Lead Researcher – Accelerating Women Climate Entrepreneurs


Position Title: Lead Researcher – Accelerating Women Climate Entrepreneurs Initiative

Position Location: Desk based with some travel for consultation as relevant (and based on public health guidelines)

Reports to: Senior Project Officer, Economic Opportunities

Contract term: March 30 2021 – November 30, 2022

Number of days: 110 days 

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a Canadian non-profit organization with a mission to build a better world for all young people. Our vision is a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world for youth. It is a world in which all young people, especially women and refugees, are empowered to secure a good quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities. We work towards this mission by delivering programs that enhance education, economic opportunities, and empowerment for youth. We work with a diverse network of students, volunteers, institutions, governments, and businesses to realize our vision. 

WUSC is launching a new program – “Accelerating Women Climate Entrepreneurs” – funded by Global Affairs Canada, focused on addressing barriers and opportunities for women entrepreneurs to start and grow climate-related businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. This two-year initiative – led by Aga Khan Foundation Canada in consortium with WUSC and the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) – will involve consultations with women entrepreneurs, policymakers, intermediaries (e.g., incubators, accelerators) and investors across three target regions, including East, West and Southern Africa. These consultations will be used to generate evidence to inform pilot incubation initiatives in selected Sub-Saharan African countries. 

WUSC is seeking a Lead Researcher to undertake gender sensitive research to understand and address the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs working in, or aspiring to work in, climate change mitigation and adaptation in Africa.  This research is grounded in consultations with women entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship intermediaries and stakeholders, including finance providers, to generate learning products as well as recommendations for the application of a gender lens to climate finance.

The Lead Researcher will be expected to work closely with WUSC staff, volunteers and partners throughout the research design, data gathering and dissemination process. Engagement and collaboration with the project partners, and particularly the project Gender Advisor will also be required for this assignment.

General Duties

  1. In close partnership with WUSC’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Advisor and Economic Opportunities advisors, and in consultation with the project Gender Advisor, design the research and road map framework, methodology and dissemination strategy, ensuring gender sensitive and participatory approaches; 
  2. Support relevant WUSC staff to organize and facilitate consultations with Canadian stakeholders, including governmental officials;
  3. Undertake interviews of relevant high level key informants in Sub-Saharan Africa (remotely) and in Canada;
  4. Collaborate with WUSC staff in the design and delivery of gender responsive consultation workshops; ensure consistency across regions;
  5. Liaise with project partners (AKFC and ANDE) to ensure integration of their project data and lessons learned into the research;
  6. Undertake primary and secondary research as required;
  7. Lead the development of gender sensitive knowledge products on women entrepreneur’s barriers and contributions to climate-related economic development for intermediaries (tools, presentations, etc based on dissemination strategy); 
  8. Lead the writing of a gender sensitive climate finance roadmap for Canadian stakeholders; 
  9. Participate in dissemination events as relevant.


The consultant will be expected to lead the development of the following outputs:

  1. Internal and external documents on the findings of the Accelerating Women Climate Entrepreneurs project in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  2. Knowledge products on women entrepreneur’s barriers and contributions to climate-related economic development;
  3. Gender sensitive climate finance roadmap. 

Level of Effort

The following is an estimate of the level of effort and key milestones for the project:

Design gender sensitive research framework, methodology, tools and dissemination strategyMarch-April 20215 days
Consultation with Canadian stakeholdersMarch-April 2021 Fall 20225 days
Co-design and co-delivery of virtual consultation workshop series (3 workshops) on gender and market barriers faced by climate-focused women entrepreneurs (East, West and Southern Africa) April-June 202115 days
Provide coaching and support to staff and volunteers to undertake gender responsive consultations with women entrepreneurs July – September 202110 days
Undertake primary and secondary research and manage dataMarch 2021 – August 202220 days
Deliverable 1: Develop gender sensitive knowledge products on women entrepreneur’s barriers and contributions to climate-related economic development for intermediariesSeptember-November 202115 days
Develop learning documents on the findings of Accelerating Women Climate Entrepreneurs.January – December 202215 days
Deliverable 2: Develop gender sensitive climate finance roadmap for Canadian stakeholdersAugust-September 202215 days
Support the planning of, and participate in dissemination eventsSeptember-December 202210 days
TOTAL110 days


Qualifications of the consultant:

  • Masters degree in a field related to development economics, finance or business. 
  • Demonstrated primary and secondary research experience;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a remote, multicultural research team; 
  • Demonstrated experience in implementing gender sensitive research methods and use of qualitative and participatory approaches;
  • Demonstrated experience in climate finance, gender lens investing, women’s entrepreneurship development or related field;
  • Demonstrated experience in social equality programming with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment strongly recommended. 
  • Knowledge of the impact investing, innovative finance, finance for development or related field an asset;
  • Excellent communication and written English skills required;
  • Demonstrated ability to produce clear and concise learning documents.

Interested candidates should apply to WUSC by March 12, 2021. Candidates should send a CV and a one-pager cover letter, in which the consultant’s daily rate is included.  

Applications should be sent to [email protected], with the subject line “Lead Researcher – Accelerating Women Climate Entrepreneurs.” WUSC is an equal opportunity employer. Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No telephone calls please. 

WUSC’s activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe; the work ethic of our staff, volunteers, representatives, consultants and partners shall correspond to the values and mission of the organization. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion, sexual exploitation or abuse of any form.   Any COVID-19 safety measures in force must be strictly adhered to.

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