment best-practice and of specific relevance to Myanmar.

d) Analyse the advantages and disadvantages of different impact assessment systems, including issues of cost, time to achieve results and robust outputs, and advising on the most appropriate.

e) Propose those LIFT funded MFIs/IPs/projects, and any others of relevance, where the impact assessment system could be implemented.

f) Facilitate workshop amongst LIFT IPs and others to discuss preliminary findings and seek interest in participating.

g) Develop a potential impact assessment system, containing, but not limited to, the following elements:

  • Impact assessment framework, including key indicators for inclusion in MFI management information system database as appropriate and required;
  • Baseline survey template, if any;
  • Operational manual for impact assessment system including data collection and management strategies;
  • Outline workplan for piloting and roll-out of LIFT’s impact assessment system;
  • A committee of stakeholders for overseeing assessments and results; and
  • A budget for the potential impact assessment system, assuming that LIFT will fund the entire system (even though cost sharing with other stakeholders may be possible).
  • Professionalism – Ability to conduct independent research and analysis, identify issues, analyze options and recommend solutions. Ability to work systematically, accurately and under pressure.
  • Planning and organizing - Ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor own work plan to meet the deadlines and those under his/her supervision.
  • Result-oriented - Ability to focus on the result for the clients and respond positively to feedback.
  • Client orientation - Ability to identify clients' needs and appropriate solutions; ability to establish and maintain productive partnerships with clients.
  • Communication - Proven ability to write in a clear and concise manner and to communicate effectively orally. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective work relationship with procurement counterparts and substantive offices. Ability to communicate technical procurement matters in a simple and clear manner to individuals not well versed in the intricacies of procurement.
  • Teamwork - Strong interpersonal skills and; ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, and with high level stakeholders.
  • Self-reliance: Ability to act independently with a minimum of supervision.
  • Technological awareness - Excellent computer skills and ability to use software tools to present data clearly and concisely.
Education/Experience/Language requirements
  • A Master's degree in social sciences, business management, development economics, rural development, agricultural economics or related field.
  • A Bachelor degree in social sciences, business management, development economics, rural development, agricultural economics or related field in combination with 10 years qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of a Master’s degree.
  • A minimum of 8 years professional experience in a field related to rural development, livelihoods, planning or project management.
  • At least 4 years of this field experience should be at a professional-level in microfinance.
  • Proven track record of high quality project evaluation/baseline surveys work.
  • High degree of up-to-date experience in designing impact assessment systems.
  • Excellent communication skills, both orally and in writing, in English.
  • Significant professional experience in South-east Asia with professional experience in Myanmar an asset.
Contract type, level and duration Contract type: International Individual Contractor Agreement (IICA) Contract level: IICA-3, Home based with travel to Myanmar Contract duration: 1 May 2013 to 31 July 2013 (30 work days) For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time (CET)
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • For staff positions UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

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