Consultancy on Pastoralist Conflict in the Middle Belt



Mercy Corps works in fragile and conflict-affected environments. While we recognize that these are difficult places to operate, we believe that transitional environments – countries affected by civil wars, economic and political crisis, or natural disasters – offer tremendous opportunities for positive change. Since the late 1990s, Mercy Corps has managed over 100 peacebuilding projects in over 30 countries and regions, making Mercy Corps a true leader in the field. We currently implement 34 peacebuilding programs globally. In Nigeria, Mercy Corps is currently implementing several conflict management programs, focused on reducing violent conflict between farmer and pastoralist communities, preventing election-related violence, and increasing peace between religious groups. With funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mercy Corps will implement a qualitative study on the various dynamics of farmer-pastoralist conflict in the Middle Belt.


Purpose / Project Description:

The purpose of this research is to develop deeper understanding of the difference between the various groups now residing in the Middle Belt and how this is changing conflict dynamics. By analyzing and developing objective conflict actor maps and analyses, Mercy Corps will conduct further research to adapt the findings for an external audience, such as donors, politicians, elected government officials, and media.  This will engage these stakeholders in a discussion on best ways to address rural violence at the federal and state levels, and ways of talking about the conflict objectively and without deepening the divides through misrepresentation of certain groups.


Based on initial survey data from the conflict actor mapping/assessment and experience on the ground, Mercy Corps seeks to conduct an ethnographic research to help understand the difference between the various groups now residing in the Middle Belt and how this is changing conflict dynamics. The goal, among other things, is to define what is meant by “foreign” pastoralists from different geographical locations (communities, states, countries, regions, etc.) by examining these new migratory patterns of these “foreign” pastoralists, why they have changed their patterns, and how local populations—both farmers and pastoralists—view them. The research will also try to identify the role played by rural banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in exacerbating the conflict between farming and pastoral communities. Finally, the study will seek to understand any changes in farming patterns that may arise in conflict with other groups.


One of the reasons of the ongoing conflict in the Middle Belt is continuous demonizing and blaming of only one side of the conflict, mainly the pastoralists by farming communities. This inaccurate representation of the dynamics by mass media in many cases exacerbates conflicts. More so, it fuels them when disputes and violence are presented through the religious or ethnic lens thereby reinforcing religious identities when in fact these conflicts are just between people. This study will seek to educate stakeholders on these dynamics with greater nuance and understanding of conflict flash-points.


This study will be conducted as part of Mercy Corps’ Engaging Communities for Peace in Nigeria (ECPN) program, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The ECPN program aims to reduce violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt states by peacefully preventing and resolving rural conflicts. The program works in fourteen (14) communities in local government areas from Benue and Nasarawa states, seeking the following outcomes: 1) Communities increase their capacity to resolve disputes in an inclusive, sustainable manner; 2) Communities build trust across lines of division through creating shared social and economic opportunities; and 3) Communities engage state and local government authorities and neighboring communities to prevent conflict.



Consultant Objectives:

The Researcher in the North Central (Middle Belt) states will work closely with Mercy Corps staff (both in country and with Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit) to create research tools, including focus group and key informant discussion guides; facilitate and translate FGDs and interviews, map communities and group identities in North Central states and input into the study design. The Researcher will have responsibility for ensuring quality of the initial research findings and will work closely with Mercy Corps to ensure relevance of the research to the aims of Mercy Corps Nigeria, future research and its programming. The Researcher will be responsible for collecting data and supervising other highly skilled and experienced researcher(s) in the Middle Belt and will provide regular updates throughout the data collection period to Mercy Corps. It is expected that the consultancy days as estimated will be performed over 40 days period.


Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will:

The researcher will conduct research/interviews on/with members of each of the following groups:

  • ‘Foreign’ (migratory) pastoralists: populations should be determined by the researcher but may (or may not) include new groups of pastoralists moving from new areas of Northeast Nigeria or Cameroon, Chad and Niger into regions of the Middle Belt.
  • Local (sedentary) pastoralists
  • Criminal elements that may couch their activity in the farmer/pastoralist conflict
  • Farmers


These qualitative interviews will shed light on these populations’ perspectives on their own behavior as well as others. Additionally, these interviews will help us better understand the source of conflict between these various groups—how they overlap, how they differ, and how one set of conflicts may be contributing to other conflicts (i.e., behavior of “foreign” pastoralists misattributed to local pastoralists, fueling local conflicts). The researcher will conduct additional interviews with other local stakeholders—government officials, local NGOs and donors.  The results of this study will ultimately help the government, donors, media, and others provide more sensitive accounts of the conflicts in the Middle Belt.


Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will:

Under this specific SoW, the researched will conduct Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Informant Interviews and deliver a detailed report to assist donors and implementers to be more specific regarding attribution of their programs as well as provide guidance on what interventions are needed to address new forms of conflict emerging in the region.


  • Compilation of relevant background research
  • Input on FGD and KII protocol
  • Organizing and facilitating focus group discussions (FGDs) and qualitative interviews
  • Translation during FGDs and interviews
  • Mapping exercise of communities in the relevant North Central (Middle Belt) states (to be determined by the researcher)
  • Report writing from findings (minimum 30 pages)


Timeframe / Schedule: 

The Consultant will engage in the following activities and others as required.  The level of effort and timeframes are estimates and subject to change.




Consultant Profile:

  • Advanced degree in development, social sciences, or other related field
  • 5 – 10 years of experience conducting social research, particularly in Sub-Saharan African and in other developing country contexts
  • Demonstrated skills in applied research and qualitative research methods
  • Extensive experience working for international non-governmental organizations
  • Extensive experience working in and conducting research in conflict contexts
  • Deep knowledge of literature
  • Experience working in rural areas in Nigeria, particularly in the Middle Belt.
  • Experience working in a multi-organizational team (international and national partners) is a plus.
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
  • Demonstrated ability to explain research findings, both visually and in writing
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Good organizational skills and ability to work under time constraints
  • Self-motivated and able to work without close supervision
  • Fluency in at least one of the following languages: Hausa, Fulfulde
  • Fluency in written and spoken English


Application Procedure and Requirements:

This vacancy announcement is a consultant contract type. Qualified and eligible individuals interested in applying for this position may submit an application to Human Resources by no later than October 18, 2018 with the following required documents:

  • Application letter indicating motivation, relevant experience, availability and expected consultant fee;
  • Current CV;
  • Draft methodology plan based on the requirements outlined below in the TORs.


The Consultant will report to:

Director of Development Programs for Mercy Corps Nigeria.


The Consultant will work closely with:

The Researcher will also be working closely with our technical support unit as well as relevant Mercy Corps Nigeria and Headquarters staff. The Researcher will also supervise the local research team of other experienced researchers. The ECPN Senior Program Manager will provide assistance and support to the consultant. He will also make available required and relevant documentation and reports. In addition, the Senior Program Manager will help the consultant organize interviews and focus group discussions with various participants. The consultant will maintain follow up and regular meetings with an appointed TSU representative, the program manager and the Director of Development Programs during the various stages of the consultancy for updating them on the progress made.

Share This Article

Vacancy for the post of Country MEL Specialist

Next Story »

Vacancy for the post of drivers


  • Former Chelsea Defender Branislav Ivanovic Leaves Zenit Saint Petersburg

    7 days ago

    Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg announced on Wednesday the departure of their captain, Serbian international Branislav Ivanovic, whose contract was due to expire this summer. “We thank ...

    Read More
  • CAS Reveals Man City Ignored UEFA Investigation But Did Not Breach FFP

    7 days ago

    Manchester City showed a “blatant disregard” for UEFA’s investigation into alleged Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but European ...

    Read More
  • Jigawa Governor Signs Revised 2020 Budget

    7 days ago

    Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, has signed into law the revised 2020 budget of N124.357 billion which was recently passed by the State House of Assembly. He ...

    Read More
  • Enugu Governor Signs N146.3bn Revised 2020 Budget

    7 days ago

    The Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has signed into law the revised 2020 budget of N146.3billion. The budget represents a 13.6 percent decrease after a downward review ...

    Read More
  • Beckham’s Inter Miami Eliminated From MLS Tournament

    2 weeks ago

    David Beckham’s Inter Miami became the first side to be eliminated from Major League Soccer’s restart competition on Monday after stumbling to a 1-0 defeat to New ...

    Read More