Cash transfers – impact study consultant at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering an Individual Consultancy contract within the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific team in Bangkok. The consultant will implement a study about the impacts on the use of multipurpose cash grant for basic needs in 3 operations / countries in Asia. Filed trips and the collect of information will be necessary to conduct the study.

UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.

Title: Cash transfers – impact study consultant

Duty Station: Home based

Duration: until 31 Dec 2022 (with possibility of extension beyond)

Contract Type: Individual Consultancy

Closing date: 18 September 2022

Start dateASAP

Organizational context

In recent years, UNHCR operations in the Asia & Pacific region have embarked on a wide range of designs when providing cash transfers to address the economic and protection vulnerability of persons of concern. CBIs have targeted different types of populations (IDPs, Refugees) in different contexts (such as camps, urban areas, emergency and protracted situations), using different selection criteria, duration and frequency. Most operations have also implemented specific programs to address the negative economic impacts of COVID.

CBIs address different types of needs depending on the objective and the design of each intervention. Cash transfers generate both short and long terms outcomes and can address immediate basic needs as well as support protection and solutions for beneficiaries. Outcomes, that also depend on complementary activities, are usually broad given the flexibility offered by the cash transfers to address a wide range of needs.

As for many UNHCR programs, the scale of the cash assistance in the region is often limited by the budget available and a certain lack of information related to the impacts and outcomes of the cash transfers, their contributions to protection and solutions strategies, and how these are affected by the design of the CBI, including scale and duration. This limits the ability of offices to benefit from the full potential of cash grants. It also reduces the opportunities to harmonize programs with government approaches (ex. Safety Net) or at regional level between UNHCR operations.

In order to improve the design of CBIs (MPCG) in operations and to support decisions on the level of assistance to provide, there is a need to better understand how different designs (targeting criteria, amount, frequency & duration) address different vulnerabilities, reaching different impacts (socio-economic & protection); and contribute differently to the UNHCR protection & solution strategies.

The position

The general objective of the consultancy is to study the various designs of cash transfer interventions [Multipurpose Cash Grant], in terms of targeting, amounts, duration and frequency, and their outcomes and impacts (including protection) in terms of addressing basic needs/vulnerabilities and contributing to the protection & solutions for beneficiaries. The study must inform UNHCR operations about the impacts they can reach depending on how much they invest in cash transfers, on the specific situation of the PoCs and on complementary activities. More specifically, objectives include:

  1. To review existing knowledge, learning and good practices on the impacts and outcomes of multipurpose cash grants on socio-economic and protection vulnerabilities. In addition, to review lessons learnt from governmental safety net programs in terms of design & impacts and outcomes on the poorest.
  2. To analyze and compare the impacts and outcomes of different multipurpose cash grants in 3 different UNHCR operations (India, Indonesia, Thailand), including both regular and COVID CBI response; and to compare them with longer term approach (Safety Net). Vulnerability and selection criteria should be factored in and as much as possible the effects of the end of the cash assistance should be analyzed.
  3. To assess to which extent CBIs have reached their expected impacts and outcomes, and how the design of the interventions has affected the outcomes and impacts on beneficiaries.
  4. To provide a forum of discussion between operations, promote sharing of experiences and identify good practices, lessons and priorities
  5. To summarize the expected impacts and contributions to the protection & solution strategies of different MPCG designs and to recommend on their use (context, objective, dynamic).

The key research questions are:

  1. What are the impacts and outcomes of multipurpose cash grant transfers? What are the main factors of vulnerability and how cash transfers impact them? How impacts and outcomes vary depending on the vulnerabilities and program design?
  2. How does each approach/design contribute differently to the protection & solution strategies of the UNHCR operations? How complementary interventions influence?
  3. What are the main constraints for operations to address existing needs and what are the priority actions required to improve CBI design, to reach sought outcomes in the operations and/or contribute further to protection & solutions?

As conclusion, the research must identify the lessons learnt and good practices and recommend on the ways forward for UNHCR.

General Approach & requirements. The type of information to collect as well as the sources of information and the tools use will be developed by the consultant at the beginning of the consultancy. It will be important to take into consideration:

  • The specific vulnerabilities of the targeted POCs, especially related to their status (restricted access to work, socio-economic services, etc.).
  • The short- and long-term impacts of the interventions on different aspects of beneficiaries’ life. This includes not only the socio-economic impacts and outcomes of the intervention, but also protection ones; and the effect of stopping the assistance.
  • UNHCR approaches in different operations will be compared, along with a comparison of the usual impacts and outcomes of safety nets developed by governments.
  • The impacts of different approaches and designs on UNHCR operations protection & solution strategies will be analyzed, to support recommendation about CBI design.
  • Data will be collected from the beneficiaries directly or from key informants to complement data already existing. The survey will be designed, and its use overseen by the consultant, but the data collection can be implemented by UNHCR operations in each country covered.

