Pooled Funding at a Crossroads: An ICVA policy consultancy on improved NGO engagement with humanitarian pooled funds

  • Contract
  • Switzerland
  • TBD USD / Year

International Council of Voluntary Agencies

Location: Geneva or Home-based in a similar time zone

Contract: Consultancy

Starting date and duration: 26 working days over a period of 2 months, starting in October, detailed workplan to be developed with ICVA.

About ICVA

Founded in 1962, ICVA (International Council of Voluntary Agencies) is a global network of over 130 nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) active in 160 countries, operating at global, regional, national and local levels, whose mission is to make humanitarian action more principled and effective by working collectively and independently to influence policy and practice. ICVA promotes and facilitates effective NGO engagement in the humanitarian sector, with a focus on Forced Migration, Humanitarian Coordination, Humanitarian Financing, and cross-cutting systems-strengthening issues.

Background to the Consultancy

Since their establishment, the OCHA-led Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) have become an increasingly important funding mechanism for supporting humanitarian action. For humanitarian NGOs, local partners in particular, the CBPFs represent an important source of funds through the traditional humanitarian system.

Many donor governments, in line with their Grand Bargain commitments, place an emphasis on the CBPFs as an opportunity to channel funds to local partners when direct funding is seen as too difficult. Under the Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan work organized through the IASC, pooled funding of all types – both through OCHA and other sources – was also highlighted as part of the solution to channel funds faster to frontline humanitarian responders.

This increased attention to pooled funding has led to the emergence of new models and approaches to pooled funding led by a variety of actors. These include the new OCHA Regionally-hosted Pooled Fund model in West and Central Africa, Start Fund, NEAR Change Fund, the new NGO-led Sahel Regional Fund, among others. While the range of pooled fund options have started to expand and overall funding to both new and original pooled fund mechanisms continue to grow, there are also a number of challenges to address.

ICVA has been closely engaged with pooled funding, particularly through its role as part of the Pooled Fund Working Group supporting CBPFs. There is also a significant body of knowledge that exists in the form of studies and policy papers focused on pooled funding. Through this consultancy, ICVA is seeking to consolidate this knowledge into more accessible form for its NGO members, in particular national and local members, identify gaps that exist, and support development of a forward-looking policy position on the best use of pooled funding to meet the needs of people in crisis.

Consultancy Objectives

First, there is a need to consolidate and update the existing body of knowledge on pooled funds. The consultant will be expected to:

  • Complete a literature review of the current work on pooled funding covering lessons learnt documentation and independent reviews and identify gaps in the knowledge base for future analysis.
  • Catalogue the different existing funds and key characteristics with a focus on the requirements to access funding, particularly for local partners.

As a result of this initial work, ICVA will be able to update existing briefing materials and provide current resources to support NGO engagement with pooled funds via the ICVA website.

Second, there is a need to examine the future of pooled funding in more detail:

  • In collaboration with ICVA staff, the consultant will review initial implementation of emerging regionally focused pooled fund models regarding NGO engagement.
  • The consultant will also gather inputs from NGOs on preferred future direction of humanitarian pooled funding and the models that best fit for purpose in meeting humanitarian need.

The final objective of this area of work will be to provide a core set of priorities and recommendations that ICVA and other actors can use as a basis for policy work on the future of humanitarian pooled funding and contribute to increase the access to, efficiency and impact of pooled funds to the benefit of people affected by crisis.

Consultancy Outputs

In support of the above objectives, the consultant will develop the following in collaboration with ICVA staff:

  • Documented literature review and summary of gaps in the knowledge base;
  • Updated briefing materials and web resources – developed jointly with ICVA staff;
  • A written review of recent regional pooled fund implementation from the NGO perspective (scope and focus locations to be agreed with ICVA staff);
  • Final recommendations on the future of the humanitarian pooled fund mechanisms to support policy and advocacy work, aiming at enhancing access to, efficiency and impact of pooled funds to the benefit of people affected by crisis.


Desk review of existing documentation, studies, etc.; consolidation of key messages and adaptation of existing ICVA briefing materials and documentation as needed; key informant interviews with NGO field staff, UN CBPF staff, other private pooled funding staff, and others as appropriate; and close collaboration with the ICVA Humanitarian Finance team, other Policy Team colleagues and Regional Representatives. The consultant should rely on a combination of their own expertise and inputs from ICVA Humanitarian Finance team.

Reporting Lines

The consultant will work jointly with ICVA Humanitarian Financing Team and report to ICVA’s Head of Humanitarian Finance.

Consultant requirements, competencies and skills:

  • Expertise in the humanitarian sector and an established understanding of how humanitarian pooled funding works – ideally through practical experience interacting with pooled funds.
  • Experienced in planning research work, conducting key informant interviews, literature reviews, and documenting results.
  • Fluent in English with proven writing and editing skills, including the ability to develop materials ready for publication with limited external editing.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously and/or in a virtual work environment and meet agreed deadlines with limited direct oversight.

Note: Throughout the work, the consultant must be registered in accordance with legal requirements in their country of residence and must be able to submit documentation that proves that she/ he is meeting all legal obligations for the consultancy, including full compliance with ICVA regulations including its safeguarding policy.

How to apply

Applications including cover letter describing relevant interest and skills, CV or resume and proposed consultancy rate (daily) should be sent by email to [email protected]. The closing date for applications is 14 October 2022.