Consultant: Studies into rural women's savings clubs

  • Mid-level, Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 13 March 2020

Job Description

Dates & duration: March to May 2020, around 45 days

Location: North Vella, Malaita, Honiara (Solomon Islands)

ARF Level: B3

Background to the Strongim Bisnis program

Strongim Bisnis is an AUD14 million, three-year market systems development (MSD) program funded by the Australian Government in Solomon Islands, working under the umbrella of the Solomon Islands Growth Program. Its goal is to stimulate growth in specific sectors (initially tourism, cocoa and coconut) through activities that catalyse business innovation, change practices, strengthen collaboration, manage risks, build resilience and increase women’s participation and empowerment. It commenced in July 2017.

The program has three end-of-program outcomes (EOPOs) to June 2020:

  • Business is demonstrating potential for increased productivity, greater resilience, better risk management, more income earning opportunities and access to high value markets, measured by higher agricultural yields, more efficient use of assets and labour, and new business models that favour employment, income or trade.
  • The private sector and government work together to increase opportunities for trade and investment, and form external partnerships that accelerate business growth, measured by a more favourable investment climate and external partnerships that accelerate changing business practice.
  • Women and youth have increased economic opportunity, measured by women’s and youth participation in the above outcomes, and specific measures for women’s and youth economic empowerment.

Background to the Assignment

Savings groups are the main channel for low income people in rural areas to access financial services, and in particular, make savings. Presently, around 5.3% of the adult population in Solomon Islands are members of saving clubs. The Solomon Islands Government formally recognises the value of Savings Clubs and through the current National Financial Inclusion Strategy, promotes the expansion of Savings Clubs as a way to increase financial inclusion and improve financial literacy across the country. The National Gender Equality and Women’s Development Policy identifies savings as supporting women’s economic advancement.

Strongim Bisnis recognises the role that informal savings and loan groups play in providing an accessible and affordable means for people in rural areas to save money, take small loans and invest in new or existing micro and small businesses. Strongim Bisnis has partnered with WARA, a leading voluntary rural based women’s association, covering the southern part of Malaita Province in the Solomon Islands. In addition to savings, WARA provides loans which help women engage in small businesses.

Objectives of the Assignment

The objectives of this assignment are the following:

  • A scoping study to identify business opportunities for JJD women’s association in North Vella (part of WARA’s network already supported by Strongim Bisnis), and the capacity building requirements to develop these opportunities;
  • A study to design sustainable micro-business hubs for women entrepreneurs in the WARA network;
  • A study to analyse the feasibility to transform WARA into a network of micro-banks for women.

The applicant for this assignment can apply for one of the tasks or for the whole set.

Skills and experience required

The consultant should have:

  • At least ten years of experience in rural development and micro-enterprise development, preferably in the Pacific region;
  • A detailed understanding of saving clubs micro-finance in general;
  • Experience in working with producers’ groups and cooperatives;
  • Understanding of specific barriers to financial inclusion and entrepreneurship for women and youth;
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully applying gender analysis to Women’s Economic Empowerment program designs and models;
  • Experience of working on (and familiarity with the requirements of) donor-funded programs, preferably market systems development or other private sector development programs;
  • Excellent analytical skills;
  • A proactive and transparent approach to research, collaboration and communication;
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • Knowledge of Solomon Islands Pijin would be a plus.

How to Apply

Expression of interests should include a CV and a cover letter and should be sent to recruitment@strongimbisnis.com.sb no later than 27th March 2020, with the subject title EOI – WARA Economic Opportunities.

Only shortlisted individuals will be contacted. Strongim Bisnis reserves the right to accept or reject any or all applications without assigning any reason.

About the Organization

ASI is committed to continually improve the diversity of our workforce through the attraction, retention and development of a diverse range of talented people. We want people to be comfortable bringing their whole self to work and recognise that inclusion brings further opportunities for innovation and creativity.

# Happy to talk flexible working

Adam Smith International is a strategic development company that helps people prosper by making economies stronger, societies safer, and governments more effective. Our clients are governments, international organisations, companies, and foundations. They come to us to develop strategies and to design, deliver and evaluate programmes that, in turn, stimulate growth, stability and good governance.

Our core team of managers and technical experts, in offices around the world, ensures the quality of delivery and high ethical standards that we and our clients require. We bring together a global network of specialist experts, who contribute their experience and know-how, where and when it is needed.

ASI is owned and operated by its employees, and we are all dedicated to making a meaningful difference in complex, challenging situations. We are committed to corporate integrity and a triple bottom line of social, environmental and financial performance.

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