The understanding of the context, the situation of beneficiaries (needs, selection criteria), the UNHCR objectives, strategies and interventions will be necessary to analyze the impacts of program on the beneficiaries & their contribution to achieve UNHCR’s objectives.

The consultant will work closely with the Senior CBI Officer of the Regional Bureau and liaise with different UNHCR staff as necessary, at the Bureau or in country offices

Duties and responsibilities

Different outputs are expected through the consultancy, which will contribute to the final product (report & presentation). The final report should clearly formulate, for each research question the findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

  • A detailed technical methodology including tools, information to collect, indicators, updated work plan, and final report structure (outline)
  • A secondary data review of the existing knowledge, recommendations, and good practices
  • Draft report, including country findings
  • One online workshop/webinar to review findings, analysis, and recommendations with operations
  • Final report summarizing findings and recommendations and including country chapters or annexes (max 25 pages excl. summary and annexes)
  • One Webinar to present the findings (1 hour)

Key activities includes:

  1. Development and finalization of methodology (ex. tools) and confirmation of targeted countries
  2. Secondary data collection (incl. desk review of studies & guidance) & calls/interviews with specialists
  3. Briefings with the regional bureau, operations and HQ
  • By end of week 5 or earlier as possible – Submit draft of “Information to date” report for review. The report should cover clear descriptions of (1) the MPCGs (Multipurpose cash grants) implemented in the selected countries, the situation/vulnerabilities of the targeted beneficiaries, the complementary activities and the protection & solution strategy, (2) the types of impacts and the impacts of MPCG to look at depending on the approach (ex. Anti-poverty programs, humanitarian assistance, etc.); (3) the methodology used for the study (including survey form, indicators, reviewed workplan and expected results) and a drafted outline of final report.
  1. Mission travel
  2. Primary data collection from operation / country (calls, online meetings, in-country survey & interviews)
  3. Analysis and conclusions
  • By end of week 10: First draft of the report including the description of the socio-economic and protection impacts of MPCG depending on the approach, contribution to protection strategies and key recommendations. The draft report will specifically a) summarize the vulnerability of targeted PoC before intervention and their situation/constraints (main factors of vulnerability), b) describes the socio-economic and protection impacts of CBIs (depending on their design) and the key changes brought to beneficiaries’ life’s (ex. theory change); c) details how these impacts contribute to the protection & solution strategies of operations and d) specifically address each research question. A draft agenda for the workshop with operation should also be presented, which objective is to discuss the finding and collect missing information if required.
  1. Workshops (on-line – followed by satisfactory survey)
  2. Report & webinar
  • By end of week 12: finalization and approval of the final, consolidated version of the report

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

  • Master’s degree or equivalent related to the topic (Socio-economic assessment, humanitarian, International Development, etc.)
  • Previous experience in conducting socio-economic studies in general and impact study in particular
  • Previous experience of designing and supervising multipurpose cash grant programs with different designs & objectives
  • Experience and understanding of protection (UNHCR) and social protection
  • At least 10 years in relevant experiences, including field missions
  • Fluent in English
  • UNHCR experience
  • Experience of countries covered


Home based with one field trip in one country out of three covered by the study.


It is estimated that the study requires a full-time involvement for 12 weeks. Flexibility to organize and conduct the study is accepted but the consultancy should be implemented before the end of 2022.

How to apply

Interested applicants should submit the below documents to RBAPHR@UNHCR.ORG indicating Cash transfers – impact study consultant and your name in the subject of the email.

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit

A description with evidence of the capacity to perform the services is required. The evaluation of the proposal/application received will be based on the following information:

  • Personal History Forms are available at 1.) PHF Form/ 2.)Supplementary Sheet
  • Brief description (Maximum 0.5 page) of at least one similar and successfully completed or currently underway projects. Letters of reference, with contact information
  • A description of the proposed methodology of performing the study (Maximum 2 pages), including key information to be collected and support expected from UNHCR operations
  • Reviewed work plan and timeline (1 page maximum)
  • Proposed composition and structure of the team if more than 1 person

Closing date of applications: 18 September 2022

UNHCR strongly encourages qualified female applicants for this position. UNHCR seeks to ensure that male and female employees are given equal career opportunities. UNHCR is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, and culture. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

Recruitment as a UNHCR staff member and engagement under a UNHCR affiliate scheme or as an intern is subject to proof of vaccination against Covid-19.

UNHCR has a zero-tolerance policy against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA). SEA is unacceptable behavior and prohibited conduct for UNHCR personnel. It constitutes acts of serious misconduct and is therefore grounds for disciplinary measures, including dismissal. Any concerns or suspicions about a possible case of SEA should be reported immediately to the Inspector General’s Office (IGO) at or through the online complain form at or by confidential fax: +41 22 739 73 80.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

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