Position Title: Savings and Loans Group Integrated Curriculum Development Consultant

Duration: November 2022 -February 2023, up to 45 days

Reports To: Sarah Meyanathan, Social & Behaviour Change and Nutrition Adviser

Location: Timor-Leste and remote


Program Background:


TOMAK (To’os ba Moris Di’ak, or Farming for Prosperity) is a ten-year agricultural livelihoods program funded by the Australian Government in Timor-Leste led by Adam Smith International (ASI). Since 2016, TOMAK has worked in partnership with Government, NGOs and the private sector to implement linked interventions that aim to: 1) improve household nutrition by promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) and enhanced dietary practices; and 2) increase rural incomes by improving agricultural productivity and strengthening farmers’ market engagement. Phase 1 of TOMAK (2016-2021) was implemented in 83 suku (villages) in three municipalities (Baucau, Bobonaro and Viqueque). Phase 2 has commenced and will run from 2022-2026 in the same municipalities.

TOMAK has three end of investment outcomes (EOIOs) which are:

EOIO 1:     Lead GoTL agencies improve and sustain selected enabling policies, programs and services

EOIO 2:     Farming women, men and youth in target areas have more resilient agriculture-based livelihoods and improved economic empowerment

EOIO 3:      Households in target areas have improved food security and dietary diversity


Savings and Loans Group integrated model

To contribute to EOIOs 2/3 mentioned above, TOMAK and its implementing partner Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will implement an integrated model in approximately 71 suku in Baucau, Bobonaro and Viqueque municipalities. Community level savings and loans groups (SLGs) will be the entry point for the integrated model and offer an effective and efficient platform for delivering diverse services and technical support to large numbers of households. CRS will form SLGs comprised of between 10-15 households (or 15-20 individuals) and engage members around a selected agricultural value chain production activity.[1]

SLGs will allow for the delivery of technical modules and interventions related to: climate resilience, agricultural production, financial literacy and linking to markets, food security, nutrition, gender equality disability and social inclusion (GEDSI), and household decision-making (HHDM). In addition, savings activities will be combined with targeted interventions that address intra-household gender norms and power dynamics on-and-off the farm, so that both women and men can benefit from increased household savings, credit and income.

Together with CRS, TOMAK will design the integrated SLG model, which will be adapted and informed by other SLG models such as Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) and Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and will leverage the potential of SLGs to contribute to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. An SLG Implementation Manual will be developed that will outline the SLG model, key components and workplan. To accompany this, an SLG Facilitator Guide will be developed which will support field officers to establish independent SLGs, to deliver and maintain an intensive training program and to provide ongoing support to SLGs until they reach maturity so as to ensure their success and sustainability. The SLGs will likely be implemented in three phases as follows (although may be modified based on further discussion between CRS, TOMAK and the selected consultant):

  • Preparatory Phase (approx. 4 weeks). During this phase, field officers will visit target suku and socialise information on SLGs to local leaders and prospective SLG members.
  • Intensive Phase (approx.14 weeks). SLGs will undergo training on six modules during which members elect their leaders, establish their constitution and set out the rules and procedures that will govern their activities. They also learn to manage their social fund and share-purchase/ savings-and-loans meetings. Field officers attend all meetings during this phase and SLGs will be provided with basic start-up materials including a cashbox, locks, passbooks, stamps, inkpads, two bowls and bags; and a visual constitution that is filled in by the group.
  • Supervision Phase (approx. 36 weeks). This phase is divided into a development phase and a maturity phase, each lasting about 18 weeks. During the development phase, field officers visit groups twice a month (on average), giving members more space to manage their activities. During the development phase, integrated technical modules will be introduced. During the maturity phase, field officers conduct at least two monitoring visits to check on group progress and set a date for the end of the cycle and the share-out of funds. The development phase for this tranche of SLGs will likely continue into the second year of the program.


The Assignment

This assignment will focus on the development of the integrated SLG curriculum in partnership with TOMAK and CRS. CRS has an existing SILC curriculum that will serve as a basis for the development of the integrated SLG model. The current SILC curriculum is focused on community savings and loans and will need to be adapted for the integrated model.

It is anticipated that the majority of the existing SILC content will be used and adapted. While much of the existing SILC content will likely be utilised, new content will also need to be developed to reflect the ‘integrated’ aspects of this SLG model. For example, guidance will have to be developed on group establishment based on the selection of a single value chain and how over the course of the SLG cycle group members will also be participating in discussions and trainings on agricultural production, GEDSI, and nutrition.

TOMAK will develop/adapt additional stand-alone training modules on: agricultural production, agribusiness, nutrition, HHDM, GEDSI, women’s voice and leadership, and youth. These modules will be delivered to groups after group establishment. While these additional technical topics will have their own stand-alone training modules that are separate (add-ons) from the integrated SLG curriculum, it will be important to socialise that these topics are why the model is considered ‘integrated’ and weave in references to key behaviours that will be promoted in these other training modules. TOMAK and CRS will provide the consultant with the priority behaviours for each technical topic that should be woven into the integrated SLG curriculum.

