Design Stage Planning for a Pilot Program to Microfinance Community Conservation

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World Wide Fund for Nature

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Lima, Peru

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30+ days ago

I.- BACKGROUND ON WWF

The World Wildlife Fund, WWF, is one of the largest independent conservation organizations at the international level. It was founded in Switzerland in 1961 and currently counts five million partners, 4,500 employees, 75 offices, and more than 13,000 projects in 157 countries around the globe.

II.- BACKGROUND

The Amazon is a vitally important ecosystem for climate regulation, biodiversity, economies, cultural identity, and local traditions; protection of this ecosystem is more than a conservation issue. However, socioeconomic drivers have been causing hundreds of thousands of hectares of Amazonian forests to be cut down annually to make way for the construction of dams, roads, mines, and grazing pastures. The discussion around the Amazon has traditionally been framed as a trade-off between economic development and environmental conservation, but this is a false choice. WWF offices in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia regularly work with rural and indigenous communities in the Amazon to develop nature based businesses to create livelihoods. However, finance for these businesses is often difficult to find.

Enter Kiva: an international nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding financial access to help underserved communities thrive. In pursuit of this mission, Kiva manages a digital marketplace that provides risk-tolerant capital to microfinance institutions and social enterprises across the globe to help those excluded from traditional financial markets access credit. Kiva works in over 70 countries with 250 partners and provides USD 150+ millions of credits to these partners annually. However, the rural and indigenous counterpart communities within the Amazon with which WWF priority countries regularly work have remained largely out of reach of Kiva’s financing.

WWF posits that a partnership with Kiva and its proven microfinance platform can expand financial access to these counterparts to fund an array of nature-based businesses which mainstreams conservation into local economic activity. This can be achieved through a blended finance modality which utilizes grant funding for WWF technical assistance to create the enabling conditions for Kiva lending to local entrepreneurs. A Strategic Plan for the creation of this partnership will require a modality be agreed upon that meets the needs of all relevant stakeholders, that costs of implementation and associated financial gaps are estimated, and that a workplan for building capacity is developed.

III.- OBJECTIVES

The principal objective of this consultancy is to design a Strategic Plan for the implementation of a WWF-Kiva partnership. The Strategic Plan will guide the start-up phase of the partnership which will be executed over the course of 1-2 years. The Strategic Plan has three goals:
  • Program Design – The Strategic Plan must finalize the modality proposed in the feasibility study with consideration given to the operating procedures of Kiva and its associated MFIs, the needs of local entrepreneurs, the capacity of WWF country offices, and the anticipated ESG impacts of a WWF-Kiva partnership.
  • Capacity Needs Assessment – The Strategic Plan must evaluate the necessary capacity of WWF’s country offices to execute the functions outlined in a proposed WWF-Kiva modality and design a workplan for the field offices to build what capacity they may presently lack.
  • Financial Planning – The Strategic Plan must estimate the costs for partners including Kiva, WWF, WWF country offices, and any potential third parties of building capacity and executing functions associated with a WWF-Kiva partnership, the financial gap prohibiting these activities, and the structure of a blended financial model and its potential funding sources such as foundations, multilaterals, etc. to resolve said financial gap. The main deliverable is a collaborative draft of the Strategic Plan which includes input from WWF country offices, Kiva and its associated MFIs, and local entrepreneurs identified as eligible for Kiva lending.
IV. – CONSULTANT PROFILE
  • Master’s degree in Sustainability, Economics, Business Administration, Finance, or related field.
  • At least 8 years of proven experience in establishing conservation finance mechanisms, including the design and financial planning of conservation projects, preferably in Latin America.
  • Understanding of the context of conservation in the Amazon.
  • Understanding of the context of microfinance in South America.
  • Ability to align stakeholders around shared goals and facilitate the exchange of information.
  • Excellent capacity to summarize, write and present.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Fluency in English and Spanish.
Please note that this consultancy will be funded in part by a grant from the Conservation Finance Alliance’s (CFA) Incubator, and that final payment will be subject to a processing period in which funds are transferred from the CFA to WWF before being made out to the consultant. To apply to this consultancy, please send a resume and cover letter to Jacob Walker (Jacob.Walker@wwfus.org) no later than April 15, 2022.