Consultant on Blockchain Application

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Home based with mission travels
Application Deadline :24-Mar-17 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :80 working days during March to December 2017

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

UN Women is committed to the achievement of equality between women, men, boys and girls as partners and beneficiaries of humanitarian action. UN Women is leading and coordinating the United Nations System to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It is providing strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.

UN Women has established an Innovation Facility that strengthens UN Women’s internal innovation capacity; supports UN Women design, implement and assess technology prototypes; and develops sustainability plans. UN Women also has a Humanitarian Action & Crises Response Unit to consolidate its normative and coordination work, crises management function and rapid response as well as crises preparedness and resilience.  

The past 10 years has seen several important normative developments relating to humanitarian action and the transition from response, to recovery, resilience and preparedness. The consolidated commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment formulated in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the SDGs and Security Council Resolution 2242 on Women’s Peace and Security are particularly significant.  Furthermore, five World Humanitarian Summit’s core commitments aims to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into the humanitarian agenda.

UN Women is working to improve the tools to promote and protect the human rights of women, girls, boys and men in humanitarian action. UN Women has partnered with Innovation Norway to explore the potential benefits of blockchain technology for humanitarian response. Blockchain is a distributed database of immutable digital records that can be accessed from anywhere and that can store anything securely. Blockchain technology allows for an unprecedented level of information sharing between humanitarian agencies by providing a common link between various databases. In addition, the distributed ledger system will also foster greater transparency and accountability while reducing potential duplication of efforts. If the challenge of tracking financial aid flows for a mobile and transitory beneficiary can be solved it may open the door for the possibility of delivering cash aid securely via cryptocurrency mechanisms. Blockchain also offers users the ability to build and maintain immutable and secure personal records and to directly transfer digital assets without the need for intermediaries and associated costs. Leveraging these qualities would enable women to build an economic identity as well as a safe record of their interaction with a range of humanitarian actors across borders. In line with international commitments to improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of aid programs, blockchain offers the potential to vertically integrate the various elements of humanitarian assistance provided to women and girls, thereby improving its coherence, effectiveness and efficiency. 

Under the direct oversight of the UN Women Humanitarian Coordinator and the UN Women Senior Advisor to the Deputy Executive Director, Policy and Programme, the incumbent will undertake a wide-ranging environmental scoping exercise to determine the best use case scenarios for blockchain in humanitarian action. The goal is to examine current activities in the blockchain realm and bring them in line with the existing humanitarian landscape and ensure the suitability of this technology in realizing commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The research findings generated by the incumbent will include looking at issues around the risks and costs of using blockchain technology. Finding will be shared, discussed, validated and widely shared. Consultations will be held with various stakeholders to develop a roadmap outlining possible ways for recommendations from the report to be taken forward.

Duties and Responsibilities

The overall purpose of the consultancy is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of international assistance for women and girls by leveraging blockchain technology potential.  The output of the consultancy is twofold:

  1. Environmental scoping exercise to identify the potential of blockchain technology in humanitarian response, recovery and early-development completed

a. Draft and agree on a detailed workplan with timelines

b. Participation in thought generating exercises with the private sector (e.g. Norway’s Katapult Conference and Hackathon) to improve UN Women's visibility over the potential of blockchain technologies in humanitarian contexts.

c. Consultations with a wide group of stakeholders, including those working on identity management, cash assistance, economic opportunities and technology.

d. Comprehensive review and assessment of existing and potential blockchain applications for women and girls in humanitarian and development contexts.

e. Prepare a report that identifies the potential of blockchain technology in risk preparedness, humanitarian action, recovery and early-development with detailed examples of cases where it can be used and options, as well geographic areas and affected populations to target with this IT mechanism.

f. Outline the potential risks that need to be mitigated in operationalisation of the blockchain technology

g. Develop an action plan to facilitate the development of a pilot project.

2. A pilot initiative completed and assessed with the view to scale up on the impact of the use of blockchain technology for women and girls in one country context

a. In close consultation with the Humanitarian Unit, develop a pilot project for launching blockchain within an existing programme.

b. Prototype piloted within an existing UN Women humanitarian programme.

c. Evaluation of the pilot completed.

d. Lessons learned and scale up plan developed with partners.

