Innovative Finance Consultant

UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Hardship Level (not applicable for home-based)

H (no hardship)

Family Type (not applicable for home-based)


Staff Member / Affiliate Type

CONS International

Target Start Date


Job Posting End Date

July 2, 2023

Terms of Reference

General Background of Project or Assignment:

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 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions. UNHCR is almost entirely funded by voluntary contributions from governments and private donors. In 2018, UNHCR needed more $7b for its global work. This amount is set to grow with current conflicts fueling displacement.

UNHCR’s Private Sector Partnership Service (PSP) supports the Agency’s global collaboration with the private sector through 30 operations in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Africa and the Middle East and Gulf region. The Partnerships & Philanthropy Section (PPH) within (PSP) is responsible for engaging with corporations, foundations and private philanthropists. The PPH Section works to establish long-term private partnerships and strengthen existing relations to fund the immediate and long-term goals of UNHCR.

Background on innovative finance at UNHCR:

UNHCR consistently operates with budgets well below the actual needs to realize its protection and solutions mandate. The organization currently has an undiversified resource mobilization framework, in which five government sources provide almost three-quarters of UNHCR funding. In order to diversify funding streams, UNHCR has recently decided to pursue innovative financing methods as a strategic institutional priority, in order to generate funding, bring UNHCR into alignment with the broader humanitarian community, and reinforce a development approach to forced displacement.

“Innovative finance”, “new financing modalities”, or “alternative financing” are terms used to describe a range of non-traditional “innovative” mechanisms aimed at raising additional capital through activities, such as impact investments, venture philanthropy, micro-contributions, taxes, public-private partnerships and market-based financial transactions.

There are more than enough funds available in the global capital markets and such resources could be leveraged to support refugees if financial modalities are set up to convince investors, and financial actors at large, that there is a good business case in investing in refugees.
For UNHCR, the work on innovative finance will have two objectives:
1) improving UNHCR’s financial and cash flow situation, and
2) catalysing support for refugees and refugee-hosting countries.

Overall Purpose and Scope of Assignment:

The consultant will be working as part of the Private Partnerships and Philanthropy Section. Under the supervision of the Senior Innovative Finance Officer, who has overall oversight of innovative financing projects, the consultant will mainly be responsible for developing and implementing new financing modalities. This will be done in close collaboration with relevant internal units, within and outside PSP, such as DFAM (Division of Financial and Administrative Management), Legal Affairs Service (LAS), Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service (DRRM) and Division of Resilience and Solutions (DRS), as well as relevant field-based colleagues and technical staff.
This work will also include coordination with key external partners and stakeholders, including potentially international organizations, international financial institutions, donor governments, refugee-hosting governments, international NGOs, as well as private sector partners and actors.

Duties and responsibilities:

Under the supervision of the Senior Innovative Finance Officer, the consultant will perform the following responsibilities:
• Investigate and develop innovative finance mechanisms from idea stage to implementation, including (but not limited to):
• Examining feasibility of ideas through analysis and research
• Engaging with DFAM, LAS, DRRM, DRS, and other technical and field-based colleagues to co-design each innovative finance mechanism
• Evaluating and/or crystallizing the business case involved in potential mechanisms
• Conducting partnership conversations and supporting negotiations with donors and private sector actors
• Writing business plans
• Conducting financial modelling
• Serving as project manager for deal development and execution
• Develop recommendations on whether potential deals are worth pursuing to Senior Innovative Finance Officer (Head of Unit) and other senior managers/leaders of UNHCR
• Support regular engagement with all key external partners in the UN and NGO community, multilateral development banks (MDBs), and within the donor community
• Perform any other duties as assigned by the supervisor

Performance indicators: The consultant will draft and agree with the Senior Innovative Finance Officer on a work plan with a set of agreed deadlines.

Qualification and experience required (degree required, years of work experience, field of expertise, language required):
• Basic university degree in Finance, Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, or other related field combined with relevant work experience of at least 4 years;
• Professional experience as a business development or finance expert in an auditor/consulting firm, social enterprise, or the private sector, with some experience with humanitarian/development issues preferred;
• Excellent business analysis / business case development ability, including demonstrated experience doing business case development in development, humanitarian, or social enterprise settings;
• Excellent financial modelling skills, including being able to independently construct an income and cash flow model and run financial sensitivities; accounting & finance background a plus;
• Demonstrated experience in project coordination and management, in particular, in managing complex, multi-stakeholder, and fast-moving projects which are cross-disciplinary and require a certain degree of expert knowledge;
• Fluency in English.

• Knowledge of humanitarian and/or international development agency context and UN environment preferred
• Ability to thrive in a team environment, and to work within an international multi-cultural team
• Understanding of the complexities of working with an international organization with multiple geographical operational sites
• Knowledge of a second UN language


The successful candidate will be home-based.


The consultant will work based on workload and requests from the Innovative Finance team e.g., 3-4 days per week, no more than 100 working days over the assigned period.
Upon completion of project and receipt of invoice, payment will be issued for the actual hours/days worked.

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


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