Helen Keller International (HKI)

SAPLING is pleased to announce an opportunity for consultancy to lead savings group activity with one of its technical support partner CRS in Chittagong Hill Tract Region.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is a US-based relief and development agency working in nearly 100 countries/territories to alleviate poverty and suffering. In Bangladesh, CRS supports vulnerable people through partner organization Caritas Bangladesh.  Key program sectors include agriculture, livelihoods, food security, emergency response, disaster management, and disaster risk reduction.

Title: Consultancy for Technical Advisor I, SILC

Location: Bandarban, Bangladesh

CRS is supporting Caritas Bangladesh to implement a food security program through the provision of a recently awarded USAID Development Food Assistance Program (DFAP).  Through this program, CRS will be responsible for helping Caritas Bangladesh implement a savings group program, which is a relatively new programming area for Caritas. Savings group actions will link closely to food security and nutrition interventions that will be implemented by Caritas Bangladesh in conjunction with Hellen Keller International (HKI). This project will work directly with rural communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region of Bangladesh.

Role and Scope of Assignment:
The Technical Advisor (TA) for Savings Groups (SG) has primary responsibilities of providing all necessary technical support and coordination of SG projects implemented by CRS Bangladesh and its partners.  The TA will ensure high quality program development, provide strategic direction, help monitor progress of the project objectives for CRS and Bangladesh partners, ensure technical compliance with donors’ and CRS program quality standards, and support reporting and CRS/donor administrative and financial requirements. Special emphasis is placed on promoting collaborative relationships, networking and advocating for CRS approaches in Savings Group microfinance with donors, like-minded organizations and relevant Bangladesh Government departments and agencies.  The TA is also responsible for promoting and ensuring organizational learning processes, internally and externally, throughout the projects’ implementation stage.  This position is based in Bandarban with about 50% travel to project sites in the CHT Region, Chittagong and Dhaka.

Specific Responsibilities:

Program Quality:

  • Develop the savings group strategy for the USAID-funded DFAP, including group-level methodology, agent strategy and training approach, and sound integration with the project’s other activities
  • Support and/ or lead the development of training material and resources and facilitate trainings, workshops and review meetings for partner staff
  • Work with SAPLING partners to support and strengthen partner staff capacities to recruit and train community agents
  • Provide technical support for all SG activities associated with the USAID-funded DFAP in the CHT to ensure high program quality, and correlation with budget. 
  • Facilitate the development of detailed implementation plans and budget reconciliation documents alongside the partner team.
  • Support the SG team with quarterly planning meetings to review and reflect progress and results, identify gaps and solutions and share technical ideas for the projects with partner, CRS and others.
  • Coordinate with the project staff and relevant Technical Advisors to set-up project MEAL systems following CRS, prime and donor standards.
  • Carry out regular field visits to review project progress, promote learning and support partners and staff.
  • Support and contribute to the development of any new or similar projects and proposals in collaboration with the sub-regional HoP, Country Manager, PIQA staff and local partners.
  • As needed participate and provide technical input to in the development of any SG strategy. 

Financial Management:

  • Compliance: Support partner and CRS Organizational Capacity Advisor to provide sound financial management of the project and compliance with project donors.
  • Budgeting: Support partner with the annual project budget and extend guidance and support to the project staff in management of project finances through budget planning and preparation of annual program plans, quarterly cash forecasts and project balances.
  • Financial Reporting: Coordinate with the Organizational Capacity Advisor, partner finance team, project staff and partners to ensure effective tracking and timely reporting on budget expenses, including financial reports to external donor/s.


  • Identify any partnership issues early on that need Organizational Capacity Advisor and Country Manager attention to provide problem solving strategic guidance.
  • Maintain positive and strengthening partnerships with diverse partners at various levels.
  • Maintain regular and respectful communication with partners and extend all support as needed in close coordination with supervisors.
  • Build the capacity of partners in community-managed microfinance, effective project implementation and MEAL.

Monitoring/Learning/Reporting and Documenting:

  • Donor Reports: Ensure preparation of high quality donor reports, submitted in a timely manner to the Prime (HKI) and in the required format.
  • Monitoring: In coordination with the Prime’s MEAL staff, Country Manager and CRS regional technical experts, support the design and timely implementation of baseline, mid-term and final evaluations of the project.
  • Ensure regular and strong institutional learning and reflection processes for SG projects. 
  • Provide regular and timely trip reports to their supervisor.
  • Documenting: Provide technical inputs to develop documentation of the CRS SG models, lessons learned and project best practices. 
  • Ensure a strong learning process for both CRS staff and partners at all stages of the implementation based on the donor’s requirements and CRS standards.
  • Train partner staff on the use of the SAVIX MIS, and support timely and accurate use of the system.

Advocacy and Networking:
Governmental agencies:

  • Contribute to the advocacy, relationship-building and engagement with key stakeholders and government at the district and upzila levels
  • Provide technical ideas as necessary in policy review of Bangladesh legislative documents and other project documents to work with relevant ministries on topics relating to microfinance and financial inclusion
  • Maintain positive working relations with relevant government bodies, international organizations and local partners

Microfinance sector:

  • Collaborate and develop relationships with Bangladeshi and international organizations involved in microfinance.
  • Represent CRS and contribute to raising the profile of CRS by positioning CRS programs in relevant working groups and fora.

Competencies: These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS.

  • Serves with Integrity
  • Models Stewardship
  • Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  • Promotes Learning

Key Working Relationships:

The primary point of contact will be the Country Manager.  The consultant will have close interaction with, Sub-Regional Head of Programming, CRS Organizational Capacity Advisor, CRS Administrative and Finance staff, CRS MEAL and PIQA Microfinance Technical Advisors, Caritas Bangladesh programming staff, local government partners, donors as required and as assigned by the Country Manager

Required Qualifications and Experience:

  • Masters’ degree, preferably in rural development, economics, sociology or related field, or equivalent experience
  • Minimum of five years of experience working in the microfinance sector
  • Experience working in savings group microfinance (SILC, VSLA, etc.) highly preferred
  • Familiarity with Savings Group MISs preferred
  • Strong training and facilitation skills
  • Must be strong in participatory approaches, learning processes, capacity for innovation and to promote new initiatives
  • Work experience with NGOs or international development organization is preferable
  • Sound experience in resource management
  • Ability to network and coordinate with government and non-government organizations at both the local and national level
  • A good team builder, problem solver, honest and transparent person with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to lead the implement processes in the field
  • Fluent in written and spoken English & Bangla

Required Travel: Able to travel (at least 50% of total time) to field locations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts with occasional trips to Dhaka and Chittagong for meetings. Candidates must be comfortable working in this setting and with these travel requirements.

The position is a full time consultancy and would be renewed each year subject to satisfactory performance of the deliverables by the incumbents and continuity of the Project.

Interested candidates should apply by 1st January 2017 with a detailed C.V. stating current professional fees/ salary drawn and expected fees and giving details of three references IN_Jobs@crs.org

The subject line should clearly specify (then name of the position)- “Application for TA- SG”

Only short listed candidates will be notified and called for interviews.
CRS' talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.

Disclaimer Clause: This ToR is not an exhaustive list of the skills, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position