Scope of Work, Responsibilities and Timelines:

  1. Environmental scoping exercise to define the best use case applications of the blockchain technology with the greatest potential for delivering on joint gender commitments.

    • Engaging with private sector (Direct Consultations, local Hackathons etc.)

    • Determining convergence points with other NGOs / agencies working on blockchain solutions to humanitarian challenges (ID2020, AidTech)

    • Engage UN partners and participate in the UN Blockchain Group discussions with UNDP, UNOPS, UNICEF etc.

  2. Review UN Women’s Humanitarian Unit’s programs to identify the top three candidates for a blockchain pilot


  • Develop a report that clearly defines the applications and potential partnerships of this technology to meeting the challenges identified under the programs of Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection (LEAP) and Reducing Gender Inequality of Risk (GiR)

Timeline: March - May 2017 (36 days homebased and New York, to be agreed on in workplan)

3.Participate in the Katapult Hackathon.


  • Clear questions to be posted to the Hackathon, and Roadmap explaining how solutions from the Katapult Hackathon can be integrated into the environmental scoping report and use case pilot.

Timeline: May 9-13 2017 (4 days including travel) Oslo, Norway

4.Project designed and pilot supervised

  • Develop an Action Plan to apply the key finding of the report into a pilot project

Deliverable:  Action plan with clear indicators and outputs

  • Develop pilot project design

    Deliverable: Final draft of project document

  • Provide sensitization training on blockchain to UN Women staff and monitor and provide troubleshooting support for technical problems during implementation

    Deliverable: Basic one-pager tip sheets on the use of blockchain technology.

  • Training workshops and/or webinars on the use of blockchain technology delivered

Timeline: June – November 2017 (30 days –including 5 days homebased and 25 days international travel, location to be decided)

5.In collaboration with Humanitarian Unit assess and capture lessons learned, best practices, final findings and draft scale up plan for a 5-year period

Deliverable: Assessment of the project: what worked and why and 5-year scale up business plan designed and presented

Timeline: December 2017 (10 days, 5 days homebased and 5 days New York)


  • Environmental scoping exercise and research report.
  • Draft pilot project document, identifying roles and responsibilities and technological challenges and define how blockchain will support key global and programmatic goals.
  • Remote support of blockchain pilot initiative.
  • Detailed end of pilot project assessment report
  • Draft 5-year business plan for proposed scale-up



  • Demonstrate consistency in upholding and promoting the values of UN Women in actions and decisions, in line with the UN Code of Conduct.


  • Demonstrate professional competence and expert knowledge or the pertinent substantive areas of work.

    Core Values and Ethics

  • Demonstrate cultural sensitivity and ability to work in a multi-national environment

  • Support the Organization’s corporate goals

  • Comply with UN WOMEN rules, regulations and code of conduct

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    Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.

  • Build effective client relationships and partnerships

  • Interact with all levels of staff in the organization

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Build and share knowledge

  • Make valuable practice contributions

    Communicating and Information Sharing

  • Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.

  • Excellent oral and written skills

  • Listen actively and respond effectively

    Self-management and Emotional Intelligence

  • Stay composed and positive even in difficult moments, handle tense situations with diplomacy and tact, and have a consistent behaviour towards others.

    Functional Competencies:

  • Understands and applies fundamental concepts and principles of a professional discipline or technical speciality relating to the position;

  • Basic knowledge or organizational policies and procedures relating to the position and applies them consistently in work tasks;

Required Skills and Experience

Required Skills and Experience:

  • Minimum of Master’s degree in business, technology, finance, international development or related disciplines.

  • Minimum 7 years’ research and analytical experience within the relevant topic areas

  • Ability to deliver high-level analytical and/or strategic work in the relevant topic area, as demonstrated by relevant publications/documents

  • Previous working experience with blockchain required.

  • Networking resources within both the tech and international development realm an asset.

  • Experience in working with technology corporates, start-ups and technical consortiums an asset.

  • Familiarity with UN mission and work, including humanitarian response an asset.

  • Excellent writing skills.

  • Experience as lead consultant from similar assignments.

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in the English language required

    Computer Skills:

  • High level of proficiency in computer systems, internet navigation and various office applications

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