The consultant will work closely with the TOMAK Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) Adviser and the CRS SLG program manager throughout the adaptation and development process along with other members of the TOMAK and CRS teams.

As an SLG expert, the consultant will be responsible for consulting with the CRS and TOMAK teams on how best to layer and sequence content on the additional topics into the core SLG curriculum and when the additional technical modules should be delivered in the sequence of SLG phases of establishment and supervision (see above). The consultant will also be responsible for delivering two rounds of ToT trainings to TOMAK and CRS field staff.


Overview of Assignment

Assignment responsibilities:

Phase One: (Remote)

  1. Review key program documents and interview key CRS/TOMAK staff concerned with:
  • Implementation context for TOMAK2 (e.g., program approach, objectives, and outcomes; municipality/suku level implementation contexts)
  • SLG models (particularly SILC/VSLA) currently being used in Timor-Leste to understand their effectiveness and any adaptations that have been under previous programming for the Timor-Leste context
  • SLG models modified by CRS to integrate other technical topics (e.g. gender-transformative approaches)
  1. Develop proposed adaptations to SILC/VSLA models and manuals for the Timor-Leste context
  • Develop key criteria to review the existing SILC/VSLA curriculum.
  • Review existing SILC/VSLA models including the SILC training manual using key criteria and outline any necessary adaptations to the model itself (with clear justification for these).
  1. Review technical modules that are to be integrated into the TOMAK SLG model and training and draft recommendation for content, layering and sequencing
  2. Develop a workplan for the development of the TOMAK integrated SLG Curriculum
  • Workplan should outline key steps, deliverables and timeline.

Phase 2 (in-country)

  1. Lead a series of consultation workshops with TOMAK and CRS on the proposed integrated content and the layering and sequencing of additional technical topics.

Phase 3 (remote)

  1. Develop and finalise the SLG Implementation Manual and Facilitator Guide:
  2. Finalise the integrated curriculum in English in MS Word. This will likely include:
  3. Curriculum outline
  4. Detailed session plan for the ToT
  5. ToT handouts
  6. Facilitator Guide (for how to train field staff)
  7. Implementation Manual (for use by field staff)
  8. Sequencing and layering plan

Phase 4 (in-country)

  1. Prepare and deliver two rounds of SLG ToT trainings – each training will be a 5-day participatory in-country training for field officers to build their understanding and capacity in the SLG methodology and its implementation.
  2. Develop and deliver a short orientation for Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) extension workers on the SLG (objective, how it functions).
  3. Deliver participatory SLG training.


Finalisation of the timeline to be determined with the selected consultant[2]

  1. Initial planning and discussions with the CRS and TOMAK technical team (Nov)
  2. Background reading and review of existing SLG curriculum (Nov)
  3. Curriculum adaptation and development (Nov)
  4. Consultations with TOMAK and CRS technical teams (Nov/Dec)
  5. Finalisation of the integrated curriculum (3 Jan)
  6. Facilitation of two rounds of ToTs to TOMAK/CRS staff (16-27 Jan 2023)
  7. Final training report that includes pre and post training test results and recommendations for potential areas for ongoing technical support to field officers and/or refresher training topics (2 Feb 2023)
  8. Short orientation session on the SLG model for extension workers (2 Feb 2023)

Skills and experience required:

  1. University degree in economics, business management, rural development, community development, related to agriculture, agro-business, development studies, SBCC, material development or other relevant degree;
  2. Extensive and demonstrated technical knowledge and experience in programming for gender equality and social inclusion, financial inclusion and savings group methodologies (preferably in relation to agricultural livelihoods/economic empowerment);
  3. Proven experience in developing savings group models and accompanying manuals/training materials;
  4. Proven experience developing and delivering SLG trainings using participatory and adult learning techniques;
  5. Prior experience with SLG models and agriculture sector in Timor-Leste and/or the Asia Pacific region an advantage;
  6. Flexible and responsive work ethic;
  7. Excellent written communication (English) skills.

To apply:

  • For further information or to submit your application please contact: recruitment@adamsmithinternational.com with the email subject “TOMAK SLG Curriculum Development”.
  • Applications close: 28 October 2022
  • Consultants should provide a daily rate
  • Submit a cover letter and CV describing knowledge and experience relevant to SLGs and material development

Adam Smith International is an equal opportunity employer – women and candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications received, only short-listed applicants will be contacted.



[1] Groups that are focussed on a single production activity offer a number of important advantages: they establish a ‘community of interest’ around the particular production activity that will foster interest and facilitate information exchange between group members; they facilitate technical extension delivery; and they provide opportunities for share-out to be timed with when inputs are needed in terms of the particular crop/ livestock production cycle, maximising chances if investment in productive assets that contribute to long-term food security.

[2] If the consultant is not already based in Timor-Leste it is expected that they will travel to Dili on two occasions – in November 2022 and in January 